The name "Broadway Street" gives a notion of the street's origins - as an essentially 'suburban spur' of nice late 19th century residential development from the Cleveland Street / North Durham Five Points intersection. Broadway is a mini-ridge that connects the Mangum ridge with the high ground on Rigsbee Street near Corporation. At Rigsbee (north of downtown) the areas to the north and south of Broadway were low ground, and remained undeveloped until the expansion of the tobacco warehouse district in the early 20th century. Later warehouses on Rigsbee supplanted the residential development at the top of the hill.
Little evidence remains of Broadway's origins, although a few interesting houses and the Markham apartments - as well as some of Durham's 'fancy brick' sidewalk - remain. Most of the street has been converted to light industrial or institutional uses.