Richard Harvey Wright

Richard Harvey Wright (1851-1929) owned a number of Durham businesses, including the Wright Machinery Co. and the electric utility Durham Traction Co. Wright was a native of Louisburg and came to Durham to manage a store but soon went into the tobacco business. Wright bought Washington Duke's interest in W. Duke Sons & Co. when the elder Duke retired in 1880, but left it four years later in a dispute over reorganization.

For some time he sold cigarette-making machines overseas, then secured rights to manufacture British tobacco-packaging machinery in the U.S. The Wright Machinery Co., on Holloway Street east of downtown Durham, diversified into navigation instruments and electronics, manufacturing equipment for the U.S. Navy during World War II, the Apollo moon-landing program in the 1960s, and top-secret guidance devices for military aircraft.

Wright also became a partner with Julian S. Carr in a horse-drawn streetcar company in the 1890s, keeping the franchise after Carr's withdrawal and electrifying the line in 1902. To attract riders, he built a baseball park at one end of a line, on Driver Street, and an amusement park, Lakewood Park, on the other end along the Chapel Hill Road.

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