Morning Glory

Written information down to the delimiter below taken from the 1984 National Register Nomination for the GB historic district. (OCR from original - needs cleanup editing, organizational editing, and updating.)



The Golden Belt Historic District, composed of the Golden Belt Manufacturing company plant, the scores of remaining houses built by the company; and a small commercial district, represents Durham's thriving industrial-based economy of the early twentieth century as well as the lifestyle of the enormous work force that kept the factories running.



In their funding sources and the products they initially manufactured, all of Durham's early textile mills were associated with the local tobacco industry: the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company however, was the most intimately related to tobacco interests. Founded in 1887 by Julian S. Carr, it originated in his W.T..Blackwell & Co.. Bull Durham factory specifically for the manufacture of tobacco pouches. In 1901, Carr greatly expanded Golden Belt with a huge-factory of its own and a diversification of operations to include manufacture of the cloth used in the bag production. As the firm continued to grow, the company-built village traditional rural house types was almost doubled in size with the construction in the late 1910s of dozens·of bungalows. Altlhough Golden Belt continued to manufacture tobacco pouches into the 1980s; most of its production from the mid 20th century into the 1980s  consisted of cigarette cartons and packaging labels. The medieval-appearing factory buildings of "slow burn" construction accented with numerous towers remains the visual and symbolic focus of the district, in which the majority of the residents were still employed by or retired from Golden Belt into the 1990s. As the most intact of Durham's mixed industrial-residential complexes created by Julian S. Carr, the district also stands as a vital monument to that pioneering industrialist's role in the growth of the textile industry and the city's related overall development.

In 1886, with financial backing from Carr, inventor William H. Ke= began to ~rk on the problem of producing cloth bags suitable for use with the new mechanical "Srroking Tobacco Packer" then being developed by L.W. Lawrence, an employee of W.T. Blackwell & Co. Ke= went to Ilion, New York, evidently to gain access to skilled oochinists, and after a year of experirrentation he developed a bag oochine tha~ enabled one worker to produce in one day as 11\3.Dy bags as forty-~ seamstresses could. Based··on this invention, which could produce thousands of bags a day, Julian S. Carr, his wife, and Thorras B. Fuller incorporated the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company in 1887 with 3 capitalization of $50,000 for the J1BDufacture "of bags, sacks, shirts, clothing." Kerr was appointed 11\3.Dager of the new corrpany.

The Golden Belt Historic District consists of 39.65 acres of factories, company- built housing, and a srrall corrrrercial area all developed during the first three decades of this century. The district is roughly rectangular in shape, with fairly even bor- ders except at the southeast comer where the boundary is uneven in order to exclude intrusions. The different land uses, terrain, and building types and styles that sur- round the district help to define its edges. Moving west beyond the border rrarked by the Norfolk &\~estern Belt Line, there are undeveloped tracts, public housing projects, and Durham's Central Business District.

The last year of the nineteenth century was a busy one for Carr. No longer running W.T. Blackwell &Co., which had been acquired by Union Tobacco Co. and thereafter taken over by The American Tobacco Company in 1898, he turned his full attention to textiles. His earnings from the sale of 11.T. Blackwell.& Co. were augrrented in 1899 when the Dukes and their associates purchased controlling blocks of stock in his Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co. Carr now had the capital to expand his other TlBjor textile concerns, Golden Belt Manufacturing Company and Durham Hosiery Mills Corporation, the latter of which he had form2d in 1898. In 1899 he announced his plans for the companies' new factories and adjoining villages on the extensive tract just east of Durham's downtown thathen~Edgerront.ThispropertyatthejunctionoftheNorfolk&Westernwiththe Southern and Seabord Airline railroads was only a couple blocks east of his estate, from which he could conveniently monitor his investments.

Construction of the new factories commenced in 1900.6 The Durham Hosiery Mills' No. One Mill and its village occupied the very hilly te=ain south of E. Main St. (then narred Edgerront Ave.) while the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company was situated on the more gently rolling land to the north. carr's expansion of Golden Belt included not only the increased production of tobacco pouches but a diversification of operations as well to include TlBnufacture of the cloth used for the bags. Consequently, Golden Belt was the larger of the two new plants, consisting of a tvxr to three-story brick mill in which cloth and thread was TlBnUfactured, a siTBller two- to three-story brick bag factory, and a one-story brick warehouse. A one-and-one-half-story brick house with a long wraparound porch (no longer standing) served as the Golden Belt office. It was situated in the area between the bag factory and E. Main St., that initially was landscaped as a park with trees, flo;yers, and winding driveways.

The Golden Belt Historic District resembles the scores of mill villages built across North Carolina during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the constituent elements of factory, houses, church, and stores that shaped its character. The village epitomizes the recorrrrendations espcused in a popular late nineteenth-century journal, the Manufacturer's Record:

"Good dwellings at low rents is one of the essential features of a prosperous rranufacturing town, as the better class of rrechanics will not put up with inferior accommodations nor with exorbitant rents . . • • Contented laborers, well housed and well fed, are essential to the prosperity of any industrial enterprise. Cheap homes
-but good homes will attract good laborers who can affo£~ to and will work for much lC>Ner pay than where houses are scarce and rents high."

That practical advice of 1888 had been codified by 1900 in Daniel A. Torrpkins' Cotton Mill: Commercial Features. In his chapters on labor and operatives' housing, Tompkins presented model house plans and specifications and prescribed large lots suitable for the horre gardening that he encouraged "as being r2'nducive to general =ntentrrent among the operatives • . . essentially a rural people."

The Golden Belt Historic District reflects the contention put forth by Dr. Brent Glass in his 1978 article, "Southern Mill Hills: Design in a 'PuOlic' Place," that the designers of the "model mill villages" of the early twentieth century purposely retained the
character of the nineteenth-century mill hills. Set in urban environments due to the technological advances of steam pcwer and railroad systems, the basic designs of early twentieth-century mill villages were much the same as those of the nineteenth-century rural mill complexes with their villages sited on the hill rising from the factory at the edge of a pcwer-providing river. Like its rural predecessors, the Golden Belt Historic
District was both a "working place and a walking place," its scale "such that all goods and services an~3all social interaction could be reached with public or private transport.chon." Because the mill employed men, women and children, the village contains single-family houses, rather than apartments or boarding houses, with open spaces for gardens. A sense of comnunity was engendered by closeness to neighbors and social functions. Thus, the design of the newer mill villages remained attractive to farm families who wanted to live and work together as always and thereby drew a constant supply of inexpensive labor. By providing all necessities and amenties, the mill operators created a strictly f~lated transition from the farm that encouraged optimum productivity from their workers.

When the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company opened its new plant in 1901, all of its laborers lived in housing built by Golden Belt east of the mill. Covering almost twenty acres, the village was laid out in a grid, with all of the houses on the streets running east-west, initially named sirrply avenues "A" through "D" (now Morning Glory Ave., Worth
St., Franklin St., and Wall St., respectively). Like the other North Carolina mill villages of the day, all of the houses were basic, traditional types that had been found across the state's landscape for much of the previous centw:;y -- one-room deep and one or two stories tall, in sirrple rectangular or "T" shapes with one-story rear ells. (The one- story lr-shaped houses, which differ from the other early houses in their German siding, appear to have been built later in the decade.) Although none of the designs was taken directly from Tompkins' l(sok, the one-story T-shaped houses resemble TO!l{>kins' "Three-room Gable House, Cost $325.

The only builder identified wiJ:l5 the early houses in the district is Andrew C. Mit9hell, a Burlington carpenter. According to a contract dated April 20, 1900, he built forty of the houses -- twelve three-room houses at $265 each, sixteen four-room houses at $345 each, and twely7 five-room houses at $435 each. He also constructed fifty privies at four dollars each. More than fifty houses were constructed in the first phase of the district's development and it is likely that Mitchell built houses in addition to those mentioned in £~s contract, such as the one-story, five-room houses with hipped roofs close to the mill. According to local tradition, Golden Belt originally charged monthly rent of twenty-five cents per room. 1~lthough every house had its own privy, there was only one well for every tyJo houses.

VDst of the information about the early residents of the Golden Belt Historic District has been gleaned from city directories. Although the directories list most of the residents as mill hands, many are identified by more specific jobs such as weaver, machinist, and loom fixer. Other positions held by mill operatives included those of carpenter and special policeman. (The latter position attests to the self-contained nature of the mill village, dependent upon its resources for public services.) The larger, one-story hip--roofed houses with five rooms close to the mill (three of which were destroyed prior to 1937 for factory expansion) were occupied by overseers, foremen, and the more highly skilled artisans such as engineers and electricians. The other five-r=.-n houses in the district -- the two-story houses on avenues B and C (l'k>rth and Franklin streets) -- were the homes of mill hands and other semi-skilled laborers. It is likely,
as was the-case in other mill willages built by Julian S, Carr (for example, Carrboro), that assignments to the larger two-story houses not adjacent to the mill were made on the basis of family size and seniority. Throughout the district, tum-over of occupants in the dwellings was frequent. Of the fifteen houses randomly selected for research in city directories, only one, at 1011 Worth St., was occupied by the same person, mill hand 1q.c.
Winston, in 1919 (the first year the directories list residents by street address) and 1925. All of the company administrators lived in nearby fashionable neighborhoods. The 500 and 600 blocks of Holloway St., conveniently located a few blocks away to the northwest, were popular among mill officials including Paul CreviS, superintendent of the bag department, and George Hundley, who became president'of Golden Belt in the early 1920s.

The district's C()!l[lercial area developed along E. Main St., the "dividing line" betwe=Jl the Golden Belt and Durham Hosiery Mills villages. From its beginning in 1901, this area served both communities. There was only one establishment that appears to have been the company store for both mills -- the Edgemont Mercantile Co.,, located on the south side of
E. Main St. in the large triangle of lawn in front of the Durham Hosiery Mill, just outside the Golden Belt Historic District. (The two-story brick building is no longer standing.) The 1903 Durham city directory list Thomas B. Fuller, Golden Belt 2gresident, as president of Edgemont Mercantile and Julian s. Carr as its vice president.

The rest of the villages' C()!l[lercial area emerged on the north side of E. Main St., in -:.. the long wedge-shaped block at the south-edge of the historic district. An early plat for
Edgemont reveals that Carr owned th~l block, but there is no indication that he owned any
of the businesses established here; it has not been determined if he played a role in developing the comnercial properties or merely sold the block lot by lot to investors. In 1902, there were two frame commercial buildings on the north side of E. Main St. -- a two- story structure containing a grocery and a drug store and a one-story building with two store fronts. Another two-and-one-half-story frame grocery was situated on the north side

of the block fronting Morning Glory Ave., outside of the district. At the east end of the blcckonE.MainSt.(ElmSt.hadnotyetbeencutbe~E.MainSt.andMorningGlory Ave.), also outside of th~2district, the brick Edgerront Graded School (no longer standing) cccupied a sizable tract. It had been erected by the Durham public sch90l system in 1901. Ill111Eiliately west of the school, Edgemont Baptist Church, organized by thirty-six23 members of Durham's First Baptist Church, built a small one-story frame church in 1902.

The business district grew steadily for three decades. By 1907, six additional frame shops had been built, including a fruit stote and confectionary at the west end of E. Main St. and a reM of buildings on the corner of E. Main and Elm containing barber, jewelry and
dress shops. The W.R. Dupree Mantel Factory and the Star Manufacturing Co., which made mattresses, were located on Morning Glory Ave., but by the mid-l910s they had been replaced with houses and the Free Will Baptist Church. The most significant development of the business district occurred during the 1920s when all of ~4 frame store buildings
were replaced with handsome one- and two-story brick structures. According to the 1930 Durham city directory, the 900 block of E. Main St. contained more than twenty shops, among them an A & P grocery, a meat market, a drug store, a dress shop, a furniture store, a cleaner's, two billiard parlors, a barber shop, and two restaurants. Also during the 1920s, the congregation of Edgemont Baptist Church became so large that it replaced its original small frame church with the present, more spacious brick Neoclassical Revival style building.

Expansion of the business district paralleled the grCMth of the Golden Belt Manufac- turing Company, which in turn reflected the success of Durham's tobacco industry. When The American Tobbacco Company trust was broken up in 1911, Golden Belt entered into virtually the same sort of exclusive association with the reorganized American Tobacco Company that had marked the textile firm's origins as an associate firm of W. T. Blackwell & _Co. American's cigarette prcduction soared with the success of its Lucky Strike brand, and in 1924 Golden Belt began to manufacture the paper starrps and packages for American's
cigarette containers. Although the company never completely abandoned its manufacture of cloth bags and pouches, by the mid 1930s most of the bag factory was used for the printing of paper labels and packaging. Golden Belt gradually used more and more of the cotton mill for the manufa<1gre of cigarette cartons and eventually ceased altogether its prcduction of cloth. However, the company pid not veer completely away from textiles. At the same time that it increased its prcduction of packaging, the firm also diversified into the manufacture of ladies' hosiery,2tonstructing two large o~e-story hosiery mills at the south end of the plant in the 1920s.

The need for a considerable increase in the work force to operate the company's steadily expanding plant prompted Golden Belt in the late 1910s to undertake a secondrrajor building campaign in the village. As in 1900 to 1901, the larger houses - one-and- one-half-story bungalows -- were constructed close to the fa27ory and occupied by high- ranking operatives such as assistant foremen and carpenters. At the east end of existing streets and along Taylor St., a new street rrarking the north end of the village, the company constructed more than forty one-story bungalows. In spite of an approxirrately fifty percent increase in ·the size of the.village, the company-built houses could not accorrrocxlate the entire Golden Belt \o.'Ork force as it continued to grow throughout the 1920s. Although it is not certain where the mill operatives lived outside of the

district, it rray be surmised that rrany workers rented from some of the nwrerous private individuals who were inv28ting in rows of identical, .cheaply built houses targeted for mill village "overflow."

The second rrajor building campaign was indicative of developments throughout the southern textile industry. Mill operators increased production quotas and converted the paternalistic offerings of houses and other facilities from benevolences to trade--offs for low wages and difficult working conditions. At the same tirre, they transforrred the
development of their mill villages ~to scientific exercises utilizing architects, city planners, and landscape architects. Their goal was the creation of model villages conducive to a greater capacity for work on the part of occupants. Already well established, the Golden Belt village did not exemplify such multi-faceted planning in its late 1910s expansion, but the new houses did reflect the general trend in their style and amenities, which included indoor plurrbing and modern appliances. (At the same tirre that the bungalCMS were built, plurrbing also was installed in all of the earlier Golden Belt houses.) Bungalows had become the standard mode for corrpany-built housing and were promoted in such industry journals as Southern Textile Bulletin, which featured large
advertisements for pre-fabri3t)ted "Reddi--cut" bungalONS by The Aladdin Co. in its special issue for Christrras of 1919. The treatments of the rrain facades of the new Golden Belt houses suggest the company's increased awareness of aesthetics and its role in projecting a positive irrage for the firm. Although all of the one--story bungalows exhibit the same basic design, they were individualized with stylish treatJrents of attic dormers and porch supports.

The Golden Belt Manufacturing Conpany has grown significantly during the past few decades and today rerrains one of Durham's major employers.. Although Golden Belt still produces cloth bags and pouches, alrrost the entire plant is devoted to the production of cigarette packages and cartons. The company sold its hosiery operation in 1946 to 31 Hillcrest Hosiery Mills which occupied Golden Belt's facilities until the early 1950s.
(It is not known if Hillcrest eventually moved its operation or went out of business.) Today, the plant's hosiery mills built in the 1920s are used for printing and other operations related to the packaging end of Golden Belt's business.· Growth of cigarette carton rranufacturing, now handled by an associated firm, Continental Forest Industries, entailed the construction of an enorrrous addition to the original cotton mill in 1972 and removal of several houses in the block immediately east to rrake room for parking lots.

Both the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company and Continental Forest Industries are subsidiaries of Am2rican Brands, which also is the parent company of The3~rican Toba= Conpany, the purchaser of all of Golden Belt and Continental's products.

After World War II, Golden Belt's developrent continued the trend away from paternalism as the company strove to rrBXimize profits.· By the early 1950s, the relationship bet~n the factory administration and t.'1eir employees had evolved to the point that Golden Belt no longer realized any advantage from providing, at nominal rents, housing which had fully depreciated and required outlays for maintenance. In 19~j,_ the company sold all of its houses for ten percent less than their appraised values. The prices of the hou3~s ranged from $3,000 to $4,000, and most of them were purchased by their occupants. l-lany of the houses have been re-sold since then and a significant number once again are rental property. Nevertheless, a close association be~n the village and Golden Belt endures through the significant number of residents who are employees or retirees of the plant. In spite of deterioration of the business district, as aspect of inner city blight symptomatic of the automobile age and resultant proliferation of shopping centers, the
Golden Belt mill village survives as a vital neighborhood. The closing statements of Dr. Glass' article characterize the Golden Belt Historic District

"the mill hill has proven its resiliency as a vernacular design. It has survived the migration to the suburbs in the 1950s. It has been refined over the years but retains its essential nineteenth century form. It is this form that allcwed for the basic needs of a rural population. These needs have proven to be universal. Proximity to workplace, easy access to community services and open space, avenues of social interaction -- these are qualities of an~5well-balanced living space. The mill hill
has provided this balance in its design."


The abandoned Durham Hosiery Mills' No. 1 Mill and its village known as Edgerront, now extremely deteriorated,· occupies the- very hilly, heavily vegetated land with an irregular street pattern south of East Main St. Another public housing project lies· along the east side of Holrran St.; the Golden Belt Historic District's eastern border. · Standard house types popular early ih this century characterize develop.-rent to the ·north and southeast where the greater variety of types, orna- ment and landscaping c6ntiast to the generally hoiiDgenous character of the district's houses. The terrain of the district is hilly, especially in the soutl}_west quadrant. Most of the east-west streets clirrb and descerid hills, ·whiie the re-st of the streets wake a gradual ascent from north to south.

The buildings in the-Golden Belt Histork.'District are neatly segregated into three clearly deflned areas. The industr1al bmldings of the Golden Belt Manufacturmg Compariy take up-more-than one-t.hird of the district." This· comf>lex: of ·factories; ware-: houses and offices covers-the gentle siope-that descends frcin the railroad ·tracks at the district~s v.Bst edge. East:ofthefactorj complex,-all of".the remaining houses built by the Gj>lden Belt Man~acturing Comp.ani ~-~ .ftlE'> east-west streets in a grid c;>f 11-1/2 blocks.

(originally, the industrial area formed a neat, allfOst rectangular parcel ITBYked bY Belt St. on the east so that there were 12-1/2 residential blocks (see accompanying rrap). Sometime after 1955, the regularity of the grid was interrupted when the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company relfOved the houses in the large block on the east side of Belt St. north of Franklin St. At least some of the houses in that block were lfOVed, including the one n= at 500 Belt. St.)

All of the ffilll houses are posltloned on fairly rrodest lots with um- form setbacks and side yards that· reflect tlieir development· by a 'single owner. The houses have small front yards cind rear yards that can a=O!llTOdate vegetable gardens. Along the hilly streets, retaining walls delineate rrany of; the front yards. Land- scaping is fairly sparse, usually consisting of an o=asiorJal shrub against the house and a fruit tree or hardwood near the property line. None of the houses has a detached garage (a few have attached carports), but all have gravel driveways. l~en the streets w&e widened- and repaveekin 'the ~910s, =bs-, gutters;c:and driveway ramps were added.

The district's only sidewalks are in the third area, a srrall neighborhood cOflTrer- cial district in the long, 900 block of E. Main.St. that marks the district's south edge;- Elf---tile-dis!o:dct,--·this wedge-sbiJ,ped block was. owned by Julian s. Carr at the turn of the century; but·unlike the rest of the area it apparently was net developed by his Golden Belt Manufacturing Company. Most of the frame stores and houses that dotted this block prior to 1910 have been replaced with one- and two-story commercial buildings and a church, all brick, constructed be~~en 1910 and 1930.


The architecural focus of the historic district is the Golden Belt ManufacJ;uring Company plant with its Romanesque Revival style buildings dating from the first years of this century. Ta;.~ers, ornamental brickwork, and ra.vs of closely spaced arched windows characterize these long two- to three-story rectangular buildings constructed as a bag factory and a cotton mill. Their main facades, fronting the railroad tracks, feature Doric pilasters flanking round arched windows in the top stories and cornices of corbelled pendants and simple corbel bands above. The t<NJers are short, only slightly taller than the buildings, except for a four-story ta.-~er which may be seen from points throughout the district; they all have the same pilasters, round arched win- dows, and cornices as the main facades. These two oldest buildings are of sla.v burn
construction with heavy timbered interior supports and thick brick exterior walls. The other structures in the complex have steel interior supports and thinner brick exter- iors that are pilastered or curtain walls on steel frames. Tney include two-story addi- tions with corbelled cornices made to the bag factory around 1920 and a long, austere building near Morning Glory Ave. with pilastered walls and a concrete base constructed in the 1930s. The later buildings, as well as the original ones, have oonitors with
clerestory winda.vs (many now covered with rretal) running their lengths. A one-story office building and a very large one-story addition to the cotton mill, erected in recent years, have plain brick elevations.

The district's 109 houses built by the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company repre- sent two building campaigns. The first, begun when the mill was under construction in 1900-02, yielded 63 houses. Except for two two-room-deep houses with tall hipped roofs on Worth St. and Morning Glory Ave., adjacent to the factory complex, all of these early houses consist of one-room-deep gable-roofed units in four configurations: (1) one story with a triple-A roof, two front doors, and a rear ell; (2)' two stories with a .,., symmetrical three-bay facade and rear one-story ell; (3) one story in a T shape with the entrance in the "stem" parallel to the street and a rear ell extending from the top of the T; and (4) one story in an L positioned so that the recess is to the rear. The second building campaign occurred in the late 1910s when The Arrerican Tobacco Ccxnpany, for 1vhich Golden Belt lffillufactured all of its goods, greatly increased its production of cigarettes and the Golden Belt plant was enlarged with cigarette packaging and carton manufacturing facilities. All of the later houses are one- and one-and-one-half-story bungalows.

Generally, the houses are ·clustered in rafis according to type, as indicated on the accompanying map. For instance, all of the two-story houses are on the north sides of the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Worth St. and most of the T-shaped houses are on the south sides of the 1100 blocks of Franklin and Wall streets. The only house type on Taylor St., the northernrrost street in the Golden Belt Historic District, is the one- story bungal= with two front doors; most of the one-story bungalONs with a single front door are at the east ends of the district's other east-west streets.

Decorative features common to all of the early, one-room-deep mill houses augment the uniformity that is characteristic of mill villages. These features also indicate that all of the Golden Belt houses built in the district prior to 1910 were constructed
by a single builder, probably Andrew C. Mitchell lvho had a contract with the Golden Belt Man~aCturing Company dated April 20, 1900, to build fifty houses and fifty privies. (Much of this contract, preserved in the private papers of the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company, is reprinted in An Inventory of Edge=nt and East Durham, Ruth Little-Stokes and Pat Dickinson, editors (Durham Technical Institute, 1980), p. 46.) All of the houses built around 1900 to 1902 display shed-roofed front porches that are less than full-facade, constructed with slightly chamfered supports embellished by simple curved spandrels and match stick railings. Originally, all of the gable vents were in the shape of a diamond bearing an ornamental pierced design.

other features CQTITon to all of the early houses are the six-over-six double-hung sash windows and exterior sheathing of plain weatherboards; only the seven L-shaped houses, which may not have been built around 1910, are covered in German siding. One Other variation is found among the chimneys: all of the early mill houses have a single interior brick chimney in the main block and one or two brick flues elselvhere, but only the chimney stacks of the one-story houses are corbelled. The roofs were covered with sawed pine shingles, all of lvhich have been replaced. All interiors were plastered and unpainted, with simple trim that included lffilltelpieces of Victorian character. Indoor bathrooms were installed in small shed additions to the rear in the 1910s, around the tine of the second major building campaign.

All of the bungal=s of the second building campaign - one story as well as one- and-one-half stories -- also share certain feat\Kes lvhich suggest that these "builder houses" were the work of a single, as yet unidentified, contractor. When they were built in the late 1910s, modestly appointed but stylish bungalONs of. this type were pop- ular choices for company-built housing, as· indicated by their frequency in contemporary villages across the North Carolina piedmont. Like the similar "Reddi-<::ut" bungalows advertised by the Aladdin Co. in a 1919 edition of Southern Textile Bulletin, the bungalows in the Golden Belt Historic District may be pre-fabricated houses built by an area contractor lvho ordered the materials and plans directly from such a company.

'Ihe five one-and-one-half-stor:y brmgalcws originally 'n6:e all identical to each other, featuring gable roofs, shed rorners, and very large l::ox piers with solid rail- ings at the full-facade front porches; the dormers, posts and railings were covered with split shake shingles. .In contrast, variety is injected among the forty-one one- stmy hip-roofed bungalcws in the types and fll3.terials of their attic domers and porch supports and railings. These bungalows have either narrow or wide simple attic gables springing directing from the principal hipped roof or shed- or gable-roofed dormers,
all covered in regular or butt-end split shake shingles. Th~ attic gables and gable- roofed domers were built with sunburst lunette or multi-paned rectangular windows and the shed domers contained a band of three sfl\3.ll windows. Four types of supports were placed at the full-facade recessed front porches: large shingled l::ox posts identical to those of the one-and-one-half-story bungalcws; pairs and trios of two-by-fours; and single squat Tuscan columns or pairs and trios of slender Tuscan columns, l::oth types on
brick or shingled plinths. Originally, railings were either solid and shingled or the match stick type.
In spite of a vacant, tree-covered lot and the two frame houses surrounded by tall trees, the district's corrmerial area is characterized by its one- and two-story brick buildings. The most distinctive of these is the 1920s Neoclassical Revival style
Edgemont Baptist Church, dominated by very tall round arched windcMs and pedimented pavilions on its three principal elevations. The church's llDlded cornices, executed in white-painted wood for a crisp accent to the brick facades, are echoed at the opposite end of the block in the c0!1ID2rcial area's oldest building, constructed around 1920 with two store fronts. In need of renovation, this building at 903-905 E. t-lain St. displays a molded and modillioned cornice and simple bands of brick corbelling above second- story windows with granite sills. The seven other commercial buildings in the Golden Belt Historic District all date from the mid 1920s. Five of them, each containing two
or three store fronts, feature pilastered tapestry brick facades with low parapets orna- mented with stone coping and geometric patterns in brick and white insets of concrete or brick. One- and two-story buildings at 931 and 933 E. Main St., respectively, exhi- bit identical cornices of sfll3.ll, closely spaced corbelled pendants and simple
corbelling above.



Since the district became fully developed in the 1920s, fl\3.!1Y of its buildings have been altered, particularly after the mid 1950s when the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company sold all of its mill houses. Most of the alterations are of the "home irrprove-: ment" type intended to "weatherize" and reduce fll3.intenance, by the mill worker occupants who purchased their houses from Golden Belt. The llDSt COffllDn changes include
.,._rerroval of one of the front doors on the hOuses built with two, the installation of porch supports and railings, usually metal, to replace original elements that had become deteriorated, and the application of aluminum siding. Most of the remodelling is reversible and has left the basic character of the houses intact.

Arrong the houses that have lost their integrity due to extensive alterations, many =uld be rehabilitated without an inordinate anDunt of I'K>rk. AllfOst all of the struc- tural changes to the mill houses consist of additions to the rear elevations; additions else>vhere appear only on the one-story bungalCMs in which expansion by the partial enclosure of their recessed-, full-facade front porches is unobtrusive. Only a few of the mill houses have been replaced with ne1~ cnstruction, all frame duplexes. The condi- tions of the district's buildings range from excellent to deteriorated. A considerable number are well preserved and very few are deteriorated in spite of the l= and rroderate incomes of lfOSt of the district's residents.


Golden Belt was purchased by Brown and Williamson in 1994, and the Golden Belt manufacturing plant was shuttered. International Paper purchased the northern buildings of the campus (Building 1, the power plant, and the 1972 addition to building 1,) unfortunately splitting ownership of the mill campus. The remaining, southern building remained abanoned. During the 1990s, the economy of the neighborhood worsened considerably - the oldest generation of residents connected to the mill village and the manufacturing company became old enough to either move out of independent living (and out of the district) or decease. Housing abandonment increased, and many structures in the district were demolished by various governmental entities.

Fortunately, the neighborhood was not subjected to the mass demolition inflicted upon its sister neighborhood, Edgemont, to the south of East Main Street.  However, all of the structures at the western end of the commercial district were demolished, and the entire 1100 blocks of Morning Glory and Worth were demolished / highly altered.

The Durham Housing Authority acquired the southern portion of the factory from Brown and Williamson for $1 in 1996, and made plans to revitalize the complex as a jobs training facility. The northern portion of the factory was sold to Julio Cordoba in 2002, who moved a small electronics company into a small portion of the former factory. 

In 2003, DHA demolished the Few Gardens housing project to the east of the neighborhood, providing the first tangible positive transition for the Morning Glory neighborhood. DHA, through its DVI development arm, developed one building of the Golden Belt campus: Building 4. However, due to questions from HUD about the use of funds through DVI, DHA was required to sell the complex in 2004. An open process attracted no buyers, and Scientific Properties, a local real estate development firm, aquired the southern 160,000 sf of the complex in 2006.

A complete renovation of Buildings 2,3,4,5,6, and 7 was undertaken by the company, including artist studios, apartments, office space, and retail space. The project opened in summer 2008. 

From 2007-2012, both Scientific Properties and Habitat for Humanity undertook efforts to revitalize the mill village, focused on the area west of North Alston Avenue. As of 2007, the homeownership rate in the neighborhood was 5%, and both efforts focused on creating homeownership from abandoned housing or vacant land. As of 2012, Scientific Properties had renovated or constructed 9 houses, as had Habitat for Humanity, for a total of 18 renovated or new houses in the district. A significant revitalization of the neighborhood has occurred over this period.

The area east of North Alston Ave. has not seen the same amount of revitalization, due to greater demolition prior to the efforts of Habitat and Scientific Properties, and large-scale acquisition and demolition of the eastern portion of the historic district by the Durham Rescue Mission. The neighborhood north of Franklin Street retains a semblance of the original fabric, but the area south has been badly decimated, with 3 additional houses demolished in 2011. DRM plans as of 2011 include demolition of the remainder of these houses and closure of the streets south of Franklin. 

Combined with the contentious planned widening of North Alston Avenue through the district, the split between the areas east of Alston Avenue and west continues to become more pronounced.