On four fall days back in 2002, volunteers with Preservation Durham captured over 250 photographs of structures in one of the city's oldest African American neighborhoods, East End. Those were still the days of our digital infancy, when camera shops and drugstores would load images from your film onto a CD, and that's exactly where more recent volunteers found these photos in the Open Durham parent organization's records.
Two decades after they were taken, there are three reasons we've decided to turn the uploading of these images into an open call for your participation and a tour on the community archive. First, particularly for a neighborhood of its importance and longevity, Open Durham had regrettably little content about East End. Second, the streets featured here are at the heart of difficult but crucial contemporary conversations about gentrification and displacement, conversations these photographs may help deepen with historical context. Finally, while the brief pages participants will create can only initially scratch the surface of East End history, we know from experience that planting even these incomplete seeds generates opportunities for people to connect, correct, expand, and engage.
Eventually, this tour will give Durhamites a chance to stroll down Dowd and other East End streets as they appeared 20 years ago. It will never be a substitute for the East End neighborhood page - which handles the long history of the community in greater depth and includes several dozen pages for the area that predate this project - but we do intend it to spur the much-needed expansion of that content.
Have 10 minutes to help out? Follow the instructions included below the buildings already added by others, and help us upload this historical inventory!
How You Can Help - Volunteer Instructions
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "EAST END" in the subject line to participate, check email for photo in reply. Download the photo to your computer - it should have a file name consisting of the abbreviated address and date it was taken by a Preservation Durham volunteer.
Log in to Open Durham (create account if new user, follow instructions in email).
In another window, type the prefix of your photo's file name into the search bar on the County Tax Admin website (Ex: If your file is called 900EGeer11012002.jpg, you type in "900 E Geer" and it should pull up the correct property.). You need two pieces of information from here:
a. The location of the property - its position on the block, any immediately adjacent cross streets, etc (*note - the address location should still be the same even if the photographed structure no longer appears.).
b. The 'Year Built' under the 'Building Information' section.
Back in the Open Durham window, click on 'Create Content' in the top right of your browser, and select 'Building' to begin adding your page.
LOCATE THE BUILDING MANUALLY and BEFORE SAVING YOUR PAGE! To do this, scroll down to the 'Location' tab and select 'Manually'. Use the zoom function to zero in on the location you've learned from County Tax records above. Highlight the pen-pointer icon in the top right of the map window, and click exactly where the building is (or was) located. When you've clicked, the location dot should turn from blue to red and remain in place. If needed, you can select the four-arrowed move icon to look around the map without moving your location dot.
Enter address data under the 'Address' tab. Here the number and street name are separate fields (Ex: 900 would go next to 'Street Number' and East Geer Street next to 'Street Name'). If the building you're working on is on a corner, you should also complete the field for 'Cross Street'. For both 'Street Name' and 'Cross Street' fields, it should suggest names of streets already in the system. Please double-check spelling.
You only need to enter info in the first two fields under the 'Vocabularies' tab.
a. Select 'Residential' under 'Type'
b. Select 'East End' under 'Neighborhood'
Under the 'Building Information' tab, enter the 'Year Built' as indicated on the County Tax records you pulled above.
Scroll back up to the 'Title' field, and enter the address in ALL CAPS and the following format (based on the same non-existent 900EGeer file name example used throughout): 900 E. GEER ST. (*note abbreviations for directions - North=N., East=E. - as well as generic road names - AVE., BLVD., CT., DR., ST. Use full words for PLACE or CIRCLE.)
In the main 'Body' field, click the 'Image' icon (furthest right) to begin uploading your picture. This should open an 'Image Properties' applet. From here, you'll:
a. Click the 'Upload' tab. Select the file you downloaded from our email.b. Click 'Send it to the Server' and WAIT.
c. Once your image uploads it should automatically take you to the 'Image Properties' tab, where you will change the 'Width' field to 1000 (the 'Height' will adjust in proportion).
d. Click 'OK' and the image should appear in the 'Body' section.
Moving the cursor below the image by pressing enter, you'll add two sentences of text - one a caption for the photo and the next the first line of information to which others will hopefully add later.
a. Photograph by Preservation Durham survey volunteers, MM.DD.YYYY (input date from file name).
b. According to county property records, this house was constructed in YYYY (input date from County Tax records).
- DOUBLE-CHECK that the 'Location' is 'Manually' set, and hit save!
Congratulations and thank you! You've helped improve publicly accessible documentation of one of Durham's historically Black neighborhoods!