Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kent Court and Eden Court

Because construction is expected to start this Fall at the site of the former Perfomance Bikes in downtown Carrboro, my friend archeologist Steve Rankin suggested that Ernie Dollar, David Southern and I get together to look one last look at the area before the bulldozers come. As it turns out the few buildings that will be destroyed are cheap cinderblock structures from the 40's or 50's and will probably not be missed by many.

But we noted too that Boyd Street in Carrbro may have been part of an earlier network of streets that was at some point cut off when the end of Franklin Street was connected over to Main Street. Look for example at this detail from the 1915 Sanborn Insurance Map:

Notice that the corner in the upper right of this detail is that of W. Franklin Street and Merritt Mill Road. A small network of streets (Kent Ct and Eden Ct) can be seen just west of this intersection and seemingly connected to Merritt Mill Road just north of Franklin Street - as if through the parking lot of Saint Paul's AME Church. While the 1915 map shows these streets as "arbitrary" (meaning locations not actually surveyed), we can perhaps assume that these locations are at least approximately correct.

It's tempting to think that Kent Court was an earlier manifestation of Carr Court (Tin Top), but this appears to have been further north of Carr Court - perhaps where Boyd Street is today. Boyd Street is highlighted in red below with dashed lines suggesting possible former connections:

We didn't draw any definite conclusions about Boyd Street and Kent Court, but certainly Boyd Street was once part of a vision for a different street grid than the one that eventually prevailed.

The Old Pumphouse

While on our downtown Carrboro historical tour, we visisted the old hexagonal pump house off of Maple Street:

An old plat of the former mill there shows a pumphouse in this location for pumping fire suppression water up to the mill in case of emergency. The pump symbol is circled in red:

This very similar hexagonal building behind DSI Comedy Theatre must have been built by the same person and used for the same purpose:

The same pump symbol is used on this portion of that plat:

The plat is framed and hanging in the hall way of the second floor of the old part of Carr Mill Mall.