Speaking of history
Gary's got some practically ancient Durham history (well, 1830s anyway) up on his blog today.
When Dilliard died in 1824, William Pratt bought his land and established a store on the Hillborough Road.
This store was accompanied by a "grog shop" and a "tavern." (I don't know the difference.) It also had a cotton gin and press, as well as a blacksmith's shop. The post office was soon transferred to Pratt's store.
The settlement quickly gained a reputation for intemperate activity. Jean Anderson details a court case brought against Pratt in 1833 for:
"keeping a disorderly house for his own lucre and gain at unlawful times as well on Sundays as on other days [for] evil disposed persons of evil name and fame and conversation to come together [to] upset the peace and dignity of the state [by] drinking, tipling, playing at cards and other unlawful games, cursing, screaming, quarreling, and otherwise misbehaving themselves."
It's worth noting that one of the Durham area's other dens-of-iniquity, Pinhook (in the area of the Erwin Mil/9th St. in West Durham) was originally owned by Pratt as well. While debauchery along a major transportation route neither began nor ended with Pratt, he, as any good businessman, knew his customers' taste. Barter was often the transaction method of choice - exchanging bushels of corn for liquor was not uncommon.
No wonder i felt so at home here from the first time i turned off the freeway at the Duke St. exit.