2 Durham buildings added to National Register

From staff reportsMarch 25, 2014 

— The former Hillside Park High School and the old dye house for the Durham Hosiery Mills Corp. are among 10 places in North Carolina recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of buildings, structures, sites and districts considered worthy of preservation because of their significance in American history, architecture, archeology and culture. The latest additions were approved by Kevin Cherry, the state historic preservation officer, and were announced by Gov. Pat McCrory late last week.

Hillside Park High School, a classical revival brick building that dates to 1922, was the first high school for African-Americans in Durham. It was built on Umstead Street, next to the black-only Hillside Park in the Hayti neighborhood. It an ancestor to the present-day Hillside High.

The building became the J.A. Whitted Elementary School in 1949 and was expanded in the mid-1950s to become Whitted Junior High. The school closed in the mid-1970s and later served as quarters for an anti-poverty agency and became county property through a real-estate swap with Durham Public Schools.

In late 2012, the Durham County Board of Commissioners approved in concept a proposal to redevelop the former school for senior housing and a pre-kindergarten center, but the building remains vacant.

The concrete-and-brick dye house was completed in 1921 on Gilbert Street, east of downtown Durham. The Durham Hosiery Mills Corp. owned 15 mills at the time and was the largest cotton hosiery manufacturer in the country. The dye house closed in 1934 and was later used by the Central Carolina Farmers Exchange for many years. The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina now uses part of the building as a warehouse.

Other buildings and historic districts added to the National Register include Flat Top Estate near Blowing Rock, the summer home of Greensboro textile magnate Moses Cone. The estate is now Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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