College Heights

The evolution of College Heights - in some sources referred to as College View - was the latest phase of development in Southeast Durham prior to 1940. This neighborhood, extending south from the vicinity of Lawson St., began to take shape after the adjacent National Religious Training School became the four-year, state-supported North Carolina College. Originally, College Heights consisted of the area around the college to the vicinity of Nelson St. The area to the south, known as Pearsontown for the black family who owned much of the land here, remained rural for many years. Similar to other Durham neighborhoods such as Watts Hospital-Oval Park that experienced a great deal of residential construction in the late 1920s and 1930s, the early section of College Heights is characterized by ornamented bungalows and quaint period revival style houses. The styles of these houses, built for businessmen and college professors and administrators, range from Spanish Mission to English Cottage to Colonial Revival. Several of the houses are said to have been built by local contractor James Whitted. The prestige of College Heights, expressed by its fashionable architecture, was enhanced by the cultural opportunities afforded its residents by the neighboring college. Durhamites who grew up here and in the Lincoln Hospital area fondly remember hearing addresses by nationally known figures and the performances of such vocalists as Paul Robeson and Roland Hayes. The Algonquin Tennis Club, Southeast Durham's most popular social and recreation spot of the 1930s and 1940s, was located nearby in the 1400 block of Fayetteville St. The membership of the club, a social subsidiary of the North Carolina Mutual, has been described as "a new aristocracy. . . whose impulse for reform came. . . from a sense of racial duty and noblesse oblige. "

Portions of College Heights have been demolished in recent years as the campus of NCCU has expanded.  Much of the remaining original construction was included in a College Heights Historic District, added to the National Register in January 2019.  See the map of the designated district marking contributing structures below.

(See the complete listing on the State Historic Preservation Office website)