605 Dowd St.

36.000527, -78.888249

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12.07.12 (Photo by Gary Kueber)  

Noted as Lot 13 of the Geerwood Park subdivision (PB5A/P74), this property was purchased from the original developer by Adolphus and Dillie Jones in December 1915.  Though the ostensible purchase price referenced on deeds is notoriously unreliable, the amount given in this case - $2,900 - makes it plausible that the Jones family acquired the lot with the house already constructed on it.

The couple had already reached middle-age by this time, and they settled into their new home along with their adult son and his wife, John and Fannie Noell Jones, an intergenerational household that would expand as the younger Joneses had four daughters between 1918 and 1922.  Adolphus and Dillie Council Jones both appear to have been born in the northeastern Williams Township of adjacent Chatham County (much of which is now under Jordan Lake).  After marrying there in 1883, they migrated to the growing town of Durham by the late 1890s.  Adolphus - often Dolphus or simply A. D. - appears to have had a wide range of jobs: from farm worker as a youth, to railroad brakeman in the 1900 census, to operating an eatery on East Peabody by the station downtown in the 1903-1904 directory.  In the latter part of that decade, he followed many of his generation into the business world - first as an insurance agent for NC Mutual and then as treasurer in an apparently short-lived real estate venture by the mid-1910s.  This may have afforded the Jones family the financial security to purchase their home on Dowd Street, but it did not prevent him from seeking new jobs - including work at a hosiery mill into his sixties.

What comfort the Jones household had accumulated seems to have been broken by the early 1930s, when first John, then Dillie, and finally Adolphus died in consecutive years.  A widowed mother of four in her mid-thirties, Fannie Jones gathered her aging parents into her household by the end of the decade.  As young adults, her daughters helped her secure a mortgage on the house, but they would ultimately lose it to foreclosure in 1956.  Several family members were nevertheless able to remain in the East End neighborhood - including Fannie, who was living with a granddaughter just a few blocks away when she died at age 94 in 1980.

The house appears to have undergone significant renovation since about 2015.

11.16.2021 (Photo by Nicholas C. Levy)

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