702 Willard

35.992869, -78.907819

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702 Willard, 1965.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Looking north at the intersection of Morehead and Willard, ~1950
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The 600 and 700 blocks of Willard were a continuous block, the numbering divided by the intersection with Warren St. on the east side of the street. The southern end of Willard seems to have been smaller and less embellished houses, and likely poorer residents; this area was really the transition to the neighborhood that extended southward into the current Southside neighborhood.

These houses were demolished by urban renewal, and several of them were in the path of the new East-West Expressway (now called the Durham Freeway.) It's a common misconception that the Freeway destroyed most of the historic housing in Durham during the 1960s. I hope you get the sense from reading this site of the relative proportion of structures affected by urban renewal versus the Freeway.


Looking east from South Duke St., before the overpass on South Duke. This is likely from around the middle of the current Duke St. overpass.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Looking northeast at Willard St. from South Duke St., 1967.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The 700 block disappeared - plowed under by the Durham Freeway.

Looking north from the Durham Freeway, ~1970.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

And the 600 block of Willard became the Ramada Inn, lovingly profiled earlier this week.

600 block of Willard, looking southwest, 02.10.08

700 block of Willard, looking southwest, 02.10.08


Count me among those who have been "enlightened" thanks to this blog. It's surprising to see the true scope of urban renewal and visualize the dramatic ways in which it has reshaped Durham.

I've also been struck by some of the decay in the "before" shots, and it's easy to imagine how such an ambitious response would be embraced by a city desperate to stay alive. What a shame that things didn't work out better.

love those metal roofs. The WSJ had a big story last weekend on how they are coming back in style -- I have one on my outbuilding and the sound of the rain is great.

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