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September 08, 2008


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John Schelp

Before there was Durham, there was Pin Hook.

Pin Hook began as a tiny settlement that served as a traveler's rest before the railroad town of Durham was established in the early 1850s. Pin Hookers were folks who bought tobacco leaf that went unsold at auction, repackaged the product, and sold it for a tiny profit. Jean Anderson provides wonderful accounts of Pin Hook in her outstanding book on Durham history... In the early days, the shiftless of society, usually addicted to vices of one sort or another, tended to congregate in Pin Hook, attracting others of their kind.

The settlement included a lodging house, camping grove, brothels, grog shops, and a well for drinking water for passing travelers. In spite of the dirt and noise caused by the railroad that ran through Pin Hook, people gradually settled near the Hillsborough Road with its easy access to Durham.

A story in the Hillsborough newspaper in 1871 described the early character of the neighborhood. "There is a place called Pin Hook... and it is remarkable for a race that was run there many years ago by a man and a woman. They wore no clothes and ran for a quart of liquor."

Because of Pin Hook's harsh reputation, Meredith College decided not to locate in the area. And, Trinity College almost decided to go elsewhere. It was not until the early 1890s, and the building of the Erwin Cotton Mills that Pin Hook would transform itself into the mill village of West Durham.

Throughout the 19th century, much of the area around Pin Hook was farmland. According to the Herald-Sun, the Rigsbee family farm stretched 600 acres -- including the Ninth Street area. For one hundred years, the Rigsbees raised tobacco, corn, and sweet potatoes on the hills south of Old West Durham. They kept their pigs down in a ravine. In 1892, the Rigsbees sold a northern section of their land for the construction of Erwin Mills. 33 years later, they sold their holdings for a new university. That land is now called Duke's West Campus. And the ravine where the pigs were kept is now called Wallace Wade Stadium.

Old photograph & more history...


Definitely needed a place like this in the city.

Ross Grady

Now that they've posted an exterior photo on their blog, it's possible to confirm that the address is 117 W. Main St, immediately adjacent to the Marvell Event Center:

Suddenly that 10th of a block of downtown Durham has the highest density of clubs in town ;-)


It't good to finally see a critical mass (I use that term too much) of bars and nightclubs in downtown Durham. We may actually find a reason to do an official "Apollo 10 Pub Crawl" in Durham, instead of having to go all the way to Glenwood South.


It is a great spot with good turnout. Seems like Durham has some pent up demand for places like this.

red bottom

This article tell the reality of very important organization and clearly gives the reasons that what they are doing. Very information article and actions should be taken against such organizations


I propose not to hold back until you earn enough money to order goods! You can take the loans or just commercial loan and feel yourself free

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