Benjamin Perry House
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A brief history of Watts-Hillandale and the Benjamin Perry House

Watts-Hillandale History 
The text below  is excerpted from Ruth Little’s National Register nomination for the Watts-Hillandale Historic District. 

The Watts-Hillandale Historic District in northwest Durham, North Carolina, is 
a compact residential district consisting of six blocks of Club Boulevard and
Englewood Avenue between the former Watts Hospital campus and the
Durham Waterworks, as well as several blocks along each of the perpendicular streets connecting these two major thoroughfares. After Watts Hospital opened in 1909 on a wooded rural tract north of town that was donated by  philanthropist George W. Watts and businessman John Sprunt Hill built a country club on land six blocks west in 1912, the intervening farmland became a fashionable subdivision. The West End Land Company subdivided the Club Boulevard area as Club Acres in 1913, with a picturesque creekside park in the middle. Club Acres slowly built up with large, comfortable middle-class houses of doctors, businessmen, and professionals in the late 1910s and 1920s. TheDurham trolley line was extended out to Watts Hospital by 1910, and downClub Boulevard to the new Durham Waterworks, just beyond Hill's country club, by 1912. In the same year, just south of Club Acres, John Sprunt Hill's Durham Loan and Trust Company subdivided Englewood, with lots bordering Englewood Avenue. Middle and working-class bungalows were built on these smaller lots in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. The area, now known as the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood, was a densely built urban neighborhood by the 1940s, and has remained to this day a stable, middle-class area. When Watts Hospital closed in 1976, the campus was taken over by the newly-founded North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which operates a boarding high school here.
 The Benjamin Perry House, located at1101 Iredell Street was built circa 1927 for he and his wife Mary. No other information about the original owners was available aside from the fact that Benjamin predeceased Mary, leaving her to run the household.  The widowed Mary rented space to James Norris, horse trainer, who later purchased the home for he and his wife Matred in 1949. The home remained in the Norris family until Perry Norris passed away in 2010 leaving the property to the church.

The Benjamin Perry House is an 1900+ sq.ft 3 bed 2 bath, side gabled brick bungalow with heavily bracketed eaves, 4 interior fireplaces, a wide front gable decorative dormer. All windows are original over-sized Craftsman 4-over 1 double hung sashes which match the Craftsman glazed entry door. Splendid oak floors complete the formal areas with original old-growth heart pine flooring in the 3 bedrooms and kitchen. 10' high  plaster ceilings complete the bright and airy southern exposure formal living spaces, with the same high 10'  wood panelled ceilings in all 3 bedrooms. A generous 5' wide access hall runs the length of the home emulating a Feng Shui * feel long before it became chic. The front shed roofed porch has battered brick craftsman style support posts, railings and an attached porte cochere with bracketed eave. The property also hosts the original front gable, one car garage with German shiplap siding

feng shui [ˈfʌŋ ˈʃweɪ]
the Chinese art of determining the most propitious design and placement of a grave, building, room, etc., so that the maximum harmony is achieved between the flow of chi of the environment and that of the user, believed to bring good fortune
[from Chinese feng wind + shui water]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged  HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


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