History Groves - William Kenneth Boyd

William Kenneth Boyd (1879-1938) came to Durham in 1895 to enter Trinity College (now Duke University), where he received his A.B. and M.A. degrees. After earning his Ph.D. at Columbia University, he returned to Durham in 1906 as a professor of history and taught at Trinity College/Duke University until his death at age 59. Boyd was a curious and incessant learner, collecting and endlessly poring over books, newspapers, pamphlets, and manuscripts. His approach to history was multidisciplinary, exploring not only its political but also its economic, social, religious, and educational aspects. He advocated studying the local and regional in order to more thoroughly understand the national. As a teacher, he valued the input of his students and had a stimulating effect on them. Boyd was one of Durham’s first and most influential historians, publishing the valuable The Story of Durham: City of the New South, in 1925.

Boyd and his wife Pat LeGrand were some of the first residents of the neighborhood now known as Trinity Park, where they built a home in 1910. The neighborhood began to form when Trinity College opened in Durham in 1892, and building expanded in 1901 when Brodie L. Duke, who owned much of the land which makes up the neighborhood, divided his property into lots for sale. The earliest houses in the neighborhood, which date from 1891, previously sat on the Trinity College campus and were moved into the neighborhood in 1916. The neighborhood became known as Trinity Park in 1974, when the Trinity Park Neighborhood Association took shape. The name was resurrected from its original usage denoting the grounds of Trinity College, now Duke’s East Campus.

William Kenneth Boyd’s descendants have continued to reside within the Trinity Park neighborhood. His daughter lived for a time in the large house that once stood on this very site, and his granddaughter and great-granddaughter have also chosen to make Trinity Park home.

William Kenneth Boyd plaque