Historic Lyon Park: keeping Durham’s memories alive

Historic photos on the walls of Lyon Park chronicle the importance of the center to the community.


Durham is known for its strong Parks and Recreation Department, updated parks and equipment and active community centers, but the Lyon Park Center is proud of its historical record within the Southwest Central Durham area.

Photos and information panels line the walls of the Community Family Life & Recreation Center at Lyon Park, attesting to rich history they have in the West End community. (Staff photo by Kevin Crawford)

“This building was built in 1930, and it was just standing for a while. It was a sore eye in the community, for a lot of bad things to happen in the area until it got rebuilt by Rev. Davis and fellow community members,” Executive Director of the community center Rebecca Oats said.

Once rebuilt in 1993, the Recreation Center was officially formed as a nonprofit organization established to help address the economic, educational, and human enrichment needs of the West End Community and its residents in the Southwest Central Durham area.

Following a couple years later in 1996, the people of Durham approved a bond referendum allocating $6.4 million towards the Lyon Park School’s renovation. In October 2002, the Community Family Life & Recreation Center at Lyon Park (CFLRC) opened its doors for all Durham residents to enjoy.

The Community Family Life & Recreation Center has a full schedule of events and activities to keep the community involved and intrigued. Some of these include afterschool tutoring in all subjects, the national Girls who Code non-profit program, senior activities, a computer lab and even a health clinic. The full list is available on their website: http://thewecf.org

Besides their own programming, the center houses other community organizations.

“In the building, we have Coalition for Peace, Partners for Youth Opportunities, True Worship Church. We also have Kidznotes, which started in east Durham. Kidznotes is a program that teaches children how to use instruments that is not normal for most children,” Oats said.

Like all of Durham’s wonderful parks, Lyon Park has a spacious, fun play area for kids. (Staff photo by Kevin Crawford)

Other activities include, an open track for walking and is free to the public during the hours of operation of the center.

The CFLRC is home to many opportunities designed to help youth and teens build a foundation for a successful future.

They are located on 1309 Halley St. and open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.