The following is an excerpt from "The Bulls of Durham" living history book.
In Durham’s signature defiance of societal norms, the city houses a magic place where everyone gets along regardless of their size, gender, religion, skin color, sexual identity, or any other part of their existence. Within the 108.3 square miles of the city, there is one place where everyone is happy, loving and wearing matching outfits.
Not only is everyone rooting for the home team - everyone IS the home team. And the team wins every time they play, even if they lose, because Durham. This sacred space is known as the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP).
This goes all the way back to the 1840's which is when the first recorded baseball games in Durham took place, albeit not in the same location. This is before Bartlett Durham had purchased his acreage and cursed the corner just down the way from DBAP. As farmers brought their tobacco in for auction, opportunistic entrepreneurs found ways to care for and entertain the recently-paid farmers.
Once the farmers had collected their auction payments, they had time to enjoy life for a spell before heading back to the farms to start the exhausting process of growing the 13-month crop. By the 1840's, the Pinhook area was in full swing providing all the carousing a farmer could handle and perhaps a bit more. Baseball was a natural and more family friendly, extension of the entertainment line up. Baseball teams began to crop up and provide perfect entertainment on those hot summer nights. A simple pastime to bring the community together. Some things don’t change.
Excerpt from "The Bulls of Durham" living history book by Sheila Amir.
At Northgate Park located on Lavender Street, there’s a rock foundation and chimney. There is no signage posted explaining it, plus no safety fencing around the structural remains. It comes across as a bit eerie, even more so because no one visiting the park is phased by it. Fret not, there’s actually a delightful story behind this, and a dinosaur gets involved. It’s all very Durham.
The remnants are of a special house built sometime in the 1930s when making foundations and chimneys out of rocks must have been all the rage. The surrounding Northgate Park was also established in the 1930s. In 1946, the house was the very first home of The Museum of Life and Science. Today, the Museum of Life and Science sits northwest of its origins in an expansive 84 acres of scientific wonder featuring everything from real life bulls, bears, and butterflies to dinosaurs that are rumored to come alive at night.
Durham, North Carolina is one of the most educated cities in the United States[*]. But the intelligence in the Bull City goes far beyond formal education. This is a city that prides itself on creativity, innovation, social justice, and emotional intelligence. There’s a reason why Durham has been setting the bar for how things ought to be done nationally for over 150 years.
I became friends with the founder of both Our PlayHouse Preschool and Studio School Durham, Danielle Sunde, because of her love of learning and innovation. She attended all of the DurGram Content Strategy Workshops - Social Media Marketing, Advanced SMM, and Blogging with Precision and Purpose. When she shared what she was creating content for I was all in. An educational opportunity for young bulls to learn about what excites them with an approach that is completely centered around them. If they have a question they’re able to explore it to its fullest potential.
As Danielle explained what a microschool is and the incrediBULL experiences the children have there, I honestly became really jealous of these kids. They get to explore what they are interested in to the fullest extent while never having to raise their hands in front of the entire class to ask to go to the bathroom. And if they want to take some time to read a book, they can. I mean, I can’t be the only one who snuck books into school to have something to do while the other kids finished up their worksheets. All ‘normal’ kids sneak in every moment of dinosaur research possiBULL right?
We did it! "The Bulls of Durham" launched on the 919th day of the project, which, by chance, is Durham's EXACT 150th anniversary of incorporation.
"The Bulls of Durham" living history book blends Durham's rich history dating back to 1701 with stories and perspectives of over 100 Durhamites that are continuing to mold and shape the city. Every interviewee was asked the same six questions, one of which was, “What changes would you like to see for Durham?” A pattern quickly emerged across the board over the two-year span of time the interviews were conducted: Less siloing behavior and more collaboration. The frequency and intensity of this answer only increased as time went on.
The fact is the Durham we all know and love is facing unprecedented changes. While the Bull City has always been a city of change and innovation, the changes that are going on in the Bull are unlike than anything that has happened in the 318 years our city’s recorded history. What now? Is “The Bulls of Durham” living history book a tome capturing the Durham we once knew?
Nah. We’re keeping Durham, Durm. If the Bull City can transform from a tobacco empire to a medical and tech Mecca, we can do anything. All it takes is faith the size of a tobacco seed and some grit. Time for that Bull City magic. Time to get to know your neighbors.
#ForTheLoveOfDurham your homework is to find someone in the Bull City who is the opposite of you in as many ways as possiBULL, interview them and submit that interview to TheBullsOfDurham.com. It is in the acts of seeking them, coming to the table with them and getting to know them that community is built.
How to submit your guest blog to TheBullsofDurham.com
The goal is to build community. We're hoping to share 150 of these blogs in Durham's 150th year.
The Bulls of Durham *Back Ordered*
"The Bulls of Durham" living history book. Launched on April 10th, 2019, Durham's 150th Anniversary.
"The Bulls of Durham" living history book blends Durham's rich history with stories and perspectives of our city's greats that are continuing to build upon that history. And in this way, this is the story of Durham, North Carolina through the bulls' eyes.
Learn how a city that literally started from a tobacco seed in the ashes of the Civil War grew into the best city on earth. Discover how a stolen bull brought about a history shifting, global tobacco empire; and how 150 years later that relates to a British mustard company having beef with Sheila. #NotSorry
Find out the backstory to how the now hippest, foodiest, tech-hub of the South also gave rise to the bullpen, billboards, branding and baseball cards. Delve into our city's strong Black history that proves "Do It Like Durham" isn't a passing trend and will give you a profound sense of reverence walking down Parrish Street.
Best of all, see the common thread that runs through the stories of teachers, politicians, business owners, hip-hop artists, painters, activists, historians, architects and the real Bull City OG's. Hint: it's the BULLief that in Durham anything is possiBULL.
Welcome to Durham the incrediBULL place where grit meets grace. Here all you have to have is a dream and faith the size of a tobacco seed, because well, tobacco seeds build global empires, not mustard seeds.
Project book launch date: April 10, 2019 - Durham's 150th Anniversary.
Cover Art by DeCario Allen.
George Habel, former Vice President of Sports at Capitol Broadcasting and now the Vice President of Special Projects, stopped by TheBullsOfDurham.com as a guest blogger. George has been with Capitol Broadcasting for 36 years now and in that time has seen a great many changes in the Bull City. In tense times nationally, George sees Durham as a beacon of hope. While he admits we've still got our struggles and there's still a certain Bull City magic that makes Durham so unique.
Please welcome George Habel to our blog and look forward to more of his thoughtful inside in "The Bulls of Durham" living history book launching on April 10th, 2019, Durhams EXACT 150th anniversary.