E.K. Powe School
Old West Durham: Glimpses of the Past - Local Schools
share their photographs of OWD life in days gone by.
Erwin Mills was shut down in 1986. All the people in Old West Durham lost their jobs and they didn't have any money. On 9th Street the stores were shut down. There was no blue jeans. All of the streets of Old West Durham were number streets but 9th Street is still here. E.K. Powe is in the middle of Old West Durham.
-- David Morales & Jonathan Santander (second graders quoted in 'Document' a publication of the Center for Documentary Studies)
E.K. Powe's vacation song
anything you want to know
Just ask us we can tell
We've studied hard for nine long months
And we know our lessons well.
are deep and mountains steep
And rivers run down hill
And now we're going to join the brook
Down by the mill.
hip hip hurrah!
For the good old summertime
An old straw hat, no shoes at all
And a fishing pole and line.
is calling to us
and the Woods repeat the tune
The very air, without a care
Says JUNE, JUNE, JUNE!
West Durham Graded School No. 1 was built around 1898
at the corner of Swift and Caswell (new apartment building today).
Two schools were combined here: Piney Grove School on Swift Avenue
(where First Baptist Church of Durham started) and Northside
(where, according to old mill workers, Vin Rouge stands today).
West Durham High School (with old school building on right), 1928. You can see the old cafeteria basement (see doors and windows at downhill end of building). Students ate in the basement under what are now the administrative offices.
A causeway connecting the old junior high school (shown on left) and "newer" elementary school (unseen on right).