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Durham, North Carolina

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View of Durham, North Carolina, from Durham Freeway, near Exit 12BView of Durham, North Carolina, from Durham Freeway, near Exit 12B
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authorshipIldar Sagdejev

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Durham is a city in Durham County, North Carolina. It is the fifth largest city in North Carolina, and the county seat of Durham County. The city limits has expanded over time to include parts of neighboring Wake County. Today it has a population of around 230,000 (2011 estimate).

Durham is home to Duke University and North Carolina Central University, within the Research Triangle area. The Durham metropolitan area has a population of over half a million people while the entire Raleigh-Durham-Cary area has some 1.7 million people.

Greystone Manor, DurhamGreystone Manor, Durham
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authorshipIldar Sagdejev

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Evidence of human settlement in the area goes back to before the 18th century, when it was inhabited by the Eno and Occaneechi tribes of Native Americans. English explorer John Lawson was the first to arrive in 1701 and document the site.

Until the arrival of the railroad, Durham was largely a rural farming community. The town was originally called Durham Station, after the railroad depot built there around 1849. It was named after country physician Bartlett S. Durham who lived and practiced in the area, and provided the land for building the railroad station. In April, 1865, during the tail end of the Civil War, Bennett Place near Durham Station was the site of the single largest surrender proceedings.

As the town outgrew its position as a railway stop, it became popularly known as Durham, and was incorporated on 10 April, 1869. For much of the 19th century, the area was surrounded by tobacco plantations, with tobacco manufacturing being the mainstay of the local economy.

Carolina Theatre, DurhamCarolina Theatre, Durham
photo source
authorshipIldar Sagdejev

photo licensing

With its substantial African American community, Durham was one of the cities involved in the Civil Rights struggle. There were numerous sit-ins held here.

The establishment of the Research Triangle Park helped to revitalize Durham's otherwise tobacco-based economy, leading to a construction boom of research facilities and related housing developments. It specializes in medical-related research. The last cigarette rolled out of a Durham manufacturing plant in 2000, and the city successfully reinvented itself, from a "City of Tobacco" to a "City of Medicine".

Visiting Durham, North Carolina

You should fly to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and take a taxi from there. The airport has connections to major cities in the United States, as well as international flights to London and Toronto, among others.

If you're coming by car, Durham is just outside Raleigh. Take Interstate 40 from Raleigh to Exit 279B at the Research Triangle Park and head north on Durham Freeway (State Route 147) that takes you into Durham. If you're coming from the north (ie Richmond, VA), take Interstate 85. From the west (ie Greensboro), take Interstate 40 heading east.

Places of Interest in Durham, North Carolina

  1. American Tobacco Trail
  2. Duke Forest
  3. Durham Performing Arts Center
  4. Eno River State Park
  5. Museum of Life and Science
  6. Ninth Street
  7. Sarah P. Duke Gardens

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Welcome to my website, Discover with Timothy Tye. I started it in 2003 to freely share information about places. Today it has close to thirty thousand pages. I have been writing this website full time since 1 November 2007, and continue to do so as a means to satisfy my curiosity about the world around me. I am happy if the information I have assembled is useful to you. Please follow me on Facebook!

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