501 St. Joseph Street

35.985988, -78.899838

Year built
Year demolished
Construction type
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June 1965 photograph, attached to appraisals by Durham Redevelopment Commission (Durham Urban Renewal Records, Durham County Library - online via DigitalNC).

This was likely built as the home of brickmason Robert Lee Poole and his wife Beannie Faucette Poole, daughter of White Rock Baptist Church founder, Margaret Faucette.  The couple acquired the property from neighbors, Samuel and Eliza Ruffin, in 1899.  Poole's descendants have preserved a remarkable set of his writings, which include references to work on a wide range of construction projects - from the first buildings at Trinity College to the original Whitted School for African Americans.

After Robert's death in 1913, Beannie continued to raise their children here, eventually remarrying to William Morgan in 1927.  Though she, too, would pass away in 1931, the house remained in the possession of their heirs and was divided into apartments.  An initial 1966 appraisal - conducted when this entire area had been slated for demolition under Durham's plans for Urban Renewal - indicated it was in fair condition, with 3 units producing a significant rental income.  The owners apparently found that sufficient reason to retain the property until after the Redevelopment Commission returned for another assessment seven years later, likely the source of the undated color photo in their records.

Undated (early 1970s?) photograph from Durham Urban Renewal Records (Durham County Library - online via DigitalNC).

Demolition appears to have followed soon after the Poole descendants sold the house to the Commission in April 1974.

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