Celebrating Durham and 150 Years of Innovation

Durham’s sesquicentennial, a yearlong celebration of the City of Durham’s 150th anniversary of incorporation in 2019, is now over. The anniversary year encouraged Durhamites and visitors to explore themes of history and education, innovation and entrepreneurship, social equity and robust democracy, as well as arts and leisure.

The year of celebration was supported by the City of Durham, Discover Durham, the Museum of Durham History, as well as the generous contributions of Durham residents, businesses, and organizations.




“I Choose Durham”

Anthem Premiere

Durham 150 commissioned a talented team of musicians to create an official Durham anthem as part of the City of Durham’s 150th-anniversary commemoration. Watch the world premiere of the “I Choose Durham” anthem, which debuted at the Durham 150 Closing Ceremony presented by Duke University and Duke Health at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on November 2, 2019.

The Durham 150 Opening Celebration

The Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna on April 13 at the American Tobacco Campus was a testament to Durham’s spirit. Three days after a tragic gas explosion shook downtown Durham, approximately 1,500 people came together in the rain to support the community and celebrate the anniversary of the city’s incorporation.

A Year of Celebration

Look back on 150+ sesquicentennial events.

To ensure diverse and accessible programming, the Durham 150 Convening Committee set a goal encouraging more than 150 community-led events to take place during the 2019 calendar year. Look back on a year of events honoring Durham’s past, celebrating the present, and charting the future.

See the Full List of Events

The Durham 150 Closing Ceremony

The Durham 150 Closing Ceremony Presented by Duke University & Duke Health on November 2 at the Durham Performing Arts Center honored 29 individuals whose contributions shaped Durham in important ways. The ceremony was also the premiere of the “I Choose Durham” anthem.


Of Durham

NC Mutual Life Insurance Company

More than 100 years ago, Durham’s Parrish Street evolved into one of the nation’s strongest African American entrepreneurial enclaves.

Durham 150

Durham, NC is unapologetically a city rich in history and a city on the move.

Durham is the ‘hippest city’ in North Carolina, the ‘Tastiest Town in the South,’ and leads the country in developing a creative community. It’s a beacon of the South built on innovation and regeneration, and it’s poised to take the bull by its horns and thrive for the next 150 years… and beyond.

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From Tobacco to Tech

Since its inception, Durham has served as a hub for innovation. From tobacco, to education, healthcare and technology, the people of Durham are used to finding creative solutions.