Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Final Project J. Douglas Galyon Depot

For my final project I focused on the J. Douglas Galyon Depot. I used this as starting point. In this project I basically tried to find out why Greensboro is a center in the railroad system along the east coast, how the Depot reflects this, what the development in the future might be, and how different the railway system in Holland (where I am from) is from the current system in the United States, especially in North Carolina.


Greensboro is definitely a center of the railway system along the east coast. It is not called the “Gate City” for a random reason. To find out why Greensboro is a center in the railway system, we need to know a little bit more about the history of this system.

In the nineteenth century Greensboro grew tremendously, both in population and in wealth. A big part of this development can be traced down to a man you all know about, John Motley Morehead, state governor from 1841 till 1845. At that time, there were a few east-west railroad tracks in North Carolina, but none of them passed through his hometown Greensboro. He used his influence and power to curve the railroad tracks miles north so that they would pass through Greensboro. Ever since, Greensboro has been a very important part in the railway system and transportation has remained a key to the city’s development. But why did Greensboro need all this train transportation? That is mainly because of Greensboro’s flourishing textile industry. Cone Mills was known as the world’s largest producer of denim. This company owned several mills in Greensboro. It brought a lot of employment to Greensboro and, as a result, the population increased a lot. Cone Mills depended on the train transportation in Greensboro. Obviously this was very important to stay profitable.

Railroad system 1900

Present and future
Today, Greensboro still functions as a center in the railroad system, but there are significantly less passenger trains than in the early 20th century. The car turned out to be a better transportation method, mainly because of low gas prices. Also, with a car you can go wherever you want. Moving by train is only possible from a train station and to a train station. Now almost all trains riding in Greensboro are freight trains.
I think that in the future trains can be a very important way of transportation again. First, the prediction is that the gas prices will increase. In a couple of years there will be a lack of natural resources, such as gas. In the same time, the world population grows bigger and bigger. So there is more need for gas, but the supply decreases. This will definitely lead to higher gas prices and as a result the use of the car will go down. People will look at other transportation methods, such as the train. The train will be a lot cheaper then and it is also better for the environment ("greener"), which will be a big issue in the future. But, this all will not be the case if we can find another cheap recourse that can replace gas.

Railroad system 2007

Now is the question: How does the J. Douglas Galyon Depot show that Greensboro is a center of the railroad system? And is the Depot itself a center?
If you look at the location of the Depot, one can see that the Depot is located very centrally. It is almost right in the center of downtown, so it is easy accessible by people who are travelling by bus or by train. If I use Clay’s vocabulary, I would definitely describe the Galyon Depot as a beat. Every day a lot of people go in and out the Depot and it is an important building in Greensboro. People need it for transportation. Every inhabitant of Greensboro should have heard about it.
Also the shape of the Galyon Depot shows characteristics of a real center. There is a big arrival and departure hall in the older part of the building. The ceiling of this hall is very high and there are several very big lights. It is important to realize that a few decades ago there were hundreds of people in this hall at every time of the day. There are also a couple of office windows in this hall to assist the passengers. One will not find a lot of those in smaller train stations. Also the large map on the wall of the central hall in the Depot reflects that Greensboro is a main city in the train transportation. On the image you can discover that there is a north-south and an east-west track through Greensboro. Also the fact that the map includes the whole east coast itself is interesting. The creators of the Depot must have recognized the importance of Greensboro in the railway system, otherwise they would not show the map of the whole southwest in the central hall.

Comparing U.S. to Holland

Holland is more than three times smaller than the state of North Carolina, but there are twice as many people in Holland. We have a broad railroad system. If you compare it to one third of the railroad map of North Carolina in 2007, then you can see that an incredible amount of cities and small villages are connected to this system. It is even more surprising if you realize that the main use of all railroad tracks is passenger transportation. We also have freight trains riding on the tracks, but less than passenger trains. In North Carolina there are a couple of railroad tracks on which almost no passenger trains are riding. Their only function is transportation of goods. It is about the same in the rest of the United States. People in the U.S. don’t necessarily depend on trains. These differences in function, need, and value of the railroad system between the United States and Holland are mainly based on differences in other transportation methods, especially (again) the car. In Europe is the gas price, converted, about eight dollars a gallon. Obviously that is a huge amount of money. Mainly because of this most families have just one car and they try to avoid driving more than necessary. It is expensive and it is very easy to get stuck in traffic in Holland. Remember, I told you all before that the country is more than three times smaller than North Carolina, but that the population is twice as big. For example, if someone is offered a job that is like forty miles away, it is likely that the distance will be the decisive factor for not accepting the job. So it is clear that Dutch people are in need of other transportation methods. The trains system is a perfect way to reach your destination because the country is so small. Most of the times the train stations are pretty close to where you need to be, in contrast to the United States.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#5 Overview

Hello everyone,

I have seen so many places in Greensboro this semester that I guess I can almost be a professional guide. Now it's time to reflect on all that I have seen thus far this semester.

I have definitely learned a lot about understanding the built environment. Before I was just looking at the environment, now I try to understand and explain the built environment. For this I use Clay's vocabulary, which helped me a lot during this semester, but I also try to apply everything I learned in this class so far. I ask myself questions, such as "Why does this building look like this and how is that related to its function?", "What would be the ultimate use/infill for this piece of land?", and "What are the values imbedded in this built environment and in what way is that expressed by the environment?"

Because of all the things I learned in class, I am definitely more interested in the world surrounding me. It is not anymore "just" the notion of a beautiful building or a nice place. Now it is an inspiring place to think about. What makes this building nice? How does it invite people to visit it? My perspective and perspective of the world has changed a lot during these few weeks. Also, I learned a lot about the American city, especially because I am a foreigner. I helps me understand the way of thinking of Americans about the environment.

I am thinking about directing my focus to the J. Douglas Galyon Depot for my final project. I have always been very interested in trains. Back in Holland we have a very broad public transportation system of which train transportation is an important part. I want to find out how the train and railroad network is managed here in the United States. And believe it or not, I have read Sonia Nazario's book "Enrique's Journey" and that also gave me inspiration to deepen further into this subject.

#4 Roadways

Hello everyone,

To go from one part of Greenboro to the other, we needed to drive of course. Along the way we did observations and formulated hypotheses about the differences in environment and about the functions of the buildings and open spaces along the road.

First, we drove on the interstate on High Point Road. I could discover a lot of retail stores and industrial places. Some industrial buildings have big parking lots next to them, I guess mainly for employees and visitors of the retail centers which are close. I also saw a couple of hotels along the way, such as Holiday Inn Express and Hilton Garden Inn.
Then, we exited to Wendover Avenue. There is a lot of variety in buildings and spaces along this road. On the first part we saw a lot of car dealerships. These dealerships are easily accessible because they are located close to the big roads and interstates. Then, after a few industrial buildings, there appeared a residential area with houses, schools, and retail spaces. This residential area doesn't look as prosperous as the neighborhoods we observed before. Some businesses I saw on the way on High Point and Wendover were CVS, the Office Depot, and Sheetz. If I compare the area around Wendover to the Elm Street, I see a lot of differences. Elm Street is downtown, the street is narrower, there are a lot of restaurants and little shops. Wendover is outside of downtown, around Wendover I see lots of open spaces and parking lots, and I see a lot of industrial buildings and big retail centers. The scale is so much larger.

When we drove on Battleground Avenue in the afternoon, there was also a lot of retail. Two stores I saw were Target and Party City. The second part of Battleground Avenue, Old Battleground, has a lot of retail too, but it all looks older. Some stores look really dirty and solitary.

#3 Open Spaces

Hello everyone,

In the early afternoon, we drove to Battleground Park, which was represented as the open space for the day. It is a very nice park with a lot of history imbedded in it and it still is of great historical value to the city of Greensboro.

At this place there was fought a Revolutionary War battle in 1781 between major general Nathanael Greene and the British army. Although Greene was eventually defeated by the British army, he was able to keep his army strong. The story is that he was a very brave man. Now he is the symbol of Greensboro. There is not only a statue of him in Battleground Park, but also downtown on the rotary intersection and there is a street named Greene Street downtown. At certain places in Battleground park there are statues of the famous people who fought the battle. The fact that there is a sort of monument on the battle side indicates that this place is of great important and value for Greensboro. In this case memory, history and respect are of greater value than the expansion of the city. I think that is a very good development. Too often it is otherwise.

Battleground Park is not only a historical place; it is also a place to relax, experience the quietness, and enjoy the nature. When we walked in the park, I saw a lot of parents with their children in the park. In my opinion it is very important that children know something about the history of Greensboro. I think that discovering the roots of the city you live in is certainly an important element in the discovery of yourself and your own roots, and questions like: where do I belong in this world?

Nathanael Greene

#2 Residential

Hello everyone,

After Greensboro's retail spaces, we went to the neighborhood around the White Oak Mill complex. This neighborhood is very different from the neighborhoods we studied earlier.

The first thing that attracted my attention was that the houses are all pretty modest. They are workers cottages. Especially in the past, the people who lived in this area worked for the White Oak Mill company. The Cone family (owners of the area) decided that they wanted to build a little village for the employees surrounding the mill company. That was very convenient and efficient, both for the workers and the company. It is like a miniature town. All the houses have a center chimney and there are no sidewalks at all. It seems like the houses and the environment are decorated very functional. The workers have to work hard and fulfill their duties. There is no time and necessity for social events or any originality. You can conclude this from the lack of sidewalks and the fact that the houses have the same shape inside. Furthermore, there is a lot of space between the houses in this neighborhood. That is characteristic for a suburban area of a city. Near the houses is an area with churches: the Masonic, Baptist, and Presbyterian Church. The latter one has its own graveyard. One seperate section of the graveyard is for members of the Cone family.

Presbyterian Church

Another residentail part that we visited during our big fieldtrip was the Loewenstein Residence. We had lunch in this amazing house. It was probably the most impressive house I have ever visited. The current residents are Richard and Jane Levy, who are related to the Cone family. The first thing that attracted my attention was the amount of windows; there are a lot of them. This makes the house very light inside. The position of the windows is very interesting. It regulates the light and shadow in different seasons of the year. The art both inside and outside the house was overwhelming. It was a great experience to look at the pearl necklace and the "crashed" airplane.

The house from inside, looking at the back yard (look at the windows!)

The airplane masterpiece

#1 Retail

Hello everyone,

On Saturday, November 7 we had a big field trip in Greensboro with HSS 105. First, we looked at the main retail spaces in Greensboro: Friendly Center and Four Seasons.

Friendly Center
We met at Friendly Center. This was the place for our first observations. Friendly Center consists of an older and a newer part. It became immediately obvious to me that there are a lot of electronic shops in the original part of Friendly Center, like Radio Shack and Ritz Camera. Overal, it seems like there are shops for people of every age and people with different interests. It seems like this part serves a wide public. The fact that the shops are not very expensive also supports this statement. In the newer part of Friendly there are actually even more electronical shops, for example Apple and AT&T. It seems like this part is more expensive, the stores look fancier, and they serve a smaller public: the upperclass. It is more like a lifestyle part. Most pedestrian paths are next to the shops under a roof, but there are also pedestrian spaces that cross the streets or parking areas. Some of them are decorated with trees and benches (see picture). That looks very nice. There are a lot of parking areas. This is not strange, since lots of people visit the Friendly Center each day. There is one block with shops that really sticks out, because it is made of brick. That is a new expansion of Friendly Center. All the other shops are made of stone. Furthermore, I consider the Bear Rock Cafe as a shop that sticks out. It has a different shape than the other stores surrounding it (see picture).

Map of Friendly Center

Friendly Center seen from a parking lot

The front of the Bear Rock Cafe

One of the pedestrian spaces leading to the other side

Four Seasons Mall
After Friendly Center we drove to the Four Seasons mall. This is a very big (3 story) shopping center. It is very busy. Everything looks very nice and you can see that the owners really thought about the arrangement of the mall. Four Seasons has a great variety of stores. There are also kiosks and eating areas. One can find everything there for a reasonable price. That is one of the reasons that a lot of people from other cities make their way to Four Seasons. Another reason is that the mall is very close to the interstate, so the accessibility is very good.

The United States Post Office

Christmas decoration in the center of the first floor

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the Other Side of the Tracks

Hello everybody,

In the class of Thursday, October 29 we went to South Elm street to observe the stores located on this street. We got extra diagrams to compare our findings with the existing stores in 1925, 1975, and 2000. In this way we are able to draw a conclusion about the development of South Elm Street and its function.

When comparing, the first thing that became obvious to me was that there were more stores back in 1925 and 1975 than now. There are a lot more open spaces now, mainly roads and parking lots. One reason for this could be that certain stores were not necessary (and as a result not profitable) anymore. Especially the last few decades technology and industrialisation increased a lot. It is not strange that some companies couldn't keep up with the progression. Also, generations change. People from this generation have very different interests than people from 1925.
I guess I have to combine my previous observation with the fact that there are a lot of new parking spaces on South Elm Street which were not there a couple of decades ago. There has been a large growth in traffic over the decades. That involves the need of parking spaces. So we can speak of infills; businesses and stores disappeared, parking lots were created.

Although, a couple of businesses are still there, such as the Southern Railway Company and the Salvation Army. These companies have always been important for the city of Greensboro and, in my opinion, will always be important. That is why they still exist. Trains are a main transport method and the Salvation Army is there to help poor people. Besides, there are a lot of antique stores located in this street. I guess that is just typical for this area. Obviously it is not a street to go to if you need food. I liked it though, because the street and most of the stores looked very nice.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tracing the tracks : Opening the gates

Hello everyone,

In the class of Tuesday, October 27 we visited the Galyon Depot. This is the train station of Greensboro and it is a place for bus departure.

The train is very important to the city of Greensboro. Mister Morehead was the one who introduced the train to Greensboro and built a railway station. He wanted to make Greensboro known to people from out of town and he wanted to compete with other cities. Greensboro is a (central) connection point in North Carolina, but also in the whole east coast. Greensboro is called the Gate City. The place where trains stop is the "gate" in the city. The train was most important in the past, because it was actually the only transportation method if you wanted to travel long distances. Cars didn't exist back in those times (around 1900's/1910's). The Depot consists of two parts: an old and a new part. In the older part there are nice, big rooms for passengers and everything looks classic. I heard that there was still segregation in the Depot a couple of decades ago. There were separate waiting rooms for black and white people. The newer part of the Depot, which is linked to the older part, is currently a bus departure station. That is the back entrance. In the future, the train can become very important again, when the gas prices will probably be extremely high. The train will be a lot cheaper then and it is also better for the environment ("greener"), which will be a big issue in the future.

The following link is the website with the flight schedule to Piedmont Triad International Airport:

A lot of immigrants come to North Carolina each year to live and work. The airport and railway stations in Guilford County are important gateways for immigrants. The following websites are places in Greensboro with a non-Western European culture embedded in them.

Greensboro Cultural Center:

UNC Greensboro:

La Hacienda Restaurante Mexicano:

African American Atelier:

P.F Chang's China Bistro:

The Interstate system is also a main gateway to the Triad. If I look at the map of Guilford County, I see three Interstates that come through Guilford County: 85, 40, and 73. It helps Greensboro to become a big city with a lot of businesses. It is easy to travel to Greensboro by car.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Downtown Institutions

Hello everyone,

In the class of Thursday, October 22 we visited downtown Greensboro for the second time, this time to look at downtown institutions. In this post I will discuss five institutions: the Center City Park, the Cultural Center, the Central Library, the Greensboro Historical Museum, and the former public library.

The Center City Park
There used to be buildings at the place where the Center City Park is located now. It is a peaceful place in the center of downtown. It looks like a place to relax, especially for busy business men. The park is two years old now and it is actually privately owned, but it is donated to the city. In my opinion, water is the theme of the park, because there are a lot of fountains. The open space for the park is problably saved to have a green place downtown and to have a quiet space to rest.

The Cultural Center
In the Cultural Center of Greensboro you can enjoy performances and look at the different art styles that are exposed in the several galleries. It seems like a nice place; you can visit it whenever you want.

The Central Library
The Central Library is a new library. The central library used to be the building in which the Elon Law School is located now. I will talk about that later. I think they moved it, because there was a lack of space or they wanted to organize the library differently. I think the dome on the second floor (see picture) is very important for the library. I had the feeling that it represents something, as if learning and being educated leads to a path of light. The circle shape of it reminded me of the Elliot University Center, in which circles also play a significant role. I guess these cricles has something to do with education.

The Greensboro Historical Museum
I heard that the Greensboro Historical Museum used to be a civic auditorium and a library in between. I guess this had been an important place in the center of Greensboro and that they therefore made a museum of it. Also, in my opinion it is important for the people who live in Greensboro to know the history of the city. Then they can determine where to make the necessary changes and they learn what places are or were of great value to the city of Greensboro. The museum is impressive when you are walking inside. It is very quiet and everything looks old. It is nice to see a classroom from a century ago and the old telephone system (see pictures). I really had the feeling: "Is this really what Greensboro looked like before? That is so different." Actually it is hard to imagine.

The former public library

As I mentioned earlier in this post, the Law School of Elon University used to be the public library. This building is located more in the center of downtown Greensboro and it looks like a bank or insurance building (like many other downtown) rather than a library or what it is used for now: an educational institution. I make this statement not only because its external appearance, but also because there are fewer decorations inside than in the current library. Another difference between the former and the current Central Library is the space. The former library looks a lot smaller. Probably that is one of the reasons why it is replaced.

Back to the Center

Hello everyone,

In the class of Tuesday, October 20 we visited downtown Greensboro for the first time; a thing to be excited about! We discussed the values of some buildings, how they contribute to the city and how they can be compared to the UNCG campus. In this post I will discuss three different locations.

First Citizens Bank
If you consider what the most important employers of Greensboro are, you will emphasize that these are the colleges, the denim industry and especially the banking and insurance companies. The First Citizens Bank has a very important function. It is right in the middle of downtown Greensboro (on the corner of Elm Street and Market Street), so I think it is definitely a "beat", also because usually there are a lot of people coming in and out of the building. The design of the building is very prominent; as you can see in the picture the entrance consists of golden doors and two capitals in front of it. That refers to a classical style, that is also used for a couple of buildings on the UNCG campus, such as the Jackson Library and the Brown Building. The First Citizens Bank building is made of brick and glass. There is a lot of glass used. I think it was done this way to make the building light(er) from the inside.

There are a lot of alleys discernable in downtown Greensboro. Most of them are used as drainage-canals. Some of them are very artistic, as you can see in the picture. On this kind of water slide the rain is guided into a box. The box leads to a sewerage system. In my opinion this is a very nice way to create from an ugly view an artistic masterpiece. It really contributes to the external appearance of the downtown of Greensboro. It makes me think about what one can do with buildings or locations in other parts of Greenboro. I consider this change of an alley as an infill and the alley itself as a "sink". This sink is partly covered by an artistic piece.

The KRESS Building
When I saw the KRESS building for the first time, it attracted my attention immediately. It is a beautiful building and I think the owners did a good job in making it look like the way it is. It is a building for food and entertainment and that is also the message the building transfers in its appearance. A lot of people visit this building every day, so in that perspective you can describe it as a "beat", according to Clay's vocabulary. The KRESS building is also (part of a) "strip". This part of downtown (especially Elm Street) is a very developed area and this building is definitely an example of this. By the way, there are more theatres in this area of the city.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Hello everyone,

In the class on Thursday, October 8 we visited Blandwood, an impressive building that originally was a farmhouse. Officially it is located on Washington Street, but it also faces other streets. It is constructed in the 18th century and there are a lot of stories imbedded in this site. What I am going to discuss in this post is the construction of the building and the reasons why the house was renovated twice and was updated several times.

This building has a great value to the city of Greensboro, because it is the oldest italianate structured building in the country (1795). The property consists of 100 acres of land. It was impressive to look around in the buiding and to realize that people lived in here two centuries ago in almost the same setting. The building was once the Keeling Institute. The building looks very nice from inside; it has great decorations. You can divide the building into two different parts: the west parlor and the east parlor. The west parlor is known as the "King" parlor and the east parlor is known as the "Queen" parlor. The difference is that the King parlor is more formal in structure, lay out and furniture, the Queen parlor is less formal in structure, lay out and furniture. The chandeliers are very impressive and unique (see picture) and also the circle patterns around the cord where the chandeliers are hanging on are interesting. In both rooms are doors with mirrors in them. The reasoning in this is that the mirror will reflect sunlight, so that the rooms will be lighter. Obvious was that the ground floor had high ceilings. This is because the heat could rise in warmer periods of the year, so the it would be cool where the family actually lived.

There are a few explanations why the family would update or renovate the original house. It is possible that they wanted to keep up with the dominant style of houses during different times. More likely is that they wanted to expand the building to show their wealth and reputation in the city and further away. Probably the family knew that their building was some kind of a role model for the area, so I think they also wanted to use their power and reputation to set a standard.

There were 4 bedrooms in the building, one downstairs and three upstairs. Most bedrooms are very simple in design, there is a lack of decoration in them. The beds were traditional sleigh beds. The ceilings were low compared to the ceilings on the ground floor, that is the reason why these bedrooms look so small. Especially the front rooms and the east and west parlors show the wealth of the Morehead family. In the front rooms the primary color of paint is green, because it doens't fade that fast. It was a great experience to see the Blandwood building from the inside. It is definitely a very important building for the area. I think that, when Blandwood took its final form, people were curious about this building and maybe they were a little jealous on the family's wealth too. They must have admired it, and as I said before, this site must have been a role model for the rest of the town.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Re-purpose : Re-use

Hello everyone,

In the class on Tuesday, September 29 we looked around near the border of College Hill neighborhood. There is a lot of industrial activity in this area. The Wafco Mill company is located here and some older industrial buildings too. Also apartment buildings and a part of Greensboro College are located here.

The Wafco Mill complex used to be a factory building. You can notice this by looking at the description on the building, but also by looking at the material the building is made of (brick) and the multiple, large windows. In this way the company could reduce the costs of electricity. Since College Hill is so close to the the campus of both UNC Greensboro and Greensboro College, it is the perfect type of building to turn into an apartment complex for students of one or both colleges.
There is a railroad track next to the building. It is not in use anymore. I think its purpose was to deliver corn and grain to the factory. That must have been an easy way of transportation. Why is not possible to re-use this railroad track and make it a transportation opportunity for students and residents with several stops on the way.
There is also an old big brick building that used to work as a factory of a certain company. In my opinion the building is too old to re-use it, but the property is suitable for a parking lot. I think there are not enough parking lots in College Hill and this property is located very close to the apartment complex Fulton Place. I heard that there are is not enough parking space on and around Fulton Place, so in my opinion this is the opportunity to create a new parking lot.

There are already a few apartment buildings built on the sides of the big streets in College Hill (for example Mendenhall Street).

Another thing that attracted my attention but has not much to do with this assignment, is that sometimes houses in the same row all have very different colors. It looks very nice. It seems like the houses incorporate different pieces of the neighborhood.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Side streets & back alley's

Hello everyone,

Last week we looked at the main streets in the College Hill neighborhood: Mendenhall Street and Tate Street. Now it is time to discuss the side streets, such as Carr, Rankin, Walker, and McGee, and back alley's. At the class of Thursday, September 24 we discover a few things that attracted our/my attention.

The side streets have very different features compared to the main streets in this neighborhood. First of all it became obvious to me that the scale of the houses of the backstreets is smaller. I think people who can afford a little less live here.

We discovered two types of houses. The first type contains the Queen houses. They are also on Mendenhall Street. These houses were built in the 1910's during the Victorian Period. Most of the times the material used for those houses is shingle. The second type of houses in the neighborhood is Bungalow houses. Most houses of this type have a flat roof and are made of brick. We couldn't discover any kind of circels in them. This type is characteristic for the houses that were built in the 1920's. The first picture is an example of a bungalow. It is called a Craftsman style house.
On Carr Street we discovered some kind of storage building or garage. That is a stack. It was really different from the other houses in the street. That made that it attracted our attention while walking down the street. Further down the street was a house that was shaped as a block. It must have been built recently and is an example of an infill. We all agreed that it is a very ugly building, so you'd better don't look at the picture for too long. There is also a very big apartment complex in this neighborhood, mainly for students. There are approximately 45 apartments. It is an example of an infill, because there were houses on this place before. The next picture shows a fence that indicates the end/edge/border of the neighborhood. I consider this as a front, to refer to Clay's vocabulary. In my opinion it is also good to tell you that the streets in the side streets used to be made of brick. You can still see that when you look at the driveways. By the way, in the side streets are a lot more driveways than on the main streets. All side streets are turned into brick now. Furthermore, it attracted our attention that on this side of campus there is zone-permit parking (maximum of two hours). The main streets have a few more parking spaces than these side streets.

Bungalow in Craftsman style

Storage building

The ugly infill house

The big apartment complex

The fence (front)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Mendenhall Muddle

Hey everybody,

In the class on Thursday, September 17 we visited Greensboro College and Mendenhall Street. In this post infill in this part of Greensboro over the years. Infill means that something new replaces the building/land there was before on that place.

The area on and around Greensboro had different names in the past years: Piety Hill, West End and the current name for this area is College Hill. I will explain why those names are chosen. A long time ago the methodist church of Greensboro established Greensboro College as a religious (methodist) school. Since piety means religiousness, this name is declared. The second name is West End, because the government of the city didn't think that Piety Hill was a good name to hold. This is because they didn't want the city to be too religious in its charisma. There also had to be freedom of religion. College Hill is the last name for this area. Hill stands for 'just oudside downtown' and it is exactly the area between UNC Greensboro and Greensboro College, so it is not strange that it is called College Hill.

Then Mendenhall Street. The pink house is the oldest house in this street. It is build in an Italian style, what is known as italianate. It looks great and the details are precise, what is characteristic for this style and for older houses (in Greensboro) in general. The windows are shaped more vertically than in the most other houses.
Two houses further down is a house that is made of brick. This one is newer than the pink house (is built in 1910's). You can see this, because the details are rougher and the building looks more functional than classical.
Number 115 on Mendenhall Street is the newest house of the street. You can become aware of this by noticing that this house faces the side, so it doesn't face Mendenhall Street directly.
Further down the street there is a house that is made of brick and has a flat roof. It serves as an appartment now. That is an example of an infill, because the land is used to create more living space. The building is related to the building across the street. This one looks almost exactly the same and has the same function.
There is also a setback on Mendenhall Street. A path leads to the house that is obviously newer dan the surrounding houses.
Further down the road you can discover a big church. It was built on the place where a couple of houses used to be, so this is an example of a church infill. Across the road is a parking lot for the church that also took the place of a few houses.
Across the street from the parking lot there is a house that used to be a firehouse. That became clear to me when I saw the (kind of) front porch. There is a little round-shaped entrance, where firetruck used to stay and drove in and out. This is also an infill.
Furthermore, there is a nice story about why the stores on Mendenhall Street all are located towards the crossing with Spring Garden Street. I heard that there, several years ago, drove a trolly bus. In the trolly where, of course, potential consumers. That is the reason that store owners wanted to locate their store as close to Spring Garden Street as possible.

The pink house

The brick house built in 1910's

Newest house on Mendenhall Street

One of the two identical apartments

Church with parking lot

A University store near Mendenhall Street

The old firehouse