Barbee Street extended southward from East Pettigrew Street just to the east of the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company complex in East Durham, forming part of the mill village community south of the railroad tracks and the factory.
G.W. Barbee appears as a landowner in the area on the 1850 North Carolina Railroad map, and may be the street's namesake. An apparent farm complex at the southern terminus of the road on the 1950 Sanborn map may represent the original farmstead
Between the construction of Durham Technical Community College and the Durham Freeway, the farm area and all of the housing on Barbee Street was destroyed. A small section of the original roadway remains north of NC 147, although it is now called Harnett Street