Durham's Neighborhoods - Old West Durham
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Old West Durham is a hidden gem in the heart of North Carolina. This charming neighborhood comprises quiet, tree-lined streets and friendly residents who love to chat on their front porches. Rich in history, Old West Durham has experienced vast progress.
Before the city of Durham came into existence in the early 1850s, Old West Durham was already a bustling town. Originally called Pin Hook, it was a well-known stop for travelers looking for a good time. However, by the early 1890s, the Erwin Cotton Mills had transformed the area into a neat mill town.
The homes were built from lumber sourced from the town’s forest and sawmill—a testament to the community’s self-sufficiency. Many of these homes are still standing proudly today.
The mill’s co-owner, William Erwin, has been noted as a true community leader, providing the town with its first park long before Durham had any city parks. Erwin had also influenced residents to plant rose bushes in their yards, which made Old West Durham prettier.
Old West Durham has seen great transformation since the Ninth Street Merchant’s District emerged in 1910. The old, wood-designed buildings have been replaced by bricks on the eastern side of the street, giving the area a unique charm.
But what makes Old West Durham a nice place to live is its vibrant college community. Old West Durham is adjacent to the East and Main campuses of Duke University. Students are drawn to the Ninth Street Shopping District with its many bookstores, cozy bars and coffee shops, and casual restaurants and diners from around the world.