1998 Preservation Durham Home Tour: Fayetteville Street, Forest Hills

1998 Preservation Durham Home Tour: Fayetteville Street, Forest Hills


The 1998 Preservation Durham Home tour was divided between two neighborhoods - College View/Stokesdale and Forest Hills.

The College View / Stokesdale Section, described as the "Fayetteville Street Neighborhood" in the tour booklet:

The Fayetteville Street neighborhood was once one of the most popular neighborhoods in Southeast Durham, the home of many African-American professionals businessmen, and professors at what is now North Carolina Central University. The neighborhood is characterized by bungalows and revival styles taken from plans in popular magazines. Some were built from plans and materials sold as a package in Sears mail order catalogs. Durham builder James Whitted is credited with building a number of these houses.

Built between the 1920s and 1940s, many of the houses here are modest and the city lots are small. The cultural opportunities offered by the nearby college were attractive to residents. The Algonquin Tennis Club, Southeast Durham's most popular social and recreational spot of the 1930s and 1940s, was located nearby in the 1400 block of Fayetteville Street. [Actually 1308 Fayetteville - GK] All of Southeast Durham was drastically changed by the construction of the Durham Freeway [but mostly by urban renewal - GK], cutting through the business district of Hayti, which supported this neighborhood. Preservation efforts are underway for the James E. Shepard House on Fayetteville Street to be restored as a showplace for the community. 

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1211 FAYETTEVILLE - DR. J. NAPOLEON MILLS HOUSE

1211
,
Durhan
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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Last updated

  • Wed, 01/02/2013 - 2:44pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 55.3836" N, 78° 53' 55.3056" W

Comments

1211
,
Durhan
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / scanned by Digital Durham)

Dr. Joseph Napoleon Mills was born in Richards, NC in 1879 and attended Kittrell Normal and Industrial School and Leonard Medical School, from which he graduated with an MD in 1907. Mills began practicing medicine in Durham in 1907, and married Sarah J. Amey of Durham in 1915, and likely constructed the house at 1211 Fayetteville St. for himself and his family soon thereafter.

He established a private practice and served as a staff attending at Lincoln Hospital. In addition, he worked as a field examiner for the North Carolina Mutual Company and a physician for North Carolina Central University, then referred to as the North Carolina College. As with many of the preeminent figures of Hayti, Mills was involved in numerous other business endeavors - including stints as a director for the Machanics and Farmers bank and president of the People's Drug Store.

Mills lived here until his death in the 1960s, after which the house was occupied by a Mrs. Edna Mills. I believe that it is currently a rental house.


Looking northeast, 11.15.08

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35.982051 -78.898696

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STANFORD WARREN LIBRARY - 1201 FAYETTEVILLE ST.

1201
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1940
/ Modified in
1950
,
2008
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Wed, 01/02/2013 - 2:46pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 57.2484" N, 78° 53' 55.4676" W

Comments

1201
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1940
/ Modified in
1950
,
2008
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 


Stanford L. Warren Library, 1950
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Out of the Durham Colored Library at East Pettigrew St. and Fayetteville St. grew the seeds for the Stanford L. Warren Library.

The city began supporting the DCL in 1917, and the county in 1918; despite this, it appears that the library was not part of the overall public library system. Over the following 20 years, the library continued to grow, easily pushing the capacity limits of the original building.

In 1940, Stanford L. Warren, president of the library board from 1923 to 1940, donated the land for a new library building at the southeast corner of Umstead St. and Fayetteville St. Local architect Robert R. Markley designed a neoclassical structure for the site, and the library moved from Fayetteville and Pettigrew Sts. to the new structure - which was named after Stanford Warren. The library became part of the county library system at that time.


Postcard view of the library, 1950s.
(Courtesy of John Schelp)

In 1950, the library was again expanded with the construction of a rear, two-story wing.


Looking northwest at the addition from Simmons St., 02.26.50
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

With the destruction of (nearly) all-things-Hayti north of Umstead St., the library became the northern edge of the remaining historic fabric.


Looking northeast, 1972.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The library was recently renovated again, with a renovation and rearrangement of the interior, as well as the construction of a new side-oriented main entrance on the south side of the structure.


Looking northeast, 11.15.08

Kudos to Durham County for the renovation, which provides accessibility and an attractive and very functional entrance to the building while preserving the classical lines of the original Fayetteville St. facade.

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35.982569,-78.89874

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SCARBOROUGH HOUSE - 1406 FAYETTEVILLE

1406
,
Durham
NC
Built in
~1913-1914
/ Modified in
~2008
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Wed, 01/02/2013 - 2:45pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 48.54" N, 78° 53' 59.9532" W

Comments

1406
,
Durham
NC
Built in
~1913-1914
/ Modified in
~2008
Type: 
Use: 

 


(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Scanned by Digital Durham)

John C. Scarborough established his funeral home in his hometown of Kinston, NC with his partner, Joseph C. Hargett. After JC Scarborough married Hargett's daughter, Daisy, they were persuaded by Alex Moore, a North Carolina Mutual agent, to move to Durham in 1901. It appears that he initially settled in the West End, at 801 Chapel Hill Road; by 1906, his funeral parlor was located at at 303 East Chapel Hill St. "opposite the Academy of Music."

The Scarborough House at 1406 Fayetteville St., was built by John C. Scarborough, Sr., likely around 1913-1914. Per the Architectural Inventory, the house was built out of the architectural elements of a disassembled house that sat on the later site of the Johnson Motor Company Showroom. It's a bit hard to piece together so far exactly which house this was, and whether the 'house' was actually the Central/Sans Souci hotel, which sat on that site. However, these buildings were supposedly demolished in 1926.

The inventory, however, notes that every interior element of the house, except for the the transoms, came from the earlier structure in the 300 block of East Main St.

Scarborough moved his funeral home into Hayti, to 522 East Pettigrew St. by the mid-1920s.

In 1925, Scarborough acquired the original Lincoln Hospital on Proctor St. (when the new facility had opened on Fayetteville) and donated the building to the "Black Minister's Alliance" for use as an "old people's and orphans' home"; this later became the Scarborough Nursery, still in operation today on Holloway St.

Below, a view of the Scarborough House from the 1949 "Negro Durham Marches On." The window sign is from 522 East Pettigrew, while the line of cars sits in front of 1406 Fayetteville St.

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

What isn't clear to me is whether the house was ever used as a funeral home, or whether it was solely the family home. Regardless, while the Scarborough Funeral Home prepares to move to move to, I believe, a fourth location, the Scarborough house remains in the family, and is currently being renovated.


Scarborough House, 11.15.08

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35.98015 -78.899987

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DR. JAMES SHEPARD HOUSE - 1902 FAYETTEVILLE ST.

1902
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 

Dr. James Shepard, founder of what is now North Carolina Central University, moved to the house at 1902 Fayetteville St. in 1925. The house is Prairie Style architecture - common in the midwest, but not a common architectural form in Durham. Shepard lived in the house, and served as president of the university, until his death in 1947.

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Last updated

  • Fri, 07/28/2017 - 12:09pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 31.206" N, 78° 54' 5.7384" W

Comments

1902
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 

 

Dr. James Shepard, founder of what is now North Carolina Central University, moved to the house at 1902 Fayetteville St. in 1925. Shepard, son of Augustus Shepard, well-respected minister of White Rock Baptist Church and brother of Dr. Charles Shepard, first lived in a house at 508 Fayetteville St.

After the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua was built, he moved into a small frame house on the campus. A fundraising drive by J.B. Mason, president of the Citizens Bank garnered enough funds to construct a new President's House on the corner of Brant St. and Fayetteville St. by 1923.

The house is and was Prairie Style architecture - common in the midwest, but not a common architectural form in Durham. Shepard lived in the house, and served as president of the university, until his death in 1947.

The house ceased to be used by the university's presidents (later "chancellors") after a new house for the chancellor was built in 1974. By 1980, it was in use as the admissions office for the university.


1902 Fayetteville, late 1970s

(1960s, courtesy of University Archives - James E. Shepard Memorial Library)

By the early 2000s, when I first went in the house, the university had abandoned the house, which was in very poor shape.

A concerted effort by Carolyn Green Boone, great-granddaughter of Dr. Shepard, resulted in NCCU restoring the house rather than demolishing it; the university received 5,000 from private donations and a grant from the National Park Service to fund the restoration. It is now fully restored, and serves as an exhibit to Dr. Shepard and a meeting space.


1902 Fayetteville St., 11.07.08
 

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406 FORMOSA AVE

406
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1931
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Fri, 12/09/2011 - 7:37pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 27.4476" N, 78° 54' 7.6212" W
US

Comments

406
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1931
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

406Formosa_tax.jpg

From the 1998 Preservation Durham Home Tour Booklet:

A house-plan book of the late 1920s would surely have described the Alfonso Elder house as "A Bungalow of English Inheritance." Indeed, the design of this well-built, nicely-detailed house appears to be influenced by the book "Small Homes of Architectural Distinction, published by the ARchitect's Small House Service Bureau in 1929. The Bureau, a joint creation of the American Institute of Architects and the US department of Commerce, worked all through the 1920s and 30s to provide inexpensive and imaginative house plans during the prosperous years following World War I. Two and three bedroom bungalow plans were turned out in a variety of styles including Craftsman, Colonial, Tudor, and Spanish. These designs helped shape the appearance of neighborhoods across the country at the dawn of the motor-car era.

Alfonso Elder was Dean of the still new North Carolina College for Negroes when he had this house built in 1931. The location was ideal - Dean Elder could walk to work and the neighborhood was home to Durham's most prominent African-American families. The Elders would have the Michauxs as their neighbors on one side and the Kennedys on the other.

The house itself is a compact but finely detailed expression of the Tudor Revival style. The facade is asymmetrical. The steeply pitched and complicated roof is typical of the Tudor style. Also typical are the prominent cross gable with the slipped or 'jerkinheaded' peak., decorative half-timbering, stucco wall finish, and tall windows arranged in multiple groups.

In Tudor houses, chimneys are often the focal points of architectural display and the Elder House is no exception. Although the chimney might have suited the interior arrangement of the living room better had it been placed on the end gable, it has been pulled around to the front of the house and joined with the complicated entry alcove. The chimney's design is fanciful - it is tapered steeply to echo the steep rooflines in the gables. The irregular union of the brick and stucco portions of the chimney are meant to suggest the rough building techniques of late Medieval England. The effect is heightened by the brick 'rubble' protruding from the stucco at eye level on the base of the chimney.

Originally, the interior was divided into spacious living and dining rooms, two bedrooms, and a single bath. Later, this bungalow layout was modified with the addition of a large master bedroom and sunroom on the rear of the house. One of the original bedrooms was redesigned and became a second bath, larger closets, and a small office.

Dean Elder ultimately became President of North Carolina Central University. During the 1950s, he promoted the school's collection and display of African and African-American art. The Elders resided in the Shepard House while he served as president and rented their house to another professor. Upon his retirement, they returned to their newly expanded and remodeled home. Louise Elder remained there after her husband's death until 1989, when she sold the house to Jackie WIlliams, who remains the owner as of 2011. Ms. Williams grew up in the neighborhood and has an biding interest in preservation.

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126Nelson_120311.jpgnelson.jpg

126 NELSON STREET - Clyde and Eleanor H Lloyd Residence

126
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1955
Architectural style: 
,
,
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

Built by Clyde and Eleanor H. Lloyd  from mail-order plans, the house at 126 Nelson Street is unusual - a late application of the Art Moderne style, a definite deviation from the other brick ranches in the block in a traditionally African-American neighborhood. Sold in 2004 to James and Edwina Hunter.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 12/11/2011 - 9:42pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 24.6" N, 78° 54' 22.1616" W
US

Comments

126
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1955
Architectural style: 
,
,
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

126Nelson_120311.jpg

From the Preservation Durham 1998 home tour booklet:

The Art Moderne style lasted from 1922 to 1942—or so the Architecture guidebooks say. So why does one of Durham's finest modernistic style houses date only to 1956?The answer lies in a remarkable story of hard work, patience and good humor. Clyde and Eleanor Lloyd each possess these qualities in abundance. Except for his stint 'in the army during World War II, Clyde Lloyd spent his working life in service as a chauffeur and butler for several of Durham's prominent families.

Mr. Lloyd first saw the plan for his future home in a magazine at a friend's house. The more he studied the house, the more determined he became to make the drawing a real home for his wife and himself He promised Eleanor that if she would be patient, he would build the house himself, from the basement to the roof, in five years. They bought a fine lot on Nelson Street and sent away for the blueprints. The house was to be built of solid masonry. Lloyd studied bricklaying and worked steadily on his time off He was able to do a large part of the work himself with help from his friends and neighbors who assisted him with heavy work and specialty jobs. His employers, Mr. and Mrs. Toms, took an interest in his project and provided nearly 40,000 bricks.

In 1956, four years after Clyde made his promise to Eleanor, the Lloyds moved into their new house-one of the finest and certainly the last Art Moderne house to be built in Durham.

The Lloyd house is a two story, four bedroom house. The exterior incorporates nearly all of the characteristic design elements of its style-asymmetrical facade, flat roof, curved walls, round windows, glass blocks and steel casement windows at the corners. The Art Moderne style is the architectural expression of 'streamlining' that influenced aircraft, ship, train and automobile design during the 1930s. Art Moderne private residences are relatively rare as the style was most frequently used in industrial offices and apartment buildings. Only a handful were built in Durham.

The interior of the Lloyd house is spacious and comfortable. The thickness of its masonry walls is revealed in the opening between the entry hall and living room. Note the large plaster cove moldings. The red carpet in the front hall, a fine wool, was given to the Lloyds by Mr. Branson, one of Mr. Lloyd's employers, when he bought the James Buchanan House and tore out the old carpet while redecorating. The upstairs bedrooms are light and airy.

nelson.jpg

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The Forest Hills Section 

Forest Hills was developed as a golf course neighborhood in the 1920s by James O Cobb and Fuller Glass. They purchased large tracts of farm land along University Drive to fill Durham's growing need for residential neighborhoods for the successful professionals and businessmen of the post-World War I era. Durham architect George Watts Carr Sr. laid out the streets and building lots and designed the golf course in the low lying flood plain. [This paragraph is not very accurate.]

Forest Hills is characterized by elegant homes in the period revival styles popular in the 1920s. Colonial, Tudor, and English cottage homes on winding streets are surrounded by great trees and spacious lawns. Many of the houses were designed by Carr and other local architects. Some were adaptations of plans published in popular magazines such as Home and Garden, which promoted the new suburban life style. 

Many of the houses in Forest Hills have had only two or three owners since they were built. Generations of Durham families have grown up here in a neighborhood convenient to downtown but pleasantly removed from the bustle of city life.

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1810 CEDAR ST. - JOHN ADAMS BUCHANAN HOUSE

1810
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1940
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Sat, 05/26/2012 - 11:28am by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 44.4468" N, 78° 55' 11.7336" W
US

Comments

1810
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1940
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

1810 cedar.jpeg

By the late 1930s, John Adams Buchanan had risen to the pinnacle of Durham's business, civic and social worlds. He had orga- nized the company which built and operated the Washington Duke Hotel, he founded the Home Building and Loan Association and his Home Insurance Agency was the largest insurance company in the area. He selected a four acre site in Forest Hills and consulted Durham's foremost architect, George Watts Carr, to build a home that would suitably express his station in life.

Buchanan wanted a large, stylish home with elegant areas for entertaining, modern conveniences and comfortable living spaces; he got a 11,210 square feet colonial revival mansion. The exterior decoration of the house is rich in high-relief classical elements. Note the medallions and triglyphs at the cornice and the exaggerated broken ogee pediment surmounting the main entryway on the east front.

The entrance hall can only be described as grand-the sweeping, hanging stair has no rival in the area. Note Carr's unusual use of the classical meander decoration, oversized to complement the scale of the stair and increase the drama of the space. The first floor of the house is laid out on two levels along the length of the house. The formal living and dining areas are all arranged on the lower, east side of the house. Observe the high ceilings and heavy moldings incorporating dentils and egg-and-dart and rope designs. The fireplaces display neoclassical and Adam elements.

On the west side, two steps up from its eastern counterpart, along a broad, well-lit gallery, are arranged the less formal, but no less richly appointed, family living spaces. The large library is clad with raised panels of clear redwood, now stained dark. The heavy dentils in the cornice and the black marble fireplace surround add to the dignity of the room. The large, informal 'playroom', as the Buchanan's called it, is decorated with massive box beams.

John Buchanan was responsible for two other extant Durham landmarks. As treasurer of First Baptist Church downtown, he was instrumental in building this great temple which has anchored the end of Chapel Hill Street for more than 75 years. He also built the Art Moderne style Bus Terminal at 411 East Main Street-the last such structure still standing in any major North Carolina city. The Buchanan family occupied their Cedar Street home until 1960. Four of their five daughters were married there. It has been occupied by a series of owners the most recent of whom have taken a loving interest in its preservation as a Durham landmark. SInce 1992, the house as been the home of Michael and Kathleen Peterson and, appropriately, their six children.

Peterson made a bit of name for himself by writing a few war-related books, followed by a regular newspaper column for the Herald (which I admit I enjoyed.) At the peak of that voice-of-the-concerned-citizen-of-Durham public recognition, Peterson mounted a campaign for mayor. That too garnered a good bit of attention, but Peterson lost rather handily and slipped out of the public eye for awhile. 

If you don't know how that story unfolded, you should do some more Googling. Peterson's wife ended up dead at the bottom of the back staircase (not the one described above.) He insisted he was innocent. A jury disagreed. He retained some ardent (kooky) supporters who promulgated various wild theories - like Kathleen Peterson being attacked by an owl.

I wrote this about the house in March of 2007:

Since I have a habit of perusing property listings online, I noticed that 1810 Cedar St. in Forest Hills is on the market. That would be the site of the Peterson murder back in December of 2001, Durham's last media frenzy prior to the Duke Lacrosse case.

I'm intrigued because I knew that Michael Peterson had sold the house in the aftermath of the trial as a part of liquidating assets, etc., and I looked up the sale price around that time - out of curiosity as to how much a house with that degree of recent infamy would sell for. The answer? 0,000 - low for this immense house (9260 sf, 3.4 acres), which would mean that a resonably famous murder does not raise your property value.

The house was bought by the Balius family, who own part of Mad Hatter, back in 2004. The price now? .1 million. We'll see what the statute of limitations is for sensationalistic murder lowering property value. Beware of unhinged owls.

The property sold in July 2008 for .3M to Biond Fury - a psychic - from NYC, despite his prescience, stated that he somehow missed the massive media coverage of this house:

"Fury ... said he was unaware of the house's history and had never heard of the Peterson case. He said he has ties to the Triangle after attending graduate school at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and he was attracted to the house because of its architecture and layout."

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27Oak.jpg

27 OAK DR. - THOMAS C. WORTH SR. HOUSE

27
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1925
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

This Colonial revival house was built for Thomas C. Worth in the 1920s. Worth was a successful banker. Designed by architects Northrup and O'Brien of Winston- Salem and Durham, the house's exterior is classically symmetrical with five bays under a mansard roof. 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 05/26/2012 - 11:37am by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 44.8932" N, 78° 55' 4.4328" W
US

Comments

27
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1925
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

27Oak.jpg

From the 1998 Preservation Durham Tour Booklet:

This Colonial revival house was built for Thomas C. Worth in the 1920s. Worth was a successful banker. Designed by architects Northrup and O'Brien of Winston-Salem and Durham, the house's exterior is classically symmetrical with five bays under a mansard roof. The central front door is surrounded by a classical pediment with a carved fan insert above the doorway. The two story central block is supported by one story wings on each side, one a screened porch, the other enclosed. The 1998 owners, George and Mary Parkerson, added the decorative balustrades around the top of the wings when they moved into the house in the early 1980s. The Parkersons also had the exterior of the house painted in graduated shades of gray green, with off-white detailing of the balustrades, window frames and elegant pedimented entrance. The house thus offers a striking contrast to the white siding with dark shutters color scheme which still predominates Oak Drive.

The interior features a central hall with an impressive staircase turning at a half landing. The curved stair opening in the front hall ceiling blends elegantly with a gracefully arched doorway leading to a cozy paneled den. The fireplace in the large living room was built around an elaborate gilded mirror brought by Mrs. Worth from her family home in Virginia. Folding doors to this room and elsewhere were added by the second owners of the house, Gale and James F Glenn between 1964 and 1982. They replace original glazed french doors. The elegant formal dining room gives onto a small family dining room, butler's pantry, and kitchen. 

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24OAK.jpg

24 OAK DRIVE - PARKS ALEXANDER HOUSE

24
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1930
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 06/28/2012 - 8:14am by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 47.0748" N, 78° 55' 2.3232" W
US

Comments

24
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1930
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

24OAK.jpg

From the 1998 Preservation Durham tour booklet:

George Watts Carr, leading architect for many of the elegant homes in Forest Hills, designed this house for Parks Alexander and his wife Josephine. Alexander founded Alexander Motor Company, Durham's first Ford Agency, located on East Main Street.

This house, built of dark red brick, stone and half-timbered plaster, is a Tudor Revival style house and stands out among the classic clapboard Colonial Revival houses which dominate Oak Drive. The irregular facade of the house includes a wing extending from the front of the central block that is made of the same local stone as that used to build Duke University's West Campus. A small pyramid-roofed pavilion projects from the front of the house and is actually a screened porch opening off of the Living Room. The roofline is accented with three large brick chimneys, each with different terra cotta chimney pots at the top of corbelled stacks.

Inside, the house carries on the Tudor Revival scheme with Gothic arched doorways leading from a central entrance hall. The u-foot high Living Room ceiling is decorated with a molded plaster cornice and carved stone fireplace. Found painted gray by current owners Walter and Linda Daniels, the cornice with its grape cluster design is now highlighted in rich colors. The rough plaster walls in this room are also original. Past a monumental staircase to the left of the front door is a richly stained paneled study with beamed ceiling and diamond-paned leaded windows which bow in the middle to refract light.

Off the dining room, the butler's pantry retains its original cabinetry. The kitchen has been tastefully updated combining both old cabinetry and new built-ins, including a wine rack and modern suspended lighting. Look closely at the mirror in the Powder Room which hides a window into the breezeway. The breezeway connects the house to a two-car garage, probably the earliest in Durham, accessible from the rear of the house. 

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1534 Hermitage Ct.jpg

EUGENE J. HELLEN HOUSE

1534
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1929
/ Modified in
1980-1990
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

This steep-roofed Tudor Revival house is an excellent example both of the style - which was based on idealized English Elizabethan cottages – and of the development of Forest Hills as a premier suburb.

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Last updated

Location

United States
35° 58' 55.8408" N, 78° 54' 49.6908" W
US

Comments

1534
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1929
/ Modified in
1980-1990
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

1534 Hermitage Ct.jpg

(photograph courtesy of Alex Maness)

From the 2012 Preservation Durham Old Home Tour booklet:

This steep-roofed Tudor Revival house is an excellent example both of the style – which was based on idealized English Elizabethan cottages – and of the development of Forest Hills as a premier suburb.  Its first residents, Eugene and Mattie Hellen, moved to the house from North Mangum Street in 1929 after Eugene’s promotion from bookkeeper to secretary of the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company.  Signifying Hellen’s elevated professional status, the couple moved into a brand-new house in the most fashionable neighborhood in town.

After 10 years, the Hellens left the house, renting it for a couple of years and finally selling to George and Irene Whitley in 1943. George Whitley owned GP Whitley & Son – a wholesale grocer – and Purity Stores, a six-location chain of grocery stores. The Whitleys were in the house until 1954, when they sold to Dr. Edwin and Isabelle Robertson, who were the longest inhabitants of the house. Edwin Robertson was a surgeon with an office on Main Street and an assistant physician at UNC-CH. Isabelle Robertson remained in the house until her death in 1994, after which it was sold and passed through several owners. The current family moved in a few years ago.

The sloped roof on the front-entrance gable is called a cat-slide roof and brings attention to the rounded doorway and small casement window beside it.  Much simpler than the high-style Tudors with their half-timbering, overhanging bays, and decorative brickwork, this type of house was built all over Durham through the 1920s and 1930s.  The small, one-story wing on the north end was originally an open porch, now enclosed with a bay window on the end, and the south end of the house has a large, one-story addition that provides a large kitchen.  The distinctive colorful brickwork allows a careful observer to chart the changes to the rear side of the house, as windows were expanded or bricked up and wings added.

Inside, the original foyer, stair, living and dining rooms show the tall, thin windows typical of a Tudor, high ceilings, and simple decorative moldings.  The original butler’s pantry and kitchen have been converted into a guest room; a new kitchen – possibly added in the 1980s and recently remodeled – lets the southern light in. Upstairs, where a single hall bath once stood is a beautiful master bath in which closets have been cleverly added along each wall in the eaves, and the two kids’ rooms share a bathroom cut out of their closet area by an earlier renovation.

 

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