420 Nelson Street

35.972067399015, -78.901909690609

Year built
Architectural style
Construction type
National Register
Building Type
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Photograph taken by Heather Slane, hmw Preservation, National Historic District Submission, December 2017


Among the latest houses constructed in the district, this one-story, side-gabled Ranch house is typical of 1960s construction. The house is three bays wide with a lower, side-gabled wing on the right (west) end of the façade. It has a brick veneer, vinyl windows throughout, an exterior brick chimney on the left (east) gable end, and an interior brick chimney between the main block and right wing. Centered on the façade of the main block, the solid wood door has molding applied to create three faux panels and is flanked by one-light-over-one-panel sidelights. The door is sheltered by a flat-roofed porch supported by decorative metal posts. To the left of the entrance, a projecting front-gabled bay has a triple window and aluminum siding in the gable. To the right of the entrance is a projecting bay window with double-hung windows flanking a fixed picture window. A gabled ell projects from the left rear (southeast). The side-gabled wing on the right has a picture window flanked by double-hung windows centered on its façade. Its right elevation is two bays deep with vertical wood sheathing on the main level and aluminum siding in the gable. At the basement level, a wide corrugated metal garage door is sheltered by a full-depth, shallow shed roof supported by square posts. A stone and concrete block wall extends along the left side of the property. County tax records date the house to 1963, though it is not present in the 1963 city directory. The house was occupied by Alvis O. Grady, one of the first African American mail carriers in Durham, and his wife Laura D. Grady, a retired school teacher.  They are the parents of two sons, Alvis Jr. and Daniel.

According to Mrs. Grady, they purchased four lots for their home from Mr. Grady's mother,  Mrs. Dovie Grady of 2210 Fayetteville Street.  Mr. Grady's father, T.A. Grady, was the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, which at that time was located on Glenn Street.  Mr. and Mrs. Alvis Grady were married in his father's church.  T.A. Grady Recreation Center was named in honor of Reverend Grady. 

Mr. Alvis Grady's sister, Martha Grady Dalton, lived at 2204 Fayetteville Street as well.  

Mr. Alvis O. Grady, Sr. died in 2005.  Mrs. Laura Grady still lives in the home and is one of the oldest living residents in College Heights.

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