117 N. Queen St.

35.993914, -78.896149

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Looking west from the intersection of N. Queen and E. Main (in the foreground), 1940.

This blurry shot gives a sense of the pattern of houses on the west side of the 100 block of N. Queen St., typically large houses, somewhat less grand than those that once existed along East Main (a few of which are still visible in this view.)

There are no good individual views of the east side of the street - the only glimpses come from the background of St. Philip's shots.

A view of the 1908 church entrance, looking northwest (which shows a residential structure on Queen St. in the background)
(Courtesy St. Philip's Archives)

Looking east-northeast, 1950s with the same residential structure to the left.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

It appears that the structures on the east side were likely taken down by St. Philip's in the 1960s.

On the west side of the street, by 1966, when I have individual pictures of the properties, the commercial encroachment from East Main had already begun to change this neighborhood.

117 N. Queen (corner of Liberty and Queen,) 1966

Urban renewal took this struggling old neighborhood behind the barn and shot it. This area became surface parking, eventually for the county.


Looking southwest, summer 2007.

I've envisioned previously how Durham County could do good things with this vast waste of space. The current plan is to build a parking deck here, someday. One hopes that parking deck will be wrapped with retail frontage, but I'm not sure the county sees good urban design as part of its purvey. But in this big land parcel lies the oh-so-important opportunity to help bridge the gap between Roxboro and Golden Belt/Hosiery Mills/HOPE VI. Let's hope the county can see their way to make the best of it.


For whatever reason, this is the first of your posts where I've wanted to comment. (I love your blog, being raised in the Durham of the 70s and 80s and loving those markers of the past which you make public.) The idea of a parking lot and a downtown that makes a wise choice of parking lots can be seen in Silver Spring. They did a great job with the AFI, the various shopping and dining areas, and the garage in which parking is essentially free. It's really a great place, turning an awful area into a highly desirable social zone. Perhaps Durham could adapt and extend the idea? Who knows. Thanks for your posts...

I think Michael Wittman means Silver Spring, Maryland (where I was born).

He and I probably switched places, because I remember Silver Spring from the 1970s and 1980s very well, but would not recognize parts of its downtown now. LOL.

Paul Magee

It's interesting that you bring up Silver Spring (Maryland) and parking lots. As recounted by this Washington Post article, in 2005, Silver Spring created an impromtu city park out of an old parking lot, using artificial grass -- no, not astroturf -- and it was a huge success.

(I grew up in Durham/Bahama, moved to D.C./Arlington for a decade and recently moved back to Durham.)

Thanks for the clarification - I did mean Maryland. The place was awful when I moved there in 1993 for grad school, and now all my friends live there or in Takoma Park and love it. Weird how that works out. Now I live in Maine (well, I'm abroad at the moment, but still), in a town that had its own urban renewal fiascoes but kept a lot of the old, gorgeous housing intact.


Thank you again for your amazing work on this blog. I often agree with your analysis, sometimes disagree with you, but always appreciate the hard work and civic spirit with which you put together these entries. Thanks!


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