About Durham

Native Eno and the Occoneechi, lived and farmed in the area which became Durham, and established a village named Adshusheer on the site. The Occaneechi Path, one of many Native American trails has been traced through Durham, and Native people helped to mold the area by establishing settlements and commercial transportation routes.

In 1701, Durham’s beauty was recorded by English explorer John Lawson, who referred to the area as “the flower of the Carolinas.” During the mid-1700s, Scots, Irish, and English colonists settled on land granted to George Carteret by King Charles I ( Carolina were named to honor Charles IX of France and then Charles I and Charles II of England.) with, Durham recognized as a community of The United States in 1823.

Before the American Revolution, settlers in what is now Durham were members of the Regulator movement. Loyalist militia cut Cornwallis Road through this area in 1771 to quell the rebellion. Later, a local shopkeeper and farmer William Johnston made Revolutionaries’ munitions, served in the Provincial Capital Congress in 1775, and helped underwrite Daniel Boone’s westward explorations.

By the 1800’s large slave plantations, such as Hardscrabble, Cameron, and Leigh, were established in the antebellum period with, Stagville Plantation as one of the most extensive plantation holdings in the South in 1860. African slaves provided labor on these farms and plantations, and slave quarters became the hearth of distinctively Southern cultural traditions involving crafts, social relations, life rituals, music, and dance. There were free African-Americans in the area as well, including several who fought in the Revolutionary War.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Durham is recognized for its tobacco and textile operations and the development and evolution of African-American enterprises. Durham is known as the “City of Medicine” and is an international center for scholarship, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and high-tech research, and development. Overall, Durham is a superior blend of sophistication and small-town charm.

Aerial: Downtown Durham skyline from Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Durham, N.C., is a colorful, creative, and entrepreneurial community and the stately home of Research Triangle Park, Duke, and North Carolina Central Universities. Durham is among the most significant places to live and work in the nation. Credit: Chris Barron/Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau

The City of Durham is a compact, 298 square-mile, single-city county with a population of over 228,000, and a county population of over 269,000. Centrally located, Durham is approximately 250 miles from Washington and 390 miles from Atlanta. The prestigious Research Triangle Park (RTP), the world’s largest university-related research park populated with major multinational corporations, is just minutes away from the School of Law. This region has the highest per capita population of Ph.Ds., scientists, and engineers in America. This impressive Nobel-Prize winning province accompanied by the scholarly preeminence of North Carolina Central and Duke Universities. Additionally, the NCCU School of Law’s proximity to Raleigh, the state capital, gives students ready access to federal and state courts.

Other area attractions include the climate and location. North Carolina is ideal for recreation and culture. There are two recreational lakes nearby, and virtually any sport can be found in either amateur or professional venues. The home of the Durham Bulls (Triple-A) minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), is located in downtown Durham. Raleigh is home to the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL). The Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) and the Carolina Panthers (NFL) both play in Charlotte, North Carolina, approximately 145 miles from Durham. The North Carolina Symphony and area museums provide year-round enjoyment. North Carolina beaches and mountains are within four hours; and golf can be played year-round either locally or at world-famous Pinehurst resorts (location of the 1999 U.S. Open), which is within two hours.

Home of the nationally known American Dance Festival, as well as the state’s oldest street art celebration, Durham offers a lively world of art and culture without any of the usual compromises in the quality of life. We invite you to Durham and the Research Triangle Park area to see for yourself why national magazines have called Durham one of the best places to live and do business in the nation and the “#3 Most Enlightened City.”