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The surprises you can find in the rubble of Kent Corner

What the bulldozers leave behind 

By mid-December, bulldozers had razed the West End Community Center and All My Children day care, and had uprooted the community garden plots, where tomato vines had borne the last of their fruit earlier this fall.

Rechristened Kent Corner, this lot will include green space and two new buildings: The Center for Child and Family Health, which helps kids who have experienced trauma, and Durham Central Market, a locally owned co-op grocery. The West End, one of the city's most diverse areas, is on the verge of becoming the Next Big Neighborhood.

Although the old buildings had been demolished, on this day the concrete had not been scraped of all the debris. The purple-and-yellow awning of All My Children, which had always caught my eye as I waited at for the green arrow at Kent and West Chapel Hill streets, lay contorted in a heap of scrap. It had poured the day before, so artifacts had surfaced from the thick mud, which became so heavy on my shoes that, I felt like I had anvils on my feet. Eventually I spotted a flash of color poking through the brown and gray: a child's foam bowling pin and a fire alarm.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Kent Corner is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6, at 3 p.m. at the site. A reception follows at 4 p.m. nearby at The Cookery, 1101 W. Chapel Hill St. RSVP at or 919-956-4621.

Urban Archaeology is a bimonthly column that documents found objects, photos, overheard dialogue, poignant scenes; the small, everyday true moments that define life in the Triangle. Contribute to this column at

  • The surprises you can find in the rubble of Kent Corner


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