National Register Listings in
Durham County, North Carolina

American Tobacco Company Manufacturing Plant Bassett House Bennett Place State Historic Site Biddle, Mary Duke, Estate Blacknall, Richard D., House Bright Leaf Historic District Bull Durham Tobacco Factory Bullington Warehouse Burch Avenue Historic District Carr, Johm C. and Binford, House City Garage Yard and Fire Drill Tower Clark and Sorrell Garage Cleveland Street District College Heights Historic District Cranford-Wannamaker House Crowell House Dillard-Gamble Houses Downtown Durham Historic District Duke Homestead and Tobacco Factory Duke Memorial United Methodist Church Durham Cotton Mills Village Historic District Durham Hosiery Mill Durham Hosiery Mills Dye House Durham Hosiery Mills No. 2-Service Printing Company Building East Durham Historic District Emmanuel AME Church Ephphatha Church Erwin Cotton Mills Company Mill No. 1 Headquarters Building Fairntosh Plantation Forbus, Wiley and Elizabeth, House Forest Hills Historic District Foster and West Geer Streets Historic District Golden Belt Historic District Golden Belt Historic District (Boundary Increase) Greystone Hampton-Ellis Farm Hardscrabble Hill, John Sprunt, House Hillside Park High School Holloway Street District Holloway Street Historic District (Boundary Increase) Holloway, Kinchen, House Hope Valley Historic District Horton Grove Complex Lakewood Park Historic District Leigh Farm Liberty Warehouse Nos. 1 and 2 Little River High School Mangum, Bartlett, House Meadowmont Morehead Hill Historic District Morehead Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) North Carolina Central University North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Building North Durham County Prison Camp (Former) North Durham-Duke Park District O'Brien, William Thomas, House Pauli Murray Family Home Pearl Mill Village Historic District Pegram House Poland, George, House Powe House Russell School Scarborough House Scott and Roberts Dry Cleaning Plant, Office, and Store Smith Warehouse St. Joseph's African Methodist Episcopal Church Stagville Stokesdale Historic District Tilley, Marcus, House Trinity Historic District Trinity Historic District (Boundary Increase II) Trinity Historic District (Boundary Increase) Umstead, Adolphus W., House Umstead, D.C., Store and House Venable Tobacco Company Prizery and Receiving Room Venable Tobacco Company Warehouse Watts and Yuille Warehouses Watts Hospital Watts-Hillandale Historic District West Durham Historic District West Point on the Eno Wright's Automatic Machinery Company
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During the Civil War, North Carolina was the second to last state to secede from the Union, doing so on May 20, 1861, and sending more soldiers to fight for the Confederacy than any other state.
Durham County, located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history dating back to the earliest American settlements. The area was first inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Occaneechi and Eno, who thrived off the fertile land. Europeans began arriving in the late 17th century, with the region eventually falling under British control.

During the early 19th century, Durham County was primarily an agricultural community, with tobacco farming becoming a prominent industry. As the demand for tobacco grew, leading to significant economic growth, the town of Durham was established in 1853. The establishment of the North Carolina Railroad also played a crucial role in the county's development, further boosting trade and transportation.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were transformative for Durham County. The rise of the American tobacco industry saw the town of Durham become a major hub, earning it the nickname "Bull City." Companies like American Tobacco Company and Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company prospered, shaping the county's economy and contributing to the development of iconic structures such as the Lucky Strike cigarette factory and Durham's downtown skyline.

In the 20th century, Durham County has experienced periods of growth, challenges, and transformation. It played a significant role in the civil rights movement, with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People leading protests and advocating for racial equality. The county has also become a center for education, with Duke University and North Carolina Central University being established. Today, Durham is known for its thriving research, technology, and healthcare sectors, as well as its vibrant cultural scene and commitment to progressive initiatives.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Durham County, North Carolina.

  • 1838: Durham County is established on April 17, named after Dr. Bartlett Durham.
  • 1851: The community of Durhamville is established after a railway depot is built nearby.
  • 1853: Durhamville is renamed Durham Station.
  • 1865: The Civil War ends, and Durham Station begins to grow as a result of the tobacco industry.
  • 1873: Durham Station is officially incorporated as the town of Durham.
  • 1881: The Durham Tobacco Company is founded, marking the beginning of the tobacco boom in the area.
  • 1893: Durham becomes the county seat of Durham County.
  • 1903: The Washington Duke family founds the American Tobacco Company in Durham.
  • 1910: The Parrish Street area becomes a center of African American business and culture.
  • 1957: North Carolina Central University is established in Durham.
  • 1980s: Durham experiences economic decline due to the decline of the tobacco industry.
  • 1990s: Durham undergoes a revitalization effort, focusing on downtown redevelopment and the creation of Research Triangle Park.