Neighborhoods Hike: West Durham, East Campus & Beyond

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* Why do neighborhoods change so quickly in Durham?
* Who is the only person to have a building named after them at both Duke and UNC?
* Why did the computers at Science & Math crash every time Erwin Mills had a shift change?
* Who wrote the song, Tobacco Road, and was “born on a kitchen table” behind Monuts?
* Why is Ninth Street called Ninth Street?
* Where was the West Durham airport?
* Where did Madonna take early dance lessons?
* Who wrote “The Gambler” for Kenny Rogers and lived in a mill house on Ninth Street?
* Where does Coach K get his hair cut?
* Where did Elvis sleep incognito, in a caboose?
* Where was Kevin Costner spotted in his boxer shorts, near East Campus?

Come along and find out…
2.5-mile loop starts at Ninth & Green, across from White Star.

We’ll start with the South Ellerbe Creek Nature Area and continue through an old mill village. We’ll see an old liquor house, Buck Dean’s bungalow, a Sears House and a quiet urban garden in Old West Durham. We’ll then continue into the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood and walk past Oval Park and the old Watts Hospital.

We’ll go down a hidden alley and see where a songwriter for Norah Jones, Lou Rawls and Jefferson Airplane was born. We’ll head over to Walltown and hear about Duke’s original plans to build here. Then we’ll pass near Richard Nixon’s house in Trinity Heights and talk about the homes of Duke’s famous faculty and coaches on Buchanan — including Cap Card, the father of Duke basketball and Wallace Wade, whose bowl games paid for Cameron Indoor Stadium.

You’ll hear about Trinity Park and where Mr. Costner was filmed in his boxers in Bull Durham. Then we’ll head onto East Campus, over to Ninth Street, past Erwin Cotton Mills and back to where we started.

You’ll see a little nature and learn some Durham history on the route. We’ll also talk about the ridge, between the Neuse and Cape Fear basins, that forms the backbone of our town. We might even get into current events in the Bull City and talk about all this development around Ninth Street.

Local history lover John Schelp will narrate along the way. No need to register. Parking is available on streets near Ninth & Green. (Bike racks are also nearby.)

Hike takes about 2.5 hours (but folks can peel off anytime.) Optional post-tour gathering at Dain’s Place at 754 Ninth Street — for a cold drink and further conversation.

Co-sponsored by Museum of Durham History, Sierra Club and the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association. Rain or shine.

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