Durham is changing so quickly, buildings going up, buildings coming down, that it’s difficult to remember, for example, what was at the corner of West Chapel Hill Street and Vickers Avenue.
Regain your sense of place than at Open Durham, an interactive archive of information about the city’s people, places and history.
It’s one of the go-to blogs in Durham, with extensive information—and amazing photos—about the city’s forgotten and beloved places and neighborhoods. (Many of Preservation Durham’s Places in Peril are well documented on the site.)
Gary Kueber, who won an INDY Citizen Award in 2008 for his preservation efforts, started the blog as a response to the demolition of historic structures in the Bull City.
He recently started an indiegogo campaign to help fund upgrades to Open Durham, including improved navigation, mapping features and a mobile app. All of these will help users better interact with the website and add their own content.
Kueber also wants to add a category, Objects of Interest.
It’s a catchall, but there isn’t a place to write about things like street art, a sign, a gravestone, the cow ontop of La Vaquita,” Kueber says. “I feel a connection to them. They all have their own stories, but there’s no place to put them in the architecture of the website.”
“What I hope to convince people of is that things people gather and find are important,” he says. “You’re interpretation is important. You may be the only person that sees that and having that record is better than no record.”
Kueber has raised $9,171, well above his $7,000 goal. The campaign ends July 17. Go to opendurham.org for more information.
And that intersection of Chapel Hill Street and Vickers? A Holiday Inn in the 1960s followed by Temporary Quarters, a rent-by-the-week motel that housed people with mental illness. In July 1998, a man with schizophrenia stood on the roof and fired a shotgun at Durham police headquarters. The property also housed the Urban Merchant Center, until the property was purchased by a developer EdR, which is finishing the 605 West luxury apartment complex this summer.