Ashton Place came into being between 1898-1902. The short one-block segment was originally the continuation of Jackson Street, which turned to meet West Pettigrew Street perpendicularly. The street heading eastward from this intersection towards the Blackwell Factory was Dandy Street. In 1902, this "Dandy" segment was named Ashton Place; by 1907, the street heading east-west was entirely Jackson, and the segment turning northward to Pettigrew was Ashton Place.
The street was mostly residential, as was the neigborhood to the south, until the 1960s. Urban Renewal wiped out all of the houses, and construction of the Downtowner Motel cut off the street's connection with West Pettigrew; it remained a cul-de-sac off of Jackson Street until ~2008, when it was eliminated for the construction of the new Durham Bus Station.