613 HOLLOWAY / O'BRIANT STORE

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613 HOLLOWAY / O'BRIANT STORE

613
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1915-1920
/ Modified in
2013
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Comments

  • Submitted by Phil on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 2:05am

    The "hover" is for sure nice, and the way it anchors the end of the block with a nice-sized brick bookend, and the way it's nicely visible on its own when you approach from downhill.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 12:52pm

    Very cool post! Years ago, a friend and myself started to try to buy the building, but didn't get far (can't remember exactly what happened...I think the owners decided to hold onto the building). It is also one of my favorite buildings in Durham; hopefully it'll be around for a long time.

  • Submitted by Michael Bacon on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 3:13pm

    The way it sits over the tracks reminds me of the way buildings in other downtowns sit out over rivers. Something about it makes me wish there were a deck out that second story door, either for an upstairs apartment or a restaurant.

  • Submitted by A Durhamite at Heart on Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 3:54am

    Growing up in Durham during the '50s & '60s, I can say this area of Holloway Street was intriguing to me. As a child it felt almost like climbing a mountain, to finally see the neat O'Briant store by the tracks. I LOVE this photo! Keep them coming, Gary.

  • Submitted by Amanda O'Briant on Sunday, January 6, 2008 - 3:12pm

    These are my Dad's family members who owned the store...I will have to show him this.
    Thank you!

    Amanda O'Briant

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Friday, October 3, 2008 - 10:04pm

    this is kinda creepy, well me and my friend were walking through the woods off the cabeland trails off sparger rd. and there was a sleeping bag, pillow and some clothes and paper and under it was an i.d. for a patsy c. powell, born 1944 and issued in 1980 and the adress is 613 holloway street...i was trying to figure out who this is and get some info. please email me at bigb4591@hotmail.com if anyone knows anything.

  • Submitted by Wendy on Friday, December 18, 2009 - 3:35pm

    I've wanted to run a small food market out of this space and live in the yellow house ever since moving to Durham (only 4 years ago). It is, without a doubt, my favorite building in this town. It's also featured in a painting in Watts Grocery on Broad Street.

  • Submitted by Christopher on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 8:24pm

    I think it's really interesting how the M. D. Fletcher lettering has faded away to such a degree that the older J.R. Beck is showing through--things old are new again? Hopefully that can be a metaphor for the rest of the block.

  • Submitted by Karen C. on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 1:49pm

    I love, love, love this building and wish its fairy godmother would arrive soon.

  • Submitted by Shannon Holman on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 2:35pm

    I love this building too--at least from the front.  But round back it's more than I could take on--when i saw it in 11/11 the rear wall was almost totally gone, dragging down a significant portion of the second floor down to the first floor.  The whole back side has been open to the elements for several months now.  At first I thought about just sacrificing the rear third of the building, but to my untrained eye it looks like the front masonry might have some issues too; there are several cracks near the junction of the building and the bridge. 

    The cottage behind the commercial building has flora of both the fungal and leafy variety, the latter due to a big hole in the roof.

    When I looked at this property last November, my rough calculation was that it would take upwards of 300k to stabilize the main building and install the basic systems with no finishing work.

    i'd have to imagine that after a winter another zero would be added to that, making it more than I could prudently invest as an individual, given the going rates for commercial space in the nearby downtown areas.

    But what a crying shame.  

    How about this becomes the next Scientific Properties project?

  • Submitted by Ken Gasch on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 9:27pm

    Early last week, we closed on the O'Briant Store and the house next door, 613 and 611 Holloway. Thank you to Cathleen Turner, Gene Tatum and Julie Seagroves for all of their help. Thank you Karine and Dennis for your support. Thank you to Ceasar Walthour's heirs for entrusting the property to me. Structurally, the store is in need of more immediate attention than is the house, therefore the store will initially garner the majority of our attention.

  • Submitted by gary on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 9:32pm

    Kudos to you, Ken for stepping up to save this wonderful building - it's a treasured landmark of Durham, and certainly one of my favorite buildings

  • Submitted by PeterK on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 9:31am

    Construction activity here. You can see scaffolding at the rear of the building as you head west on Holloway.

  • Submitted by kengasch on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 6:04am

    Rear wall rebuilt. 

  • Submitted by Audrey Evans on Friday, June 6, 2014 - 11:38am

    I noticed that the sign was reverting back to J R Beck too-except the R seems to still be the D from M. D. Fletcher's time. Now curious about J R Beck as I knew Becks who lived maybe a couple of houses above this store when I was a kid.

  • Submitted by Durhamite on Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 10:07pm

    This building was cool and remarkable in the 1970's when I was growing up. What a nice thing that Mr. Gasch has done here. It really looks good.

  • Submitted by David Beck on Friday, September 5, 2014 - 8:19am

    This is my great grandfathers old store. John Roy Beck Sr.. He sold this place and opened another "general store" at 1605 Geer street. Which is still standing. My father owns it now. John Roy Beck III.
    It's nice to see the old store renovated.

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Last updated

  • Mon, 02/24/2014 - 1:52pm by gary

Comments

613
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1915-1920
/ Modified in
2013
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

One of my favorite buildings in Durham is the O'Briant store. Established ~1 block away on Railroad St. by RP O'Briant (who lived in the house directly across the railroad tracks from this building) prior to 1905, the grocery store moved to this location around 1915. The initial wood frame structure was replaced by this brick building soon afterwards.

This was the neighborhood grocery store for the immediate surround throughout the early 20th century. It was taken over by JR Beck in the 1920s and MD Fletcher somewhat later.


Looking west from the Holloway St. bridge (wooden bridge, I might add,) 1950s.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

The store appears to have gone out of business by the early 1960s. Supermarkets were not kind to these little stores.


Looking north, 1964.

But by the 1970s, it was rented by a tailor.


Looking northwest, 1970s.
(Courtesy State Archives)

Today it is owned by the people who live in 611 Holloway, just to the west. It hasn't been a retail store for a long time, and I don't know if it is simply empty or used for some purpose.


Looking northwest, Dec. 2006.


Looking northeast, Sept. 2007.

I can't exactly explain why I am so fond of this building. It's a great little commercial building, but I think the way one would enter from a cut-through on the bridge, and the way it hovers over the railroad tracks are part of it.


Looking up/west from the railroad tracks, Dec. 2006.

OBriantStore_acrossbridge_021911.jpg

02.19.11

OBriantStore_NW_021911.jpg

02.19.11

Preservation North Carolina managed to option the property in February 2011. The building is in rougher shape than I realized, unfortunately. The entire back 1/3 of the structure (between the side walls, which are fine) would need replacing. 

613Holloway_rear_030311.jpg

03.03.11

613Holloway_underbridge_030311.jpg

03.03.11

I'm glad that I didn't see how minimally these stairs were supported until after I'd gone up them.

613Holloway_firstflrint_030311.jpg

03.03.11

The back wall of this building collapsed during the little earthquake we had in August 2011, and the interior joists towards the rear of the building have (mostly) collapsed as well. The loss of these ties has rendered the east and west bearing walls unstable. As of January 2012, I fear that this building has very little time left without intervention; I believe either gravity or NIS will take down the building before Summer 2012. 

Update, August 2012.

Good news, in that Ken Gasch purchased this property and 611 Holloway and intends to restore both. As of early August, he had started interior demo/cleanout work.

613Holloway_int_080812.jpg

08.08.12

09.27.13 (Photo by Ken Gasch)

Update 2.2014 - Ken Gasch is one of the few people I know who would take this on and make it work successfully. He's completed two residential for-rent units in the building and pulled it back from the brink.

02.2014

02.2014

02.2014

Comments

The "hover" is for sure nice, and the way it anchors the end of the block with a nice-sized brick bookend, and the way it's nicely visible on its own when you approach from downhill.

Very cool post! Years ago, a friend and myself started to try to buy the building, but didn't get far (can't remember exactly what happened...I think the owners decided to hold onto the building). It is also one of my favorite buildings in Durham; hopefully it'll be around for a long time.

The way it sits over the tracks reminds me of the way buildings in other downtowns sit out over rivers. Something about it makes me wish there were a deck out that second story door, either for an upstairs apartment or a restaurant.

Growing up in Durham during the '50s & '60s, I can say this area of Holloway Street was intriguing to me. As a child it felt almost like climbing a mountain, to finally see the neat O'Briant store by the tracks. I LOVE this photo! Keep them coming, Gary.

These are my Dad's family members who owned the store...I will have to show him this.
Thank you!

Amanda O'Briant

this is kinda creepy, well me and my friend were walking through the woods off the cabeland trails off sparger rd. and there was a sleeping bag, pillow and some clothes and paper and under it was an i.d. for a patsy c. powell, born 1944 and issued in 1980 and the adress is 613 holloway street...i was trying to figure out who this is and get some info. please email me at bigb4591@hotmail.com if anyone knows anything.

I've wanted to run a small food market out of this space and live in the yellow house ever since moving to Durham (only 4 years ago). It is, without a doubt, my favorite building in this town. It's also featured in a painting in Watts Grocery on Broad Street.

I think it's really interesting how the M. D. Fletcher lettering has faded away to such a degree that the older J.R. Beck is showing through--things old are new again? Hopefully that can be a metaphor for the rest of the block.

I love, love, love this building and wish its fairy godmother would arrive soon.

I love this building too--at least from the front.  But round back it's more than I could take on--when i saw it in 11/11 the rear wall was almost totally gone, dragging down a significant portion of the second floor down to the first floor.  The whole back side has been open to the elements for several months now.  At first I thought about just sacrificing the rear third of the building, but to my untrained eye it looks like the front masonry might have some issues too; there are several cracks near the junction of the building and the bridge. 

The cottage behind the commercial building has flora of both the fungal and leafy variety, the latter due to a big hole in the roof.

When I looked at this property last November, my rough calculation was that it would take upwards of 300k to stabilize the main building and install the basic systems with no finishing work.

i'd have to imagine that after a winter another zero would be added to that, making it more than I could prudently invest as an individual, given the going rates for commercial space in the nearby downtown areas.

But what a crying shame.  

How about this becomes the next Scientific Properties project?

Early last week, we closed on the O'Briant Store and the house next door, 613 and 611 Holloway. Thank you to Cathleen Turner, Gene Tatum and Julie Seagroves for all of their help. Thank you Karine and Dennis for your support. Thank you to Ceasar Walthour's heirs for entrusting the property to me. Structurally, the store is in need of more immediate attention than is the house, therefore the store will initially garner the majority of our attention.

Kudos to you, Ken for stepping up to save this wonderful building - it's a treasured landmark of Durham, and certainly one of my favorite buildings

Construction activity here. You can see scaffolding at the rear of the building as you head west on Holloway.

Rear wall rebuilt. 

I noticed that the sign was reverting back to J R Beck too-except the R seems to still be the D from M. D. Fletcher's time. Now curious about J R Beck as I knew Becks who lived maybe a couple of houses above this store when I was a kid.

This building was cool and remarkable in the 1970's when I was growing up. What a nice thing that Mr. Gasch has done here. It really looks good.

This is my great grandfathers old store. John Roy Beck Sr.. He sold this place and opened another "general store" at 1605 Geer street. Which is still standing. My father owns it now. John Roy Beck III.
It's nice to see the old store renovated.

Add new comment