While looking through the archive collection that is found on Digital Durham, I found myself spending more time looking at the maps. As a visual learner, I grew interested in the photographs as well, but the multitude of maps that was displaying very similar information was captivating to me. In particular, the Durham Annexation Map received a lot of my time.
While looking at the annexation map, I quickly noticed the different patterns. Not understanding what annexation exactly meant (at first), I thought that it coded for certain areas of town. Shortly after, realizing that annexation referred to the expansion or “takeover” of certain areas at certain points in time, I began to more look more intently at all of the small details. After 1925, Durham started growing massively. Starting at 1957, Durham’s annexation was increasing upon the x and y component very broadly – almost like the square footage increased by at least 25% each period. It appeared to have farm plantations and large parcels of land toward the North and East sides of Durham. Starting in the 1990’s, I started to recognize that very small extensions of the boundaries were becoming more frequent and the Central (town boundaries) of Durham were probably beginning to get more heavily populated.
Since I have lived in Durham for almost 3 years, I have been able to decently explore the city and the different parts. Since I became an education minor, I grew interested in how Durham was structured, what demographics were present in certain areas, and how the areas compared to others. The viewing of all of the maps sparked questions I had related to social structure. I’m interested to see how the North and East neighborhoods/areas compare to the commercial area of Durham as far as class, race, political views, etc. I wonder if individuals that lived in these more distant areas were against annexation, because they may not have to share county existence. I also wonder how the urbanization of Durham has changed individuals’ idea of “home” or how the neighboring areas feel. I wonder how neighboring areas or “distant” annexed areas feel, because from my understanding annexation collects more tax revenue to be utilized in the new boundaries. Did the residents have a say? What is the history behind the annexation? Knowing that other cities like San Antonio and Fayetteville are facing conflicts with annexation, it leads me to wonder how Durham has dealt with its municipal expansion.