Durham

Today, Durham is best known as the home to Duke University.

Durham, North Carolina, or the City of Durham, is located roughly in the middle of the state. Durham is also known as “Bull City.” Durham is the county seat of Durham County. Durham is located for the most part in Durham County with small portions extending into Wake County and Orange County. Durham County was founded on April 10, 1869 and named for Bartlett S. Durham (November 3, 1824 – February 2, 1859). 

Bartlett S. Durham was a medical doctor who grew up in Orange County. In 1847 or 1848, Dr. Durham purchase around 100 acres of land between two small settlements Prattsburg (Prattsburgh) and Pinhook in what was then still Orange County. It is speculated that Dr. Durham purchased the land as a pure investment because of the railroad being built through the area. This land speculation is supported by the fact of Dr. Durham donating four acres of this land to the railway for a depot in 1849. The railroad depot was named Durham’s Station.      

With the development of homes and businesses around the rail line, a new depot was constructed a mile west of Prattsburg and eventually this became known as “Durhamville.” Dr. Durham became the first railroad agent for Durhamville. His business ventures besides land speculation included an interest in a general store near the depot along with a liquor license. In the 1850s, Dr. Durham was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly to represent Orange County. Ten years after Dr. Durham’s death the North Carolina General Assembly incorporated Durham on the site of the railroad depot named in his honor. In 1881, the North Carolina General Assembly formed what is now Durham County by taking the eastern part of Orange County and the western part of Wake County. Durham County was incorporated on April 17, 1881. 

Durham County’s population in the 1890 US Census was 18,041. The City of Durham’s population in the 1800 US Census was 2,041. The population in Durham County’s 2010 Census was 267,587. Durham County’s estimated population in 2019 was 321,488. The 2010 US Census has the City of Durham’s population at 228,330. The City of Durham’s population was estimated in 2019 at 278,993. 

Men’s Health poll ranked Durham as 12th in the Happiest Cities in America ranking.

Durham’s economic history has been divided into three economic periods beginning in the 1850s when before this time, subsistence farming was a disproportionate part of the rural south’s economy. The 1850s to the 1970s is known as the Tobacco and Textiles Economic Period. The 1970s to 2000s is known as the IT and Computing Period. The 2000s to Present is known as the Life Sciences and Tech Period.

Beginning in the 1850s, tobacco farming, processing/manufacturing, selling, and the related transportation of this product dominated Durham’s economy for the next 130 years. In the 1880s and 1890s, the fragmented tobacco industry began to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions. Probably the most famous of these consolidations was the formation of the American Tobacco Company, sometimes referred to as the American Tobacco Trust, by James B. Duke in 1890. For decades to come the majority of US cigarettes and smoking tobacco was produced by the American Tobacco Company, a Durham headquartered company. 

For a number of reasons, primarily due to automation and mechanization, after World War II the employment dynamic in North Carolina was changing from agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing furniture. Modernization of almost all industries nationwide during this period was forcing politicians, businesses, and academia to reconsider the employment and training needs to move the country forward into the future. The GI Bill was offering many returning veterans the ability, for the first time, to attend college and other advanced learning institutions. Following the war, a fundamental change with regard to education and advanced training entered the American way of thinking of the future.  

In the 1950s, North Carolina institutes of higher learning were literally overflowing with students seeking advanced learning and employment opportunities to capitalize on their education. North Carolina businesses were continuing to modernize and were in search of employees who could aid in this process. Politicians were eager to keep these newly educated constituents and current businesses in the state and hoped to attract new businesses to the state seeking to hire an educated workforce.   

This atmosphere led to academics at North Carolina State and Duke University developing the concept of a “park” so that both universities could do research together, along with other nearby institutes of higher learning. There are nine other colleges and universities in the Durham area with an abundance of highly skilled workers who could help build on this concept. Thus, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) was established in 1959 to accomplish all these goals of education and innovation. The “Triangle” in Research Triangle Park comes from the three leading research higher educational institutes in the area, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

The 1970s and 1980s brought with it the decline of tobacco, textiles, and furniture manufacturing to the entire region. The Research Triangle Park began to hit its stride in the 1980s and helped lead Durham into the 1990s and beyond. The Research Triangle Park is the largest research park in the country and one of the largest in the world. RTP is home to more than 200 global companies including IBM, Cisco, BASF, Syngenta Biotechnology, and RTI International.

Durham is strategically located on the U.S Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 corridor. Charlotte (142 miles), Raleigh, NC (25 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (12 Miles) and Washington, DC (258 Miles) are all relatively short drives. 

Durham is serviced by air through Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The following airlines serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express. Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular service.

The educational systems in the Durham area are well rated from primary, secondary, through collegiate. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Durham area with the majority having sports programs. 

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Durham

Today, Durham is best known as the home to Duke University.

Durham, North Carolina, or the City of Durham, is located roughly in the middle of the state. Durham is also known as “Bull City.” Durham is the county seat of Durham County. Durham is located for the most part in Durham County with small portions extending into Wake County and Orange County. Durham County was founded on April 10, 1869 and named for Bartlett S. Durham (November 3, 1824 – February 2, 1859).

Bartlett S. Durham was a medical doctor who grew up in Orange County. In 1847 or 1848, Dr. Durham purchase around 100 acres of land between two small settlements Prattsburg (Prattsburgh) and Pinhook in what was then still Orange County. It is speculated that Dr. Durham purchased the land as a pure investment because of the railroad being built through the area. This land speculation is supported by the fact of Dr. Durham donating four acres of this land to the railway for a depot in 1849. The railroad depot was named Durham’s Station.      

With the development of homes and businesses around the rail line, a new depot was constructed a mile west of Prattsburg and eventually this became known as “Durhamville.” Dr. Durham became the first railroad agent for Durhamville. His business ventures besides land speculation included an interest in a general store near the depot along with a liquor license. In the 1850s, Dr. Durham was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly to represent Orange County. Ten years after Dr. Durham’s death the North Carolina General Assembly incorporated Durham on the site of the railroad depot named in his honor. In 1881, the North Carolina General Assembly formed what is now Durham County by taking the eastern part of Orange County and the western part of Wake County. Durham County was incorporated on April 17, 1881.

Durham County’s population in the 1890 US Census was 18,041. The City of Durham’s population in the 1800 US Census was 2,041. The population in Durham County’s 2010 Census was 267,587. Durham County’s estimated population in 2019 was 321,488. The 2010 US Census has the City of Durham’s population at 228,330. The City of Durham’s population was estimated in 2019 at 278,993.

Men’s Health poll ranked Durham as 12th in the Happiest Cities in America ranking.

Durham’s economic history has been divided into three economic periods beginning in the 1850s when before this time, subsistence farming was a disproportionate part of the rural south’s economy. The 1850s to the 1970s is known as the Tobacco and Textiles Economic Period. The 1970s to 2000s is known as the IT and Computing Period. The 2000s to Present is known as the Life Sciences and Tech Period.

Beginning in the 1850s, tobacco farming, processing/manufacturing, selling, and the related transportation of this product dominated Durham’s economy for the next 130 years. In the 1880s and 1890s, the fragmented tobacco industry began to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions. Probably the most famous of these consolidations was the formation of the American Tobacco Company, sometimes referred to as the American Tobacco Trust, by James B. Duke in 1890. For decades to come the majority of US cigarettes and smoking tobacco was produced by the American Tobacco Company, a Durham headquartered company.

For a number of reasons, primarily due to automation and mechanization, after World War II the employment dynamic in North Carolina was changing from agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing furniture. Modernization of almost all industries nationwide during this period was forcing politicians, businesses, and academia to reconsider the employment and training needs to move the country forward into the future. The GI Bill was offering many returning veterans the ability, for the first time, to attend college and other advanced learning institutions. Following the war, a fundamental change with regard to education and advanced training entered the American way of thinking of the future.

In the 1950s, North Carolina institutes of higher learning were literally overflowing with students seeking advanced learning and employment opportunities to capitalize on their education. North Carolina businesses were continuing to modernize and were in search of employees who could aid in this process. Politicians were eager to keep these newly educated constituents and current businesses in the state and hoped to attract new businesses to the state seeking to hire an educated workforce.   

This atmosphere led to academics at North Carolina State and Duke University developing the concept of a “park” so that both universities could do research together, along with other nearby institutes of higher learning. There are nine other colleges and universities in the Durham area with an abundance of highly skilled workers who could help build on this concept. Thus, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) was established in 1959 to accomplish all these goals of education and innovation. The “Triangle” in Research Triangle Park comes from the three leading research higher educational institutes in the area, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The 1970s and 1980s brought with it the decline of tobacco, textiles, and furniture manufacturing to the entire region. The Research Triangle Park began to hit its stride in the 1980s and helped lead Durham into the 1990s and beyond. The Research Triangle Park is the largest research park in the country and one of the largest in the world. RTP is home to more than 200 global companies including IBM, Cisco, BASF, Syngenta Biotechnology, and RTI International.

Durham is strategically located on the U.S Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 corridor. Charlotte (142 miles), Raleigh, NC (25 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (12 Miles) and Washington, DC (258 Miles) are all relatively short drives.

Durham is serviced by air through Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The following airlines serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express. Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular service.

The educational systems in the Durham area are well rated from primary, secondary, through collegiate. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Durham area with the majority having sports programs.

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