Photographer John Zager lived in Durham only two years, but he has left the city a legacy....
History has a greater, more emotional significance when one has a personal connection to it...
Vintage Signs (Day):
Scattered throughout Durham’s economic heart are vintage painted advertisements, bragging of cheap soda and gum to the greatest tobaccos. From a time before billboards, these signs are artistic reminders of the cities roots. Common in most communities throughout the United States until the 1960s, Durhams bustling industries and its brick warehouses provided the perfect canvases for the signs. Today some are replicas, some are fading, and some have been restored, all providing potential for a good day of treasure hunting. Places like Parish Street, downtown’s “5 Points”, Central Park, and the old tobacco warehouses, including Brightleaf are all decorated with some of these commercial murals.
In general these signs do not possess the same protections that architecture does and throughout the United States they are quickly disappearing. Fortunately in Durham, as the historical buildings gain protection usually the signs do as well and they have become just as much of the history as the building itself. All add to the atmosphere that Durham has worked hard to preserve.
Duke University Medical Center (Night):
Upon his death in 1925, James Buchannan Duke “bestowed” 4 million dollars to Duke University for the creation of a Medical School and Hospital. He believed in improving the healthcare of the mid-atlantic which at the time was notoriously poor. The Carolina’s lack of wealth was a main reason for the lack of Doctors, Hospitals, and schools. His dream was to develop one of the top institutions in the South. By 1930, the Medical School was rank in the top 20 in the entire nation.
One of Durham’s tag names is, “The City of Medicine,” with over 1/3 of Durham’s employees working in a healthcare related role. Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) is at the heart of Durham’s healthcare, employing over 10,000 people and infusing about 1.5 Billion dollars into the community. Thanks to the fact that DUMC has continued its tradition of excellence and pioneering research, patients travel from accross the South, North America and the World to recieve opinions and treatment. Duke University and the DUMC are a conerstone for Durham’s economy and help to support and presurve the city’s community.