SIDNEY ROCHELLE HOUSE

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SIDNEY ROCHELLE HOUSE

1714
,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Comments

  • Submitted by Chris Graham on Friday, May 23, 2008 - 1:41pm

    S.E. Rochelle's nephew, who lives in the eastern reaches of Durham had all of his uncle's memorabilia in a shed behind his house and it was indeed set up as a small museum. Nephew couldn't care for it anymore, so donated most of the military stuff to the N.C. Museum of History. That set of uniforms was one of the best collections I was ever involved with acquisitioning while at the museum. Anyhow, Rochelle was heavily involved in veterans reunion activities for the 43rd United States Volunteers (his Philippines unit)through the 1940s and his nephew also has several shelf-feet worth of papers related to that. He also has scores of photographs of Rochelle in Durham and of his motorcycle club across the country. To be honest, I don't recall if the family still has those, or if they were donated to the Durham library.

    To see the collection in the museum, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org and click on the "artifacts" button, then "search the collections" and type in "rochelle, sidney e." Near the end of the collection is a unique campaign button for a Durham mayor's race in the early 20th Century.

  • Submitted by Gary on Friday, May 23, 2008 - 3:57pm

    Thanks for the additional info and providing the linkage, Chris - I scanned the two top photographs (and the other Rochelle/motorcycle photographs on this site) from the prints that the Durham County Library received from a family member (I actually think it was from Sidney himself before he died.) So I know that they have some photos - I only scanned the Durham ones.

    GK

  • Submitted by Gerald on Friday, May 23, 2008 - 5:35pm

    That is a Harley-Davidson V-Twin for sure. I'm not enough of an expert to tell what year.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 - 8:10pm

    Looks to me like a 1919 1000cc V-twin.

    Most Harleys are V-twins, btw--it's the key to their famous (or infamous) sound.

    -david

  • Submitted by Sonnie C Rochel... on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 4:23pm

    The nephew referred ro above was my father, Sonnie C Rochelle, Sr.

    Sonnie C Rpchelle, Jr

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Friday, January 23, 2009 - 10:19pm

    Finally got a chance to read some of the past posts and was excited to see so much on Rochelle. My grandfather worked for him as a lock and gunsmith.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 11:38am

    I now bike past this house everyday on my way to work in Chapel Hill. A part of me very much wants to fix it up. The other part of me knows I have to finish up on my own house. It reminds me of a Sears house I used to live in.

  • Submitted by Andrew Edmonds on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 2:50pm

    The North Carolina State Archives has a flickr photostream of images from Rochelle's motorcycle exploits:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/north-carolina-state-archives/sets/72157622...

  • Submitted by sandy on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 8:27pm

    Sidney was my maternal grandfather's uncle (Dennis E. Rochelle). More pics are in the NC State Archives Photo-stream Collection, listed under the album entitled "motorcycles".

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Last updated

  • Sun, 07/24/2011 - 12:45pm by gary

Comments

1714
,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Sidney E. Rochelle and his wife in their 1714 Chapel Hill Road front yard, 1920s 1713 Chapel Hill is in the background. From a brief bit of internet research, I believe this is a V-Twin Harley.

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Sidney Rochelle is one of my favorite Durham historical characters. He was born in 1878 in Durham County and attended Durham's first public graded school, located in the Wright Factory on West Main St. He served in the Spanish-American War, and fighting in the Philippines, he survived a battle that saw 80% of his company killed. He returned to Durham in 1901.

He took over his deceased father's fish stand at an old city market located at the south end of Church St. - later the location of Union Station. When the city market moved to the new municipal building/Academy of Music Rochelle decided that the rent was too high and left the business.

He then began working with a man named HA Gaskins, who ran a phonograph, music, bicycle, lock and gun store. By 1910, he decided to strike out on his own, opening a gun, bicycle, battery and motorcycle shop at the northeast corner of Corcoran and Parrish Sts. In 1912, Rochelle and his wife moved into their new house at 1714 Chapel Hill Road.

Rochelle became the first Harley-Davidson dealer in North Carolina and organized an early motorcycle club that traveled all over the United States (see one picture in Durham here.) I don't know much about the history of touring motorcycle clubs, but I'd have to imagine that this was pretty unique in the 1910s. Rochelle supplied motorcycles to local businesses for their deliveries, and organized bicycle outings for Durham youth.

He collected antique guns and phonographs, and had in his possession for many years a phonograph that had belonged to Washington Duke.

His store moved to Mangum St., and had several different locations before settling on a location in the 300 block of North Mangum St.

He retired around 1954, and intended to turn his house into a museum of sorts to house his artifacts.


SE Rochelle and his wife in front of 1714 Chapel Hill Road, 1950s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

I'm not sure what happened to that notion - I know most of Rochelle's artifacts were donated to the NC Museum of History (see comments,) including his Spanish-American War uniform. Rochelle died in 1960.

By the 1970s, the Rochelle house was converted to a commercial use - an interior decorating store.

It appears to be quite a bit more downtrodden at this point, and I'm not sure whether there is any active business in the house at this point or not.

35.991268,-78.923452

Comments

S.E. Rochelle's nephew, who lives in the eastern reaches of Durham had all of his uncle's memorabilia in a shed behind his house and it was indeed set up as a small museum. Nephew couldn't care for it anymore, so donated most of the military stuff to the N.C. Museum of History. That set of uniforms was one of the best collections I was ever involved with acquisitioning while at the museum. Anyhow, Rochelle was heavily involved in veterans reunion activities for the 43rd United States Volunteers (his Philippines unit)through the 1940s and his nephew also has several shelf-feet worth of papers related to that. He also has scores of photographs of Rochelle in Durham and of his motorcycle club across the country. To be honest, I don't recall if the family still has those, or if they were donated to the Durham library.

To see the collection in the museum, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org and click on the "artifacts" button, then "search the collections" and type in "rochelle, sidney e." Near the end of the collection is a unique campaign button for a Durham mayor's race in the early 20th Century.

Thanks for the additional info and providing the linkage, Chris - I scanned the two top photographs (and the other Rochelle/motorcycle photographs on this site) from the prints that the Durham County Library received from a family member (I actually think it was from Sidney himself before he died.) So I know that they have some photos - I only scanned the Durham ones.

GK

That is a Harley-Davidson V-Twin for sure. I'm not enough of an expert to tell what year.

Looks to me like a 1919 1000cc V-twin.

Most Harleys are V-twins, btw--it's the key to their famous (or infamous) sound.

-david

The nephew referred ro above was my father, Sonnie C Rochelle, Sr.

Sonnie C Rpchelle, Jr

Finally got a chance to read some of the past posts and was excited to see so much on Rochelle. My grandfather worked for him as a lock and gunsmith.

I now bike past this house everyday on my way to work in Chapel Hill. A part of me very much wants to fix it up. The other part of me knows I have to finish up on my own house. It reminds me of a Sears house I used to live in.

The North Carolina State Archives has a flickr photostream of images from Rochelle's motorcycle exploits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/north-carolina-state-archives/sets/72157622...

Sidney was my maternal grandfather's uncle (Dennis E. Rochelle). More pics are in the NC State Archives Photo-stream Collection, listed under the album entitled "motorcycles".

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