Shopping Centers in Durham, NC
(thanks to Myers Sugg in making his data on Lakewood Park accessible to me, and to Marcus Latta, whoever recollections thoroughly document the playground.)
Looking north from Chapel Hill Road, around 1910.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / Vermont Collection)
The Durham Traction business, which purchased the town's streetcar system in 1901, ended up being possessed and operated by Richard H. Wright, whom began their job in Durham as somebody with Duke family in Duke and Sons Tobacco (he bought down Washington Duke's share upon the elder Duke's pension.) Wright had a significant falling-out using the Dukes, combined with many years of litigation, but became an important real estate developer using Durham Consolidated Land and enhancement Company, which created a significant part of Trinity Heights and Walltown. He, along with Julian Carr - their companion into the DCLIC, bought the old horse-drawn railroad and moved about converting it to a power trolley system, run on a power plant on Blackwell St.
One technique in bolstering ridership on the streetcar range would be to develop an amenity - a destination - after the range. It was carried out in more than a few towns, and Richard Wright sought to generate this destination in Durham through improvement Lakewood Amusement Park.
The location around Lakewood Park was a sparsely developed, outlying area across the Chapel Hill Road south of Maplewood Cemetery (the prior end associated with the streetcar range, ) and site itself ended up being low-lying land regarding north region of the roadway. A stream running through this land was in fact dammed up at some point inside late 1800s to make a shallow pond, that has been a well known spot for summertime swimming and baptisms. Wright stretched the streetcar line to this area, and began developing entertainment and diversions from the available land around 1900. This included a variety of framework structures with concessions, games, dance, rides and more. Wright offered the streetcar line having two stops in the playground - one at "The Casino", where movie theater performances had been held, and another slightly more southwest, during the primary entrance toward playground.
Interestingly, even though, in other towns and cities, the designers of such systems frequently took advantage of the low priced land across the brand-new range to produce houses - which suddenly had notably higher price for their construction of the line. (anything we cannot seem to comprehend in the current environment.) Despite his various other property efforts, including his eponymous corner downtown Wright did not develop property in Lakewood.
Lakewood Park opened Sunday afternoon July 20, 1902. The park ended up being crowded from starting day, along with its great number of colored electric lights. You have to imagine the spectacle of open air entertainment lit by countless electric light bulbs, at night - one thing uncommon at that point over time.
Folks from all over Durham would crowd in to the streetcars to drive from other components of city out to the 'country'. Lakewood Park was just open in the summer, as well as in the summertime the Traction Company had summer time vehicles, no windows, seating down each part. There have been two bars on the exterior for the windows to guard the bikers from a fall. Together blogger the Herald had written in 1960:
"the majority of the chairs was taken when we boarded the trolley at Five Points. The nonchalance associated with conductor was at marked contrast to our enthusiasm while he strolled about a platform on the exterior associated with vehicle and retrieved fares through open house windows. At each and every stop out Chapel Hill Street, the automobile became much more crowded - just as if every person were visiting the same location. The automobile rounded the bend at Maplewood Cemetery. In another 10 minutes, we'd be indeed there... Lakewood Park."
The streetcar would first stop at the Casino, at the spot of Chapel Hill Road and Lakewood Avenue, across from Rolls Florist. The Casino was a rather huge wooden building with many lights around the entry. Inside was a big auditorium with rows of opera-type chairs and a huge phase with velvet curtains. Huge crowds of people would gather to see shows. In the summertime months, summer time stock companies would happen to be Durham to provide activities. There were shows nightly, utilizing expert stars and neighborhood talent, including many residents used as extras, and "laughter [would float] through shuttered house windows for the Casino" during shows. The movie theater at the Casino had been run by David Runkel and his Runkel Stock Company. The Runkels existed next-door at 1807 Lakewood Ave.
The streetcar ended while watching Casino.
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