Durham (dûrˈăm) [key], city (1990 pop. 136,611), seat of Durham co., N central N.C., in the Piedmont area; inc. 1867. Once a major tobacco and textile center, Durham is a research and education center. Manufacturers include medical, computer, electronic, and telecommunications equipment; plastic, paper, and lumber products; and aircraft components. The area was settled c.1750. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered nearby to Gen. William T. Sherman during the Civil War. After the war the tobacco industry began with James B. Duke as the leading manufacturer. Economic growth was spurred with the establishment (1959) of the Research Triangle Park, in the triangular area between Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, which utilizes the concentration of university research talent in those three cities. Durham is the seat of Duke Univ., North Carolina Central Univ., and Durham Technical Community College. Of interest are the Sarah P. Duke Memorial Gardens and the Children's Nature Museum. The American Dance Festival is held in the city each summer.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.