Holloway Street Historic District, Durham City, North Carolina, Durham, NC, 27701

Holloway Street Historic District

Durham City, Durham County, NC

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Holloway Street Historic District

The Holloway Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. A Holloway Street Historic District Boundary Expansion was listed in 2009. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from copies of these original nomination documents. [‡, ‡]


The Holloway Street Historic District evolved as an extension of the fashionable residential neighborhood that began in the 1860s at the east edge of downtown Durham. It extends from the area that formerly was the core of that premier neighborhood, decimated first by the encroaching central business district and finally by clearance for urban renewal projects and thoroughfare plans. Consequently, the approaches to the Holloway Street Historic District from downtown are broad streets lined by empty grass- or underbrush-covered blocks and blocks that have been cleared and redeveloped with modern buildings.

In contrast to those transitional blocks, the Holloway Street Historic District is filled with houses shaded by mature hardwoods that form a canopy over the streets and sidewalks. All of the buildings have front yards, except for (former) O'Briant's Store which is situated flush with the sidewalk and the edge of the Holloway Street bridge over the railroad tracks. The setbacks are fairly uniform and most of the yards are narrow so that the houses are closely spaced. The occasional house set further back from the street usually is situated on a larger tract than its neighbors and thus also has wider side yards. Originally, iron fences delineated many of the yards; none of the fences survive, but many of the very low concrete or brick retaining walls separating front yards from sidewalks and driveways remain. Front walks run in straight lines from the sidewalk to front porches and most of the houses have narrow driveways leading to detached garages in the rear yards.

Holloway Street runs through its district in a straight line across level terrain. Twenty-two of the twenty-six buildings in the Holloway Street Historic District are in the 500 and 600 blocks of Holloway Street. The two easternmost structures in this district are in the 700 block just past the bridge over the Norfolk and Western Railway tracks; beyond these two houses, the quality and condition of the architecture deteriorates as Holloway Street descends a rather steep hill. Although separated from the Holloway Street houses by five empty lots, the two houses on Dillard Street are among the district's most architecturally and historically distinctive buildings and are linked to the rest of the district by their visual attributes. As part of Durham's thoroughfare plan, Holloway Street is wide and carries much traffic.

Except for the brick commercial building, all of the primary structures in the Holloway Street Historic District are one- to two-and-one-half story frame houses dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. Altogether the houses produce a fabric of various forms and rooflines whose texture is enriched by a broad range of applied decoration and sheathings. The predominant architectural style of the Holloway Street Historic District is the vernacular Queen Anne, interspersed with the early Neoclassical and Colonial Revival styles. The commercial building and a couple of Foursquare houses date from the late 1910s.

Several of the oldest houses in the Holloway Street Historic District are two-story, one-room-deep basic house types that incorporate Queen Anne features such as applied bargeboard in the gables and segmental arched windows with pointed arched lintels. The Suitt-Whitley House at 523 Holloway Street, certainly built prior to 1891, retains quatrefoil vents and lacey sawn and turned bargeboard in the gables of its triple-A roofline, while the Belvin-Taylor House at 611 Holloway Street, built no later than the 1890s, exhibits rectangular windows in pointed arched surrounds with applied sawnwork.

Most of the vernacular Queen Anne style houses in the Holloway Street Historic District exhibit the characteristic asymmetrical form and varied roofline. The Noell House at 514 Holloway is the earliest surviving example of the more full-blown Queen Anne style. In addition to its irregular shape and hipped and gabled roofline, the Noell House displays some play in its elevations with the "bumped out" rectangular bay in the second story of the front gabled wing. Several of the two-story houses have hip-roofed cores with gable-roofed wings, often ending in three-sided bays, projecting asymmetrically from the front and side elevations. Examples of this popular vernacular Queen Anne house type include the Bright and Lyon houses and the house at 523 Holloway Street. The Bright House and 523 Holloway Street, mirror images of each other that appear to have been built by a single developer, are exuberantly ornamented with sawtooth shingles and turned and sawn ornamental bracing in all of the gables, each of which caps a three-sided bracketed bay. The Carpenter and Perry houses are small renditions of these asymmetrical compositions.

Purer and larger instances of the Queen Anne style appear in the district. Creighton Hall at 513 Holloway Street, believed to have been built in the 1890s, has numerous gables at varying heights sheathed with vertical boards overlaid with curved boards evocative of half-timbering. The gables also have solid ornamental bracing carved in sunburst motifs. The White-Haskney-Markham House on Dillard Street is the most elaborate of the Queen Anne houses, a veritable catalogue of the style's vocabulary with its highly irregular shape, plethora of turned and sawn elements, polygonal gazebo at the corner of the wraparound porch with modillioned cornice, and turreted balcony.

Three of the houses in this Holloway Street Historic District may be classified as Queen Anne cottages. The most unusual of these is the James Burns House at 702 Holloway Street which also appears to be the most diminutive in spite of its two-story height. Its mansard roof covered with decoratively patterned cedar shingles has been unique in Durham since its very similar mate across the street at 701 was covered with aluminum siding. The rambling Ferrel-Pollard House at 606 Holloway Street is notable for its patterned pressed tin roof, wings ending in bracketed three-sided bays, and large windows with upper sashes containing many small square panes surrounding rectangular panes in the shape of a cross. The Henry Wilkerson House at 524 Holloway Street is in one-story, two-room-deep form with a tall hipped roof, attic gables, and a central three-sided entrance bay. A polygonal porch follows the contour of the main facade.

The first hints of the Neoclassical Revival and Colonial Revival styles appeared in the Holloway Street Historic District in the 1890s when classical elements, such as Tuscan columns of Creighton Hall, were integrated with more traditional Queen Anne features. This combination of motifs displayed in the neoclassical style houses continued into the 1900s, as indicated by the wraparound porch with Tuscan columns and pedimented entrance bay of the 1903 Moore-Umstead House at 520 Holloway Street. The Crews House, built about the same time at 526 Holloway Street, resembles the neighboring Wilkerson House with its three-sided entrance bay and pointed arched surrounds, yet clearly reflects the growing neoclassical trend with its Tuscan porch columns and Palladian arrangement of window and vents in the front attic dormer.

The C.C. Thomas House at 206 Dillard Street is an early full-fledged example of a Colonial Revival style house. A monumental full-facade Ionic portico curves outward at the center to accentuate the entrance with its sunburst fanlight and wrought iron balcony. The only other overtly Colonial Revival style house in the Holloway Street Historic District is the R. Percy Reade House at 510 Holloway Street. Built in the early 1900s in a late Queen Anne design, it was thoroughly remodeled in the 1920s and 1930s to its present symmetrical configuration with a convex Tuscan portico and Palladian window above.

Elsewhere in the Holloway Street Historic District, the Neoclassical Revival style's eclipse of the Queen Anne is evident in the disappearance of sawn ornament, the persistence of pedimented gables, Palladian motifs and other standard classical elements, and in the "regularization" of the basic forms of house built in the 1900s and 1910s. The houses in the Holloway Street Historic District dating from the 1910s — the Kirkland, Scanlon, Holloway and Carlton houses — all are Foursquare with classically-influenced entrances placed at an end of the main facade. The porch supports of these houses are box posts of uniform width or slightly tapered; most of them rest on brick plinths and some are paneled or fluted. Several 1890s and turn-of-the-century houses, including the Noell and Belvin-Taylor houses, also have slightly tapered box posts reflecting porch remodelings in the 1910s.

Today, the appearance of Holloway Street Historic District is best described as largely intact but deteriorated. Although some of the houses have replacement porch supports and three (including the two non-contributing buildings) have been sided with aluminum, most of the houses are basically unaltered. In spite of the subdivision of many of the houses into apartments, most of the owners of those houses report that the conversions entailed only the installation of kitchens and bathrooms that left most of the original details intact. The few owner-occupied houses and the rental property owned by district residents are among the best preserved. Most of the deteriorated houses are suffering from the neglect of their absentee landlords. The houses that have been vacant for any length of time, such as the Scanlon House at 509 Holloway Street, have been vandalized. On the other hand, there are plans to upgrade some of the more deteriorated rental property.

The structures, of course, are closely related to the surrounding environment. Archaeological remains, such as trash pits, wells, and structural remains, which may be present, can provide information valuable to the understanding and interpretation of the structures. Information concerning use patterns, social standing and mobility, as well as structural details, are often only evident in the archaeological record. Therefore, archaeological remains may well be an important component of the significance of these structures. At this time, no investigation has been done to discover these remains, but it is probable that they exist, and this should be considered in any development of the property.


The Holloway Street Historic District is among the few surviving portions of Durham's most fashionable late nineteenth century neighborhood, originally identified by one of its most attractive streets, Dillard Street. As the finest early residential expression of the tremendous success of the city's young tobacco industry, the neighborhood began in the late 1860s at the east edge of the downtown area and by the 1880s was expanding down Holloway Street. The major landholders who spearheaded the development of the district were members of some of Durham's pioneering families. Many of the city's leading industrialists, financiers, merchants and professionals built handsome Queen Anne and classically derived period revival style houses throughout the district from the 1880s through the 1920s. Since the destruction of the earliest portions of the neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s, the Holloway Street Historic District stands as one of Durham's most significant concentrations of architecturally and historically distinctive houses of their day.

The Holloway Street Historic District stands as a vestige of Durham's most fashionable late nineteenth century neighborhood, originally known as the Dillard Street neighborhood. Focused initially along E. Main, Liberty, Dillard and Queen streets at the east end of the downtown area, the neighborhood has been recalled consistently through the decades as the greatest concentration of Durham's finest and most architecturally distinct homes of their day. It was Durham's most striking early residential manifestation of the tobacco boom that began after the Civil War and steadily escalated. By the early 1870s, the tobacconists and the other businessmen and professionals benefitting from the rapid expansion of the city's industrial base were exhibiting their recently acquired wealth by constructing new houses, often substantial and elaborately decorated, at the edge of the business district, convenient to their places of employment. Dillard Street, also known as "Mansion Row," was the heart of the neighborhood, distinguished in the 1870s by such opulent dwellings as the Second Empire house Capt. E.J. Parrish built for himself and Julian S. Carr's Waverly Honor. Through the 1880s and 1890s, stylish houses, frequently replacing humbler or outmoded dwellings, were added to the earliest part of the neighborhood, which was beginning to expand along Holloway Street, also developed by pioneering Durham families.

"Gray's New Map of Durham" reveals that by 1881 houses occupied most of the lots on Dillard Street and the 300 and 400 blocks of E. Main and Liberty streets, as well as those on Roxboro and Queen streets (then named Second and Third streets, respectively) south of Liberty Street.[1] At that time, the stretch of Holloway Street included in the Holloway Street Historic District began at the east corporate line, at the north end of Dillard Street. Originally named the New Wake County Road, in the 1890s it was known as O'Briant Road and "the brickyard road" in reference to Clavin O'Briant who operated a brickyard on his vast tract of land east of the Norfolk and Western Railroad tracks.[2] Some time in the 1890s, Holloway Street in the heart of the downtown area was extended east to connect with O'Briant Road and the entire street was officially named Holloway Street.[3]

Gray's map shows that William Mangum owned a large tract north of Liberty Street beginning at the east end of the original block of Holloway Street and extending east along the north side of O'Briant Road for a short distance. The May family's farmland north and east of Mangum's land reached from the east side of Cleveland Street to the north side of O'Briant Road, almost of the railroad tracks. In 1886, the May family divided this huge tract into four lots, two of which encompassed most of the Holloway Street District north of Holloway Street.[4] Except for lots along Dillard Street, all of the land in the Holloway Street District south of Holloway Street was owned by James A. Ferrell and his sister, Lucy.[5]

As the tobacco industry prospered and Durham's population grew and diversified, the demand for housing increased. In response, the owners of undeveloped property at the edges of the established residential neighborhoods began subdividing their land into building lots. Naturally, the more elevated and level terrain traversed by the long-established roadways, including Holloway Street, was the most appealing to individuals seeking lots on which to built their own houses or stylish houses for speculative resale.

In the Holloway Street District, quite a few lots were bought and sold and several developed during the 1880s. The Bird's-Eye View shows only two houses on the north side of Holloway Street. One is a small one-story house later replaced by the John Holloway House at 517. A 1903 plat reveals that the other house, the Suitt-Whitley House at 525 Holloway Street, was built at the south edge of Lot No. 3 of the May land allotted to Martha May in 1886.[6] The Bird's-Eye View also shows the south side of the street, where James A. Ferrell and his sister had begun selling lots in the 1880s. A.K. Umstead purchased a parcel at the west end of the district from them in 1885.[7] In 1888, the Ferrells sold the adjoining tract, today 514 and 516 Holloway Street, to Frank Puryear.[8] During the remaining years of the century, they sold a few other parcels in the district and retained the rest for their own and their family's use.[9] A.K. Umstead's house (at 504 Holloway, destroyed) and the house built by Frank Puryear, now known as the Noell House at 514, are included in the 1891 rendering. The two-story, one-room-deep house east of the Noell House must be the old Ferrell homeplace referenced in several 1890s deeds for adjoining property, which probably was built by Simon Ferrell upon buying the property in 1869.[10] Around the corner, Dillard Street is shown lined with houses, almost all of them recorded ten years earlier on Gray's Map.

The individuals building houses for themselves in the district during the 1880s and 1890s were among the industrialists, merchants, and professionals whose successes produced Durham's booming real estate market. Frank Puryear remains an elusive figure, but A.K. Umstead was a well-known, prosperous tobacconist; his thriving warehouse business was located nearby at the corner of Holloway and Roxboro Streets.[11]

The residential real estate market remained strong at the north and northeast edges of downtown Durham throughout the late 1890s to around 1910, the period in which the majority of the houses in the district were constructed. In fact, several of those, who built or purchased houses for themselves here were active real estate investors. A farmer by vocation, James A. Ferrell extended his role in the development of the Holloway Street Historic District beyond the subdivision and sale of his land for the construction of houses. Ferrell reportedly built the Ferrell-Pollard House at 606 Holloway in the 1890s for an adopted son named Jimmy Hopkins, to whom the Ferrells sold the property in 1894.[12] Also, in the 1890s, James A. Ferrell built the Ferrell-Moore House at 602 Holloway Street for himself and his wife and daughter. After his daughter, Lottie, married Marvin B. Moore in 1903, Ferrell moved the old family homeplace to 610 Holloway (where he is believed to have sold it) in order to build the Moore-Umstead House for them at 520 Holloway, the original homeplace site.[13] The vernacular Italianate house that was moved is believed to have been the oldest structure in the district; deteriorated but intact, it was destroyed by an arsonist in February 1984 as this nomination was being prepared.

Other pioneering Durham families rivalled the Ferrells in their development activities in the district. William Mangum had Creighton Hall at 513 Holloway Street built for his daughter and son-in-law, Lizzie and James N. Umstead, in the late 1890s and deeded it to them in 1902.[14] The house lot was at the southeast edge of Mangum's huge tract; most of the tract remained undeveloped until after Mangum's death in 1906 when it was platted into 81 lots and apportioned among his six heirs.[15] Over the next few years, Lizzie Umstead sold her thirteen lots just north of the district individually for private development. Later her son, James N. Umstead, Jr., pursued real estate investment as a career.[16] Adjoining the Creighton Hall property, Robert M. Jones, partner in the Markham-Jones Feed and Grocery, bought a parcel of building lots on the north side of Holloway that had been part of the Martha May tract.[17] In addition to building his own house on the parcel, at 521 Holloway Street, in the early 1900s he built the neighboring houses at 517, 523, and 527, and probably also built 519 and 525.[18]

Altogether, the early occupants of the district represented a wide variety of occupations and interests, of which real estate was just one.[19] The four Pollard brothers who ran Pollard Brothers Hardware, Waverly Ice Cream Company, and Pollard & Pollard Stables lived in the 500 and 600 blocks; grocer James H. Burns lived at 702; M. Donald Bright, partner in the Pritchard and Bright downtown clothing store, resided at 527; and Edward C. Perry, owner of Langley & Perry, Pianos and Organs, made 609 his home. On Dillard Street, C.C. Thomas, founder of the Thomas and Howard Company, wholesale grocery business, replaced an early house with an imposing Colonial Revival style house in 1909. Among the financiers residing on Holloway were John R. Holloway, secretary and treasurer of the North Carolina Joint Stock Land Bank, at 517; Alonzo P. Carlton, president of the Durham Insurance Services Company, at 519; and Fidelity Bank cashier, L.D. Kirkland, who built the house at 516 Holloway Street.

A few early occupants of the district were industry executives and professionals and one was an academician. One of Durham's most illustrious citizens, Edward C. Hackney, a mayor, county attorney, and newspaper editor, bought the White-Hackney-Markham House on Dillard Street shortly after it was built at the turn of the century; later, his daughter and her husband, Charles B. Markham, professor of mathematics and treasurer of Duke University, lived here.[20] Henry Wilkerson and Paul E. Crews, two executives with the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company, built their houses next door to each other on Holloway shortly after their employer opened its new textile factory a few blocks away in 1902.[21] Paul Noell, general manager of the American Tobacco Company leaf department, lived at 514 Holloway Street for more than fifty years. The house next door was owned and occupied by attorney R. Percy Reade from 1909 until his death in 1960.[22] It is interesting to note that Reade and Noell, as well as Marvin B. Moore, who married James A. Ferrell's daughter, all moved to Durham from productive tobacco farms at Mt. Tirzah in neighboring Person County. Furthermore, they or their spouses (Noell and Reade were brothers-in-law) were descendants of Col. Stephen Moore, Revolutionary War soldier and owner of West Point, New York, which he sold to the federal government in 1790 after his move to Person County.[23]

By around 1920, the district was fully developed. Prosperous Durhamites desiring to construct their own houses had to look for building lots elsewhere, usually in the new streetcar and automobile suburbs. By the early 1910s, the streetcar suburb of Morehead Hill [see Morehead Hill Historic District, characterized by new architect-designed houses, had become Durham's most prestigious neighborhood, in turn supplanted in the 1920s by Forest Hills and Hope Valley. Nevertheless, the Holloway Street Historic District retained much of its cachet for many years. Although some of the early residents chose to move to the more modern and stylish suburbs removed from the increasingly congested downtown area, many — such as the Noells, Reades, Wilkersons and Joneses — remained lifetime residents.

After World War II, the district began to show signs of decline. Some of the large houses were divided into apartments by resident owners who found it difficult to maintain them as single-family dwellings; others were converted to investment property as part of estate settlements. The expanding downtown began to erode the older edges of the neighborhood, and, in the 1960s, Urban Renewal wiped out almost all of the original part of the neighborhood dating from the 1870s. As nearby houses fell under the wrecking ball, the Markhams successfully fought condemnation of their property at 204 and 206 Dillard Street. Although the portion of Holloway Street included in the district was spared, many of the houses continued to deteriorate, particularly the abandoned buildings targeted by vandals. Some of the most attractive houses, however, have remained continually owner occupied and well maintained. Recent investments, prompted in part by the survival of much of the Holloway Street Historic District's fabric and an increasing interest in Durham's older buildings in general, may signal the stabilization and eventual resurgence of the district and the remainder of their neighborhoods.

Holloway Street Historic District Boundary Increase — 2008 Description

The Holloway Street Historic District and the Boundary Increase area are located in Durham, North Carolina, a city of approximately 205,000 residents roughly in the center of Durham County. The expansion area, a residential district, lies within an L formed by the Cleveland Street Historic District to the northwest and the Downtown Durham Historic District to the southwest, and adjoins the existing Holloway Street Historic District to the south. Land to the east and north of the expansion area are industrial and residential in use, respectively.

The expansion area encompasses fifteen city blocks or portions thereof and includes the lands platted for Martha May (1903) and W. Mangum Pratt (1906). The streets of the boundary increase are arranged in a grid pattern, with N. Queen Street, Oakwood Avenue, Gurley Street, and N. Elizabeth Street as the north-south streets (listed from west to east) and Carlton Avenue, Ottawa Avenue, Elliott Street, Primitive Street, and Mallard Avenue running east-west (listed from south to north).

The expansion area, like the Holloway Street Historic District, is predominantly residential. The only commercial structure in the expansion area is a small frame store on the corner of Ottawa Avenue and Gurley Street. The district contains ninety-two principal buildings and two outbuildings constructed between c.1900 and c.1945 that contribute to the significance of the district. Seventeen houses and ten outbuildings in the expansion area do not contribute to the district's significance as they were either not present during the period of significance or have been so altered that they no longer possess historic integrity. There are nine vacant lots throughout the district. Eighty-four percent of the total principal resources contribute to the historic and architectural significance of the district. The Holloway Street Historic District expansion area does not contain any resources previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as Durham Local Landmarks.

Holloway Street Historic District boundaries were determined according to the density of contributing structures. The south end of the expansion area follows the rear lot lines of the houses on the south side of Carlton Avenue, adjoining the north side of the existing Holloway Street Historic District. The east boundary of the district extends along N. Elizabeth Street, including three houses on the east side of the street. Other parcels on the east side of N. Elizabeth Street are industrial in use. The north boundary follows the rear lot lines of the houses on the north side of the 600 block of Primitive Street, then jogs to the north to continue along the rear lot lines of the north side of the 500 block of Mallard Avenue. The residential area directly to the north has been altered significantly and does not retain the density of contributing historic structures found in the district expansion area. Additionally, vacant lots in the 600 block of Gurley Street and the east end of the 500 block of Mallard Avenue create a natural boundary between the district and the remaining neighborhood. The district is bounded to the west by the rear lot lines of the houses on N. Queen Street. This boundary includes two houses each on the east end of the 300 blocks of Mallard Avenue and Elliott Street. A group of vacant lots along North Roxboro Street and the west ends of Mallard Avenue and Elliott Street define the western district boundary.

The topography of the Holloway Street Historic District and the expansion area are typical of the rolling hills throughout Piedmont North Carolina. The high and low areas dictated the pattern of settlement with Holloway Street, on higher ground, developed first. From there, settlement spread north along Oakwood Avenue and N. Elizabeth Street and along Carlton and Ottawa Avenues and Primitive Street parallel to Holloway Street. A small stream winds its way though the expansion area across the undeveloped lots on the north side of the 500 block of Primitive Street and along the west side of the lots on N. Queen Street. Houses in these low-lying areas along Oakwood Avenue and N. Queen Street are smaller and were constructed toward the end of the period of significance.

Man-made elements in the expansion area include the grid pattern of the streets, sidewalks, and the extant houses and outbuildings. Additionally, several lots in the 300 and 400 blocks of Oakwood Avenue have stone or brick retaining walls along the sidewalk with matching stairs leading up to the houses themselves, located above street level.

Lot sizes vary in the expansion area, though for the most part the depth of the lots coincides with half the depth of a block. Houses are generally set close to the street and centered within the lot's width. Some properties have small sheds or garages behind the house, though driveways are not prevalent in the expansion area. Houses along Oakwood Avenue and N. Elizabeth Street are larger and tend to be on more sizeable lots than those on Primitive Street, Mallard Avenue, and N. Queen Street, which are generally placed closer together.

Residences within the expansion area vary in size and architectural style, generally based on their period of construction. The earliest houses in the Holloway Street Historic District are one-and two-story frame houses near the intersection of N. Elizabeth Street and Carlton Avenue (309 and 311 N. Elizabeth Street and 605 Carlton Avenue). Constructed early in the twentieth century, they reflect the popularity of the Queen Anne style with turned porch posts and imbricated shingles in the gables. Also constructed early in the century, but smaller in size and with fewer Queen Anne details are the one-story, triple-A-roofed houses, located primarily along the east end of Carlton Avenue and Primitive Street (603, 604, and 605 Carlton Avenue and 602, 603, 604, 606, and 607 Primitive Street). Simplified Queen Anne cottages continued to be constructed into the 1910s and include a group of one-story homes on N. Queen Street (612, 614, 616, 705, and 706 N. Queen Street). Constructed before 1919, each has a hipped roof with front dormer, engaged front porch, and offset front door. The 1910s also saw the introduction of Colonial Revival style homes in the expansion area. These two-story homes, most with symmetrical facades include duplexes (509 and 511 Carlton Avenue) as well as single-family residences with asymmetrical facades (407, 501, and 503 Oakwood Avenue). The Craftsman style gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s with examples concentrated in the west end of the expansion area (405 Oakwood Avenue and 601 and 603 N. Queen Street). In addition to the more decorative Craftsman-style houses are a series of simple, front-gable bungalows with engaged porches (505 Carlton Avenue and 407 N. Queen Street). By the 1930s and 1940s, small residences and multi-family housing with elements of the Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and Minimal Traditional styles were being constructed in the expansion area (512 and 602 Carlton Avenue and 401 and 403 N. Queen Street).

From 1945, the end of the period of significance, to the present, little construction has taken place in the district. Instead, the demolition of historic structures since 1980 has left scattered vacant lots throughout the district and created a boundary for the district in several areas. Where new construction has taken place, few single-family homes have been erected. Instead, a series of one-story, front-gable multiplexes, generally of frame or masonry construction, have been built where historic houses have been removed. Most of this infill has occurred since the 1960s.

Boundary Increase Significance

The Holloway Street Historic District Boundary Increase is an approximately fifteen-block area extending from the original Holloway Street Historic District [NR 1985] north to Mallard Avenue. It expands the boundaries of the Holloway Street Historic District to include what is now known as the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. The original district contained the core of Holloway Street from North Dillard Street east to the intersection of Railroad Street, which developed from c.1880 to c.1910. The boundary increase area to the north was platted around the turn of the century and the ninety-two primary contributing buildings consist entirely of houses (and one commercial structure) constructed during the period of significance from c.1900 to c.1945, concurrent with the later development of the existing Holloway Street Historic District. The expansion area is an architecturally important early twentieth century city-center neighborhood that developed as a direct result of burgeoning Durham commerce and industry driven by the nearby tobacco and textile mills. The district contains prominent single-family housing, more modest middle-income housing, and multi-unit dwellings constructed to house the growing middle- and working-class in Durham. This combination of housing types illustrates the phased development of the area and its proximity to both professional and manufacturing jobs in the downtown and nearby tobacco factories and compares favorably in terms of its integrity and resources to similar neighborhoods in central Durham.

The Holloway Street Historic District Boundary Increase is significant as a largely intact early twentieth century neighborhood with architectural resources ranging in style from Queen Anne and Colonial Revival to Craftsman and Minimal Traditional.

Historical Background

The Holloway Street Historic District expansion area developed as a response to Durham's burgeoning population at the turn of the century. The Cleveland Street and Holloway Street Historic Districts were constructed in the 1880s and 1890s to house some of the town's most successful industrialists, financiers, merchants, and professionals. In 1901, the town boundaries were expanded to the east to include the existing historic districts and the boundary increase area. The newly incorporated land was developed with smaller, privately-owned housing and investment properties to house the city's growing middle class.[24]

The expansion area includes the Martha May Land, divided and platted in 1903, and the W. Mangum Pratt Land, platted in 1906.[25] Martha May, widow of William F. May, lived on Cleveland Street as early as 1902. She owned a parcel of land roughly bounded by Holloway, N. Elizabeth, Dowd, and Gurley streets at the east end of the expansion area, which was divided into eighty-two individual parcels. Only one house (located on Holloway Street) is shown on her 1903 plat map indicating that the interior of the neighborhood was undeveloped at that time. The W. Mangum Pratt Lands are bounded roughly by Carlton Avenue (formerly Apple) and Gurley, Canal, and N. Roxboro streets and comprise the west side of the expansion area. This land was divided into eighty-two parcels as well. However, the plat map shows eight areas that are defined by a dashed "X" across the plot. Based on the age of the existing houses on these parcels, the Xs likely indicate plots that were already sold or with existing construction. These developed parcels lay along N. Roxboro and Holloway streets and Oakwood Avenue, in the southwest portion of the expansion area, closest to Holloway and Main streets.

The influx in tobacco workers as well as middle-class merchants and businessmen caused a massive population increase throughout the city from 1900 to 1920. A small town of only 7,000 people within about a three square mile area in 1900, Durham tripled its population by 1920 and greatly expanded its city limits.[26] The proximity of the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood to both the tobacco factories and warehouses and downtown made it an ideal location for residents of the middle- and upper-class alike. The proximity of the neighborhood to the railroad and industrial areas played a large part in its early growth. The American Tobacco Complex immediately south of town and the Golden Belt Manufacturing Plant southeast of the Holloway Street Historic District were instrumental in the development of the district and other residential neighborhoods throughout east Durham. Equally important, however, was the railroad, which ran parallel to, and one block east of, North Elizabeth Street.

The Holloway Street Historic District is one of only a few remaining Durham neighborhoods that was constructed to house a mix of workers, laborers, middle-class merchants and businessmen. Some of Durham's earliest residents were Jews, brought to the area by J.B. Duke to roll cigarettes. When they were replaced by cigarette rolling machines in the mid-1880s, many left the area. However, some chose to remain in Durham to pursue commercial ventures and by the turn of the century, the Jewish population had migrated north from land on South Mangum Street, near the tobacco factories, to the interior of the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood, closer to downtown.[27] The Greek population also thrived in the expansion area in the early twentieth century. Drawn to Durham by the possibility of work in the tobacco factories, Greeks settled in the northern part of the area along Mallard Avenue, and beyond. As tobacco production became more automated the Greeks, like the Jews before them, moved toward more commercial interests, operating cafes, confectioneries, fruit stands, and shoe shine parlors in the nearby downtown.[28]

Occupations listed for early residents of the district include both laborer and managerial positions in tobacco and rail industries, including tobacco workers, mill hands, flagmen, and clerks on one end of the spectrum, and managers, bookkeepers, foremen, and superintendents at the other end. The laborers tended to live in smaller houses like the triple-A houses on N. Elizabeth and Primitive streets, while more prominent figures in the railroad industry owned larger houses along Oakwood and Carlton avenues. However, it is important to note that the houses of laborers and managers were intermixed throughout the neighborhood.

Some of the expansion area's more prominent residents were public servants for the city departments in downtown Durham. The large, two-story house at 309 Mallard Avenue was built by Eugene G. Belvin. A jailor and deputy sheriff when the house was constructed in 1912, Belvin later became the sheriff of Durham County and lived in the house through the 1940s. Other public servants include W.L. Roach, a city engineer who lived at 505 Carlton Avenue, and W.L. Seabock, a police detective and resident of 503 Mallard Avenue.

Commercial and retail ventures in downtown Durham attracted other residents to the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. Ralph P. Rogers, vice-president of the Carrington-Rogers Drug Company, built a fine Craftsman-style house at 405 Oakwood Avenue. Morris Haskell, a partner in the Haskell & Morris clothing business, lived in a pyramidal cottage at 307 Mallard Avenue. In addition to the white-collar business owners in the district there were many blue-collar workers in commercial trades, from groceries and confectioneries to department stores and tea rooms. Even early street names illustrated the importance of commercial trades in the neighborhood; Markham Street (later Mallard Avenue) was named for an early resident and merchant.[29]

While prominent residents built their homes along the ridges of Holloway, Dillard, and Cleveland streets, and public servants and businessmen settled along Mallard and Oakwood avenues, the lower-lying areas, in what is now the interior of the neighborhood, were settled in part by members of the service industry and building trades. These residents, because of their transience and middle-to-low-income range, often rented smaller homes along Primitive and Queen streets and Carlton Avenue. For the laundresses, chauffeurs, and waiters, their proximity to wealthier residents along Holloway, Dillard, and Cleveland streets was more important than their nearness to downtown or the industrial complexes. For the carpenters, paper-hangers, electricians, and bricklayers, the continued growth and development of Durham neighborhoods in the early twentieth century provided a seemingly unending string of work.

The Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood began to decline as early as the 1940s. The popularity of the automobile and new residential developments outside of town made it less fashionable to live close to the businesses where one worked. Additionally, the conclusion of World War II gave the economy a much-needed boost that enlarged the central business district in Durham at the expense of the adjacent neighborhoods. Residential neighborhoods throughout Durham also saw decline as long-time residents either died or moved to the outskirts of town, and as boarding houses and apartments became more popular. Durham residents, on average, earned less than one-thousand dollars a year in 1945, and three-fourths of them did not own their own homes.[30] The Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood saw a final period of historic development in the early 1940s comprised mostly of duplexes like those in the 400 block of N. Queen Street and the 600 block of Oakwood Avenue.

Urban renewal in the 1960s delivered a fatal blow to the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. In an effort to promote progress, the city demolished many of the houses that linked the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood to downtown. What resulted is a ring of vacant lots and widened, highly traversed streets (Mangum and Roxboro) that have firmly divided the residential neighborhood from the downtown businesses its residents served. Many of the large homes that remained were divided into apartments or operated as boarding houses in the second half of the twentieth century. Smaller homes and multi-unit residences in the district remained occupied, but their physical condition has suffered greatly.

This decline and threat of demolition continued into the 1980s and is still a concern today. Several large, simplified Queen Anne houses along Oakwood Avenue, including adjacent properties 310, 312, and 402 Oakwood Avenue, have been destroyed since the architectural survey in the early 1980s. Other vacant sites and incompatible infill throughout the district expansion have begun to impact the overall integrity of the neighborhood. The threat of demolition continues today with 501 Oakwood Avenue threatened with demolition by the City of Durham in the summer of 2007.

Architectural Context

The earliest houses in the Holloway Street Historic District expansion area are a collection of frame houses near the intersection of North Elizabeth Street and Carlton Avenue. Constructed early in the twentieth century, they reflect the popularity of the Queen Anne style. The c.1907 Barker House at 309 N. Elizabeth Street has sawtooth shingles in the two front gables, a wraparound porch with turned posts, and a metal-shingled roof. Its neighbor to the north, the c.1907 Lynn House (311 N. Elizabeth Street), is a two-story version of the classic Queen Anne style house with sawtooth shingles in the gable and pedimented door and window surrounds. Just around the corner at 610 Carlton Avenue, sits the Petty House. Built around 1907, the house has imbricated shingles in the two front gables and a porch that wraps around the left side of the house.

One of the most popular house types in the Holloway Street Historic District is the one-story, triple-A-roofed house, located predominantly along the east end of Carlton Avenue and Primitive Streets. The best remaining examples of the form are the c.1907 Conklin-Wheeler House at 605 Carlton Avenue and the c.1907 William Bowles House at 603 Primitive Street. Both houses retain imbricated shingles in all three gables, boxed eaves, decorative gable vents, and original wood weatherboards. The William Bowles House also maintains decorative door and window surrounds and turned porch posts.

The Neoclassical style was not widely used in the district expansion area, but the c.1909 William Proctor House at 311 Oakwood Avenue is an excellent example of the style. The house is roughly symmetrical and the two-story front porch is supported by large fluted Corinthian columns and its pedimented porch roof is repeated in the roofline of the projecting two-story, side bays.

A group of one-story, simple hip-roofed cottages was constructed in the district before 1919, most on N. Queen Street. All have a hipped roof with front dormer, engaged front porch, and offset front door. The G.W. Gray House II and Lora H. Barbee House, at 706 and 707 N. Queen Street respectively, stand as the most unaltered of the cottages with original wood weatherboards and some original windows. The houses at 612, 614, and 616 N. Queen Street are nearly identical and closely spaced indicating they may have been constructed by a single builder. Another example of the style, 501 N. Queen Street, the c.1924 Francis M. Hammet House, presents an interesting nine-eighteen-nine window configuration in the front dormer window.

A collection of large, Colonial Revival style houses were constructed in the district in the late 1910s. These include two nearly identical houses at 509 and 511 Carlton Avenue. Both are c.1919 two-story, hip-roofed structures with gables or dormers on each elevation and a one-story, hip-roofed front porch. Both houses appear to retain their original front door arrangement, indicating that they were constructed as duplexes. The one-story Martha Bowles House at 507 Mallard Avenue dates to c.1924 and it has a traditional pyramidal roof form. The engaged front porch is clearly influenced by the popularity of classical design in its fluted piers and pilasters with simple square caps.

The Craftsman style gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s as houses in the style were constructed throughout the neighborhood. Two of the best examples, built around 1929, are the Isaac Ornoff and Vance O. Isenhour houses at 405 and 407 Ottawa Avenue respectively; both are small in scale with off-center front-gable porches, knee brackets, multi-pane-over-one windows, and battered wood porch posts on brick piers. Similar in scale and detail, but constructed around 1934, are the Clement V. Schrader House and the Arnold R. Thompson House at 601 and 603 N. Queen Street. In addition to the more decorative Craftsman style houses are a series of simple, front-gable Bungalows with engaged porches. These include the 1920 Max S. Rubin House (504 N. Queen Street), the c.1929 W.L. Roach House (505 Carlton Avenue), the c.1929 Lena H. Stradley House (404 Ottawa Street), and the c.1915 Edward Herman House (507 Ottawa Street). A simple gable-front house form inspired by the bungalow is also present in the boundary expansion area. The 1936 Roy T. Spain House at 512 Carlton Avenue and the 1936 Birt H. Pridgen House at 602 Carlton Avenue are examples of homes constructed in a straight-forward front-gabled form, with partially engaged front porches supported by posts on piers, but with virtually no additional decoration. The houses are nearly identical and likely constructed as rental housing.

By the 1930s and 1940s, the Craftsman style was still being used in rental and multi-family housing. Neighboring c.1937 duplexes at 401 and 403 N. Queen Street are simple, side-gable houses in form with Craftsman-style details in the projecting gable-roofed porches. These details include knee brackets and post-on-pier porch supports.

The Depression-era cottages of the 1930s gave way to the even more pared-down Minimal Traditional style housing in the early- to mid-1940s. The ca.1934 Minimal Traditional house at 503 Gurley Street, the Hubert Denning House, is a Depression-era example of the very simple ideal small house designs first promoted after World War I and later instituted by the federal government through the Federal Housing Authority in 1936. These two-room deep houses had compact floor plans and simple elevations, and they were built in a variety of materials, including wood, brick, concrete block, shingle, stucco or stone. The homes lack the Craftsman details seen in buildings just several years earlier but retain similar forms and massing. Three c.1940 duplexes at 601-603, 607-609, and 611-613 Oakwood Avenue are nearly identical in form to the Craftsman-style duplexes on N. Queen Street, but have engaged porches and minimal architectural decoration. They are essentially two small, two-room deep, side-gable houses standing side-by-side, sharing an end wall.


  1. Jacob Chase, E.E., "Gray's New Map of Durham," drawn, engraved and published by W. Grady & Son, Philadelphia, 1881. A copy is in the North Carolina Room of the downtown branch of the Durham Public Library.
  2. Mention of the early street names are found in Durham County Register of Deeds (DCRD), Deed Book 4, page 555, and Deed Book 21, page 256; for information on O'Briant, see William K. Boyd, The Story of Durham (Durham, Duke University Press, 1925), pp.54-55, and telephone interview with Jessee K. Griffins of Durham, February 1981.
  3. The "Bird's-Eye View of The City of Durham, North Carolina" (Madison, Wisconsin: Rugby and Stoner, 1891) depicts Holloway St. running from Mangum St. to the railroad bridge and beyond. The first Sanborn Insurance Maps (see Sanborn Map Co., "Durham, North Carolina," 1882, 1888, 1893, February 1898, May 1898, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1937), however, to show the original block of Holloway St. extended to the old O'Briant Rd. are the May 1898 series.
  4. This tract probably is the Widow May farm mentioned by Boyd, p.25. for its division into four lots, ranging from 9.57 to 32.5 acres, see plat recorded in DCRD, Deed Book 6, page 374. Information on the Murdoch lots was obtained in an interview with Robert H. Murdoch, Jr., in Durham, February 1981. The grantee index in the DCRD, which begins in 1881, does not list any Murdochs as the grantees of this property.
  5. James and Lucy Ferrell inherited this land from Simeon Ferrell; it was part of the 159-4/5 acres that Simeon Ferrell purchased from Thaddeus Redmon in 1869. Orange County Register of Deeds, Deed Book O, pp.348-350.
  6. DCRD, Plat Book 5, page 87.
  7. DCRD, Deed Book 4, page 555.
  8. DCRD, Deed Book 8, page 308.
  9. For instance, see DCRD, Deed Book 15, page 214 and Deed Book 45, page 344.
  10. For example, see DCRD, Deed Book 8, page 308, and Deed Book 31, page 93.
  11. Ramsey's Durham Directory, For The Year 1892 (Durham: N.A. Ramsey, Publisher); and Sanborn Map Co., May 1898 series.
  12. Interview with George Moore, grandson of James A. Ferrell, in Durham, February 1981. Also, DCRD, Deed Book 14, page 257.
  13. Interview with George Moore; and DCRD, Deed Book 45, page 344.
  14. Interview with Holloway Street residents Doris Crowder and R.G. Thacker, Durham, February 1981. DCRD, Deed Book 26, page 109.
  15. DCRD, Deed Book 34, page 414; and Plat Book 5, page 3.
  16. W.C. Dula and A.C. Simpson, Durham and Her People (Durham: Seeman Printery, 1951), p.187.
  17. DCRD, Plat Book 5, page 87.
  18. Interview with Doris Crowder, niece of Robert M. Jones' second wife.
  19. Interview with Robert H. Murdoch, Jr. Information on all of the people listed in this paragraph was gathered from city directories.
  20. Interview with Charles B. Markham, Jr., Durham, February 1984. George Lougee, "Only Two Sentinels Left on Street of Aristocrats," Durham Morning Herald, 22 September 1975.
  21. Hill Directory Co.
  22. Ibid.; and telephone interviews with Penn Noell of Timberlake, NC, February 1984.
  23. Interviews with George Moore and Penn Noell; and Stephen E. Ambrose, Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), p.10.
  24. Dickinson, Pat (editor). An Inventory of the Cleveland Avenue-Holloway Street Neighborhood. Durham, North Carolina: Durham Technical Institute, 1981, pg.8.
  25. Durham County Plat Books, Register of Deeds Office, Durham County. Book 5, Page 3 and Book 5, Page 87.
  26. Leyburn, James G. The Way We Lived — Durham, 1900-1920. Elliston, Virginia: Northcross House, 1989, pg. ix.
  27. Roberts, Claudia P. and Diane E. Lea. The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory. Durham, North Carolina: City of Durham and Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 1982, pg.65.
  28. Roberts, 65.
  29. Dixon, pg. 178.
  30. Phillips, Coy T. Durham, A Geographic Survey. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1945, pg.100.


"Bird's-Eye View of the City of Durham, North Carolina." Madison, Wisconsin: Rugby and Stoner, 1891.

Anderson, Jean Bradley. Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1990.

Boyd, William K. The Story of Durham, City of the New South. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1925.

Bishir, Catherine W. North Carolina Architecture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Brown, Claudia Roberts. "Historic Resources of Durham (Partial Inventory: Historic Architectural Properties)." Multiple Property Documentation Form, 1982. North Carolina Division of Archives and History.

Brown, Claudia Roberts. "Holloway Street Historic District." National Register Nomination, 1984. North Carolina Division of Archives and History.

Dickinson, Pat (editor). An Inventory of the Cleveland Avenue-Holloway Street Neighborhood. Durham, North Carolina: Durham Technical Institute, 1981.

Dixon, Wyatt T. How Times Do Change. Durham: Central Carolina Publishing Company, 1987.

Durham County Deed Books, Register of Deeds Office, Durham County.

Durham County Plat Books, Register of Deeds Office, Durham County.

Hill's Durham City Directories. Durham, North Carolina. 1884-1965. Microfilm copies at the Durham Public Library.

Leyburn, James G. The Way We Lived — Durham, 1900-1920. Elliston, Virginia: Northcross House, 1989.

Massengill, Stephen E. Durham, North Carolina: A Postcard History. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia, 1997.

Mowry, Carrie. East Durham Pattern Book of Architectural Styles. Durham: Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 2003.

Phillips, Coy T. Durham, A Geographic Survey. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1945.

Roberts, Claudia P. and Diane E. Lea. The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory. Durham, North Carolina: City of Durham and Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 1982.

Sanborn Map Company. Durham, North Carolina, 1888, 1898, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1937.

‡ Claudia Roberts Brown, consultant, Holloway Street District, Durham, North Carolina, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

‡ Heather M. Wagner, design and preservation consultant, Trinity Design, Holloway Street Historic District Boundary Increase, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Carlton Avenue • Cleveland Street • Dillard Street • Elizabeth Street North • Elliott Street • Gurley Street • Holloway Street • Mallard Avenue • Oakwood Avenue • Ottawa Avenue • Primitive Street • Queen Street North • Route 70 • Route 98

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