Here on our blog, we occasionally feature “matchups” that showcase relationships between different items in our collection. Today’s matchup? An advertisement from The Carolina Times and some photographs from the Durham Urban Renewal Records of the Durham County Library.
The Durham Urban Renewal Records collection on DigitalNC, from the Durham County Library, contains thousands of photographs and appraisal records documenting efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to combat what was seen as “urban blight” in several downtown neighborhoods. Recently, while browsing The Carolina Times, a Durham newspaper, one of our staff members noticed an advertisement for Houses for Rent on page 3 of the November 16, 1940 issue. It turns out several of these properties are pictured among the Records collection.
While we think these photos were taken over 20 years after the advertisement, the property appraisals in the Records collection let us know that the houses were old enough to have been the ones advertised for rent in 1940. The appraisal for 1109 Fayetteville Street even has the note: “House well located to rent.” The advertisement gives us the opportunity to compare the rental prices in 1940 with those in 1962 when the appraisals took place. Here’s a comparison of the rental prices:
|Property||Weekly Rent, 1940||Weekly Rent, 1962|
|1109 Fayetteville Street||$1.50||$8.00|
|508 Ramsey Street||$3.50||$13.00|
|211 Umstead Street||$3.00 or $3.50||$9.50 to $12.50|
|711 Willard Street||$3.00||$5.00 to $9.00|
After the federal Housing Act of 1954, the North Carolina Division of Community Planning set about examining and appraising many urban communities in North Carolina. Although this sort of scrutiny was common through the 70s, there are few areas that acted on perceived “urban blight” as drastically as Durham did. The 1940 advertisement is interesting for what small bit it tells us about the community but also bittersweet as these houses were all demolished when local government chose to repurpose the land occupied by the African American community known as Hayti. You can read more about Hayti on LearnNC. In addition, the Endangered Durham website has some supplemental information on 1109 Fayetteville Street, as well as additional photos of the area in more recent times.