Day 7: Trinity College/Duke’s East Campus

Day/Night 7: Trinity College/Duke’s East Campus

Duke University’s roots date back to 1837 and Randolph County, North Carolina. It was originally named Brown School and later became a Methodist university known as Trinity College. In 1892, Trinity College moved to Durham thanks to a large donation of finances and land given by Washington Duke and Julian Carr. In 1924 the decision was made to build a university around Trinity College. Since the name “Trinity College” was not unique, it was renamed Duke University to memorialize Washington Duke and his family for their generosity and historical importance.

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Today, circled with a heavily used walking track, Baldwin auditorium at the center of the quad, and Duke’s freshman class, East Campus plays an important role in supporting the western Durham neighborhoods, and the Ninth Street Business district.


Day 2: Erwin Mills & Brightleaf Square

Day 2:
Since moving to Durham, I have driven by the old Erwin Cotton Mill countless times, always wanting to photograph this beautiful brick complex. Erwin Mills was originally built in 1893 in the small town of Pin Hook and was the catalyst for development; the Erwin Mill Company built housing, a minor plumbing system, and other amenities for its employees. Eventually, Pin Hook was adopted by the city of Durham and is now the historical district of Old West Durham.

During the spring, the blooming dogwood trees at the front of the mill offer a stunning contrast to the refurbished red brick. This is a common scene in Durham, a city littered with brick tobacco warehouses and mills in styles similar to that of Erwin Mill. The blooming dogwoods are one of the many reasons why spring is among my favorite seasons in Durham.

Night 2:
The Watts and Yuille tobacco warehouses, now known as Brightleaf Square, were a part of the many tobacco warehouses owned by the American Tobacco Company(ATC). The two near-identical parallel buildings, built between 1900 and 1904 at the height of ATC’s prosperity, offered a subtle display of the Duke family’s wealth. At this time the American Tobacco Company owned 90% of the world’s tobacco market. After the company was broken up by an antitrust ruling in 1911, the buildings were sold to the Liggett-Myers Tobacco Company headquartered a few blocks away.

In 1980, Liggett-Myers sold the buildings to a development company which turned them into the retail and restaurant complex that we see today. Maintaining a large amount of the historical details, this complex is a treasure of Durham’s downtown and has been a centerpiece for the city’s revitalization and redevelopment.


Day 1: American Tobacco

Durham, NC: In 1865, Washington Duke started a small tobacco company named Duke & Sons from his 300 acre farm in what is now North Durham. After merging with his competitor,“The Bull Durham Tobacco Company,” Duke and his family quickly turned the company into one of the largest tobacco enterprises in the world.  Under the new name American Tobacco Company, they created famous brands such as Lucky Strike and Genuine “Bull” Durham Tobacco.

Although nowadays most people associate the Duke name with Duke University, it was because of this entrepreneurial family that Durham boasts the skyline we see today. In 1865, Durham was just another train station that was more or less a stop to refuel. However, the development of Bright Leaf Tobacco, thought to be one of the smoothest varieties of tobacco, put Durham on the map and turned it into a boom town. Soon, Durham became a textile and financial center which included the “Black Wall Street.” All of these industries and developments helped to create Durham as a city with strong historical character.

This morning, I started with the iconic Durham skyline. I chose the American Tobacco Center Campus as my starting point and centerpiece because this is the symbol for the beginnings of the Durham, NC that we see today.

Congdon Park


Tucked away in Duluth’s east end is a small refuge of undeveloped nature, Congdon Park, one of the reasons why Duluth was named a top 10 city to live in by Outdoor Magazine in 2001.  A landscape engineer named A.U. Morrell of New York City wrote“There is no combination of stream and hillsides, woodland, waterfall and canyon in or near any other American city that is capable of development for beauty and utility comparing with that lying on both sides of Tischer Creek.”For these reasons, Chester A. Congdon donated the Congdon Park property to the city. Now local dogs pull their owners along the park’s windy creek, students take the trails home or skip classes to hang out by the water… but this gem in Duluth is seldom enjoyed.

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While growing up, this was one of my favorite places to escape to since it was only a couple blocks from my childhood home. I can remember jumping from rock to rock and scrambling over the waterfalls as I followed Tischer Creek up the hill. This is one of the places I loved to take my grandfather’s old Minolta SRT202 (circa 1972) to learn photographic techniques. Because of these memories I decided to go back last August and was surprised to find that it was actually more beautiful than I ever remembered.  I wondered why I only ran into a few people during the 3-4hrs I spent exploring.

The trails start at E. Superior St. just across from Congdon Park Elementary School and go up the hill to Vermillion Rd. by Mount Royal Shopping Center. There are essentially two trails: one follows the creek with a few breaks here and there and the second trail runs above the creek’s gorge along an asphalt service road. Tischer Creek is home to beautiful and intimate waterfalls. While they are no more than 2-8 ft. tall, they can serve as subjects for unique photographs and are large enough to produce some calming, babbling creek noise to calm you as you read a book or process your thoughts.

Here is a trail map from the City of Duluth’s website. MAP


DUKE burns UNC

Saturday night, Duke beat UNC at home for the first time in 5 years. The 82-50 win ended a 4 game losing streak in a dominating fashion.  As ESPN’s College GameDay pointed out more than once, Duke’s Cameron Crazies are some of the most passionate fans in the country. A win at home for the first time in all of their college careers against their arch rival unleashed a massive celebration. Some say that this win shouldn’t mean as much to Duke since the UNC team will not even be invited to the NCAA tournament, but the way that they won showed that Duke could be a legitimate final 4 team and also pointed out how far the Tar Heels have fallen in just one year.

When I arrived to Durham and visited the Duke campus about 1 ½ years ago, I noticed wooden benches out in front of the dorms, fraternities, and sororities. All Duke students and players dream of the night when the campus is lit by flames fueled by these benches.   Last night the students who chose to make this game a part of their spring break got to experience just that. As I approached the residential quadrangle near the chapel, I saw a column of smoke reaching for the stars. Rounding the sociology building, I could see in the distance a large group of people back-lit by a large bonfire. Hundreds of Duke students threw bench after bench on the fire, burning 4+ years of competitive frustration and embarrassment. Chants of “Go to Hell Carolina” and “One More Year” echoed off the stone walls as players took part in the celebration.