New look for this old house

December 31, 2008 1:24:05 PM PST
A former neighborhood eyesore has a new address and a new look. It's the old Tate House, which once stood - barely - across the street from the Duke campus. New owner John Martin is proud of his historic dwelling, and after a quick look around, it's easy to see why.

"This room, in a lot of ways, original windows, looks much the way it would have looked when the house was built, probably around 1910," said Martin as he showed Eyewitness News around Wednesday.

It's hard to believe the house looks so good when you consider that just a year ago the former owner was willing to give it away to anyone who would move it.

Skeptics back then noticed cracks and other structural flaws, but Martin was not to be deterred. He paid to have it moved from its location on Markham Street to a different lot over in Old West Durham.

"It was in rough shape as it stood over on Markham, and it was in even worse shape when we hauled it down the road," offered David Parker with Riverbank Custom Homes.

Despite spending thousands, Martin says the project was a good deal.

"The house is worth more than what I put into it, so I'm happy about that," he said.

Preservationists hope others will follow Martin's example.

"There are houses available across Durham where folks can come in and save a page of Durham's history," offered John Schelp with the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association.

But you'll have to find your own. John Martin's is not for sale.


Load Comments