DukeTower - So much more than a hotel, close to Duke Medical Center
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The Rich Heritage of Duke Tower

The site of Duke Tower All-Condominium Hotel played a significant role in the South's entry into textiles during the 1890s. The land was originally acquired in 1870 by Brodie L. Duke and the deed was recorded on a simple hand-written fragment of paper in 1892. The following year, Brodie Duke built Pearl Mill, a large structure that stood here for over eighty years.

Pearl Mill produced wide white muslins and sheeting of the very finest quality. Business prospered under the leadership of William A. Erwin who began managing the mill in 1899. In 1919 it was purchased by Mr. Erwin and a group of investors. Erwin was an astute businessman, and a genius in cotton mill management as well as a great humanitarian.

Following the death of William Erwin in 1932 the mill was purchased and modernized by Erwin Mills. The mill, renamed Erwin Mill No. 6, became part of their sprawling seven-mill chain in Piedmont, North Carolina.

Erwin Mills became a division of Burlington Industries in 1962 with production continuing at the Pearl Mill location until 1968. The mill lay idle and empty for several years and its stately tower appeared doomed in the name of progress.

Portions of the original architecture were retained in the design and construction of Duke Tower All-Condominium Hotel. Antique bricks from the factory walls were used for all brickwork, and the towering smokestack is now surrounded with a patio at the base. The original tower, which once housed a shrieking steam whistle and water tank for fires, is preserved in the central courtyard and is now home to the Historic Tower Café. It stands as a permanent landmark and a nostalgic link with history. Photos of the original mill and surrounding area are displayed inside the tower.

Duke Tower is located between the historic areas of Old North Durham, the refurbished lofts of former warehouses, Brightleaf Square and other areas of notable interest from Durham’s early days.


Duke Tower - All Condominium Hotel | © 2008-2010 All Rights Reserved | 807 West Trinity Ave., Durham, NC 27701, TOLL FREE 866-385-3869, Phone 919-687-4444, 919 683-1215 (fax)
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