Documenting the American South

Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Durham Bull, Durham

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Animal Monuments


  • Creator

    Leah Foushee, Sculptor

    Michael Waller, Sculptor

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    This statue depicts a bull, a symbol for Durham since the 1800s, and stands 10 feet tall. The monument reinforces the strong qualities of the city and its inhabitants, even in the face of negative perceptions of the area. It is located downtown Durham.

    Images: Bull head | Back View

  • Inscription

    On plaque:
    The Central Carolina Bank Plaza and "Major," the bronze bull sculpture, were given to the citizens of Durham through a grant from the Central Carolina Bank in memory of George Watts Hill. A World War II veteran, Major Hill was Bank President and Chairman of the Board for 61 years.

    A visionary, business leader and philanthropist, his ideals had a profound impact on out city and the State of North Carolina. A strong support of the arts, it was his belief that through the arts he would improve the quality of life for all citizens of our state.

    Although banking was his life's work, in his heart he was an architect and renaissance man - known to his friends as "Major."

  • Custodian

    Durham Non-Profit Liberty Arts, Inc.

  • Dedication Date

    June 23, 2007

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.995680 , -78.902070 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Gronberg, Ray. “City Rises From Construction,” The Herald Sun (Durham, NC), June 24, 2007, A1

      “One Ton Bull Afoot in Durham Central Park,” Durham Bulls-Eye E-News, October 21, 2003, (accessed April 20, 2012) Link

      “The Birth of a Bronze Icon,” Durham Bulls-Eye E-News, August 27, 2004, (accessed April 20, 2012) Link

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques


  • Sponsors

    Central Carolina Bank (CCB)

  • Nickname


  • Subject Notes

    The bull has been a symbol associated with the Durham area dating back to the 1800s, when in the post-Civil War era the merchant John R. Green branded his product “Bull” Durham Tobacco. At Green’s death in 1869, William T. Blackwell purchased the name and trademark. Subsequently, in 1898, James B. Duke bought the tobacco company, making it a part of his American Tobacco Company, thus increasing Durham’s national reputation as a tobacco-manufacturing center. Durham has been known as the “Bull City” ever since.

  • Controversies

    Many individuals who have observed the statue have pointed out the prevalence of the bull’s testicles.

  • Landscape

    The statue is located in downtown Durham, in the City Center Plaza.

  • Post Dedication Use

    Since the dedication of this monument, there have a string of sculptures dedicated in the downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham areas that, much like the bull statue, are commemorations of the characters of the cities, rather than monuments dedicated to specific people or event. During the “Occupy” movement in 2011 the bull statue served as a rallying area for the Occupy Durham protests.

  • Approval Process

    CCB commissioned to have the George Watts Hill Pavilion built (it was dedicated on October 24, 2003), and selected the bronze bull statue project to be the pavilion’s first undertaking.

  • Materials & Assembly Cost

    All materials and costs were donated by CCB.

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