Over Halloween weekend of 2008, Preservation Durham offered its inaugural Ghost [building] Tour. That tour, in part inspired by the description in Endangered Durham of lost structures throughout downtown, invited participants to experience -- in situ -- historic streetscapes of downtown Durham.
While standing in the location of the original photographer, tour participants viewed semi-transparent photographs of hotels and movie theaters and saw contemporary life peeking through. None of these buildings remain (hence, their "ghost" status); parking lots cover most of the parcels formerly occupied by these structures.
Excerpts from the tour booklet are listed below, along with the individually profiled Endangered Durham features.
MOVIE THEATERS IN DURHAM
Longtime Herald-Sun columnist Wyatt Dixon stated that the Dreamland Theatre, which opened in 1907 holds the distinction of being the first motion picture house in town. The nation was swept by “nickel madness” as nickelodeon theaters sprung up in all sorts of converted storefronts. Orchestras and organists filled the halls with accompanying music and sound effects to heighten the (silent) film-watching experience. Films often lasted less than ten minutes and were rarely exhibited more than a day or two.
After 1915, theater owners began offering scheduled showings, reserved seating, improved heating and ventilation – and charged higher admission prices. They paid more attention to drawing in customers by erecting wide canopies, electrically-lit vertical signs, and a box office right on the sidewalk. The nickelodeons gave way to the movie palaces of the 1920s. The elegant and elaborately designed Carolina Theatre and the black-owned Regal Theatre are indicative of this change.
By the late 1930s, theatre design became more streamlined and focused on technological advance. The modern architecture of the Center Theater, one of the few new movie houses to open in downtown Durham after the Depression, reflects this sentiment.
Fast-forward two decades and urban movie theaters began to suffer as downtowns across the US emptied. The 1950s and 1960s brought suburbanization, drive-in movies, and TV culture. Nationwide attendance dropped dramatically, from 90 million movie-goers weekly in 1948 to 17.7 million weekly in 1970. In Durham, Urban Renewal dealt the fatal blows, condemning the Criterion, the Regal, and the Rialto.
The Carolina was spared a similar fate by the tireless work of visionaries like Monte and Constance Moses and Pepper Fluke. Today, with its wide programming of live entertainment and acclaimed film festivals, the Carolina Theatre is a crown jewel of Durham’s architectural and cultural legacy – and has been the only venue to show films consistently during the last 30 years.
HOTELS IN DURHAM
While a variety of boarding houses cropped up all over Durham, the earliest hotels were primarily located near the train station. Robert Morris opened the first of these in 1858, shortly after the NC Railroad Company built a station on land donated by country doctor Bartlett Durham. Julian S. Carr replaced Morris’ hotel first with the Claiborn, in 1885, and then the extravagant and Queen Anne-styled Carrolina, in 1891.
By 1905 Union Station had been built two blocks further east at the foot of Church Street – and many new hotels sprung up within easy walking distance to the new rail station. For ten years, the Malbourne was the luxury hotel of Durham. Conversely, the Lochmoor catered to the business crowd by providing space for traveling salesmen to display their wares, called sample rooms.
The arrival of the stately Washington Duke Hotel in 1925 heralded a new era for downtown Durham. Described as the finest hotel south of Washington, DC, it was an iconic image of Durham for fifty years until its demise by implosion in 1975. Meanwhile, in Hayti, the Biltmore was billed as “America’s Finest Colored Hotel” and was one of only a few hotels where African-Americans could stay in Jim Crow North Carolina. It opened in the 1920s and was destroyed by Urban Renewal in the 1970s.
Suburbanization and the automobile changed the lodging habits of Americans during the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, three motor inns were established in the downtown core, but soon more motels were appearing along the periphery of the suburbs. Just as with the movie theatres, urban hotels were in decline.
Durham’s five bed and breakfasts have led the way back to downtown accommodations and will soon be joined by five new siblings in the coming months.
STOPS ALONG THE 2008 PRESERVATION DURHAM GHOST [BUILDING] TOUR:
Edward J Parrish, the first man in Durham to open a tobacco auction warehouse, built an arcade of shops beside the Union Station in 1909, and an adjoining hotel (the Lochmoor) two years later. Located on this site was the Arcade Theatre, a nickelodeon that stayed in business for only a few short years.
Between 1905 and 1914, the nation was swept by “nickel madness” as nickelodeon theaters sprung up in all sorts of converted storefronts. These theaters were often located in working-class neighborhoods, but in Durham they were prominently sited near the train station, hotels, and City Hall. While the exterior of these structures may have been embellished with art nouveau flourishes, the interior would have been sparsely decorated with rows of benches. Orchestras and organists filled the halls with accompanying music and sound effects to heighten the (silent) film-watching experience. Films often lasted less than ten minutes and were rarely exhibited more than a day or two.
Durham had several nickelodeons, including the Edisonia (125 E Main), the Paris (121 E Main), the Strand (110 E Main), the Dreamland (112 N Mangum), and the Electric (211-13 W Main). None of these structures still stands today, save the Electric, which was housed in the Jourdan building, currently occupied by the Main Street Pharmacy.
After the racially-inflammatory 12-reel The Birth of a Nation appeared in 1915, movie-goers preferred to watch feature-length films, not the shorter pictures. Theater owners began offering scheduled showings, reserved seating, improved heating and ventilation – and charged higher admission prices. They paid more attention to drawing in customers by erecting wide canopies and marquees, electrically-lit vertical signs and chaser lights, and a box office right on the sidewalk. The nickelodeons and their nickel-priced tickets gave way to the movie palaces of the 1920s. The elegant and elaborately-designed Carolina Theatre and the black-owned Regal Theatre are indicative of this change.
As for the Arcade, it was torn down. It had sat between the Lochmoor and the original County Courthouse. The County built a larger courthouse in 1916, and the Lochmoor was replaced by the County Social Services building in 1965. The ghost of the Arcade fits in the space between these two modern structures.
In 1907, the Corcoran Hotel occupied this location. Thirty years later, half of that structure was removed to make way for the construction of the Center Theater. The architectural style of the Center was Art Deco/Moderne with large white facades and staircase-step profile along the ridge as well as vertical, striated corner façade ending in three-sided marquee. The theater was managed by Charles H. Lewis.
Nickelodeon theatres, which dominated the early years, were ephemeral and set up in existing storefronts. In the 1920s, elegantly-designed “movie palaces”, like the Carolina, were de rigueur. By the late 1930s, theatre design became more streamlined and focused on technological advance. “The continual emphasis on being „new-fashioned‟ was an integral part of motion picture theatre design from the days of the storefront and was one reason why each theatre type lasted only a few years.” [a] The modern architecture of the Center Theater, one of the few new movie houses to open in downtown Durham after the Depression, reflects this sentiment.
Fast-forward two decades and urban movie theaters began to suffer as downtowns across the US emptied. The 1950s and 1960s brought suburbanization, drive-in movies, TV culture, Urban Renewal, and social unrest, which eventually led to desegregation of the theaters. Nationwide attendance dropped dramatically, from 90 million movie-goers weekly in 1948 to 17.7 million weekly in 1970.
The owners of the Center Theater, subject to integrationist protests, decamped to the suburbs (Lakewood Shopping Center) in 1966. The following year, the Center was demolished and replaced by a bank, which also retains a modern architectural flair. This whimsical replacement is currently home to the joint offices of two of Durham’s oldest and esteemed black financial institutions (the Mutual Community Savings and Mechanics and Farmers banks), an ironic ending for the once-segregated movie theater.
[a] Maggie Valentine: The Show Starts on the Sidewalk: An Architectural history of the movie theatre, 1994.
Located less than a block from the Trinity United Methodist church (which sits on the highest point inside the Loop), the Criterion was, in its later years, a skin-flick movie house. The City of Durham purchased the theatre and the adjacent property in 1963, causing some eyebrows to raise. When asked about the leasing arrangement with the theatre operator, then Mayor Wense Grabarek sanguinely replied that movies are viewed “with different levels of acceptability” (quoted in Morning Herald article of July 9, 1970).
Durhamite Howard Margolis recalled the 1957 showing of And God created Woman, featuring a young Brigitte Bardot and her bared breasts. Ticket reservations were quickly sold and the theater was packed tighter than if a Duke-Carolina basketball game had been scheduled.
The Criterion, or the “Crit” as it was known, had a less sullied reputation early in its life, when musicals were performed there. Still, it was well-known later for the X-rated films. In particular, visiting conventioneers used to find entertainment at the Crit. The 1970 management spokesman said, “We know they‟re conventioneers because they still have the cards on their lapels. We have more convention people than any other theater because more people are downtown and can just walk around the block.”
Durhamites had other movie-going options nearby, though, if a show like this was sold out: the Rialto was around the corner to the left (at 219 E Main) and the Uptown was around the corner to the right (at 121 E Main). None of these structures remains today. When the Criterion closed its doors in 1975, the last remaining place to see a movie in downtown Durham was the Carolina Theatre. That is still true today, over thirty years later.
What became of the Crit? She was taken by Urban Renewal when the City of Durham decided that they need more downtown parking near the government offices and agencies.
Herald Sun columnist Wyatt Dixon’s article from June 7, 1943 states, “It was in the Rialto theater that the first sound picture was shown. Conrad Nagle was at the height of his popularity as an idol of the cinema when he appeared in the history-making production, only part of which was in sound.”
Oddly, thirty years later (January 17, 1975), Dixon wrote that, the first “talkie” was shown in 1928, although the actual film is in question, either Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer” or his “The Singing Fool” – neither in which Conrad Nagle appeared. Dixon also stated the Orpheum had vaudeville shows before the talking movies supplanted them as entertainment.
Local historian and community activist R Kelly Bryant, Jr. recently told a story about the Orpheum theater. The theatre was segregated, but blacks were allowed to sit in the balcony – provided that they entered a structure on Parrish Street, crossed the roof, and entered the Orpheum from its back door. Kelly remembered watching The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, from this balcony. In one scene, Chaney turns to face the camera, revealing his hideous face for the first time in the film. Kelly fondly remembered all the white ladies gasping in horror – and he and his friends laughed from above.
Chapel Hillian Henry Thomas also remembers the Rialto. Thomas recalled that August in the 1960s meant back-to-school shopping in Durham, because Chapel Hill had a dearth of stores. Watching movies in the Rialto was another mainstay. He wondered, though, what his parents thought of him attending movies next-door to the Malbourne, which had acquired quite a seedy reputation. “Every 13-year old boy in Chapel Hill knew that one could find a prostitute at the Malbourne,” although he added that not every boy knew what that meant.
In the 1970, the Rialto (along with several other buildings on this block) was demolished using Urban Renewal funds, clearing the way for the third Durham County Courthouse.
George Logan built and operated the Regal, a 500-seat theater that offered films with all-black casts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and westerns on Mondays and Thursdays. [b] Logan was a competitor to Frederick “Movie King” Watkins, who owned 16 African-American theaters across the southeast region, and who had already opened the Hayti-based Wonderland and Rex Theaters.
Prior to becoming a movie house, the Regal had provided a variety of live entertainment and held performances by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie. Along with its next door neighbor, the Biltmore Hotel, the Regal provided a place for Durham’s black community to engage in social and cultural exchange – with each other, and with traveling musicians and artists.
At 12:30am on Monday, June 22, 1970 this movie house was bombed with ammonia dynamite. The explosion “damaged the front of the theater building and shattered windows in two adjoining firms”, according to the following day‟s Durham Morning Herald. The blast also shook the car of two Durham officers and an SBI agent who were in the area on another investigation. No injuries were reported. The Morning Herald article included the following passage:
The Durham Chapter of the United Klans of America at their regular meeting Monday night voted to “offer a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the party or parties responsible for the “bombing”, according to CP Ellis, chapter president.
Ellis said, “We do not agree with this type of destruction.
“We’re serious and there’s a hundred dollars waiting for anyone who comes up with the information,” he said.
CP Ellis would eventually resign his position as Exalted Cyclops of the Durham KKK in 1971, after working alongside and forming an unlikely friendship with Ann Atwater, a black community activist. This relationship is detailed in Osha Gray Davidson’s 1996 book, The Best of Enemies.
The theater was demolished in 1977 as part of the Urban Renewal plan for Hayti.
[b] Charlene Regester: “From the Buzzard’s Roost: Black Movie-going in Durham and Other North Carolina Cities during the Early Period of American Cinema” in Film History 17: 113-124, 2005.
418-422 EAST PETTIGREW / THE WONDERLAND THEATER
Frederick K. Watkins, known as “The Movie King”, lived at 1218 Fayetteville Street (across the road from where the Stanford L. Warren library is currently located), and opened the first movie theater in Durham for African-Americans. Eventually, he operated 16 theaters throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
The Wonderland also offered vaudeville acts and dancing, and is featured prominently in Lewis Shiner’s 2008 novel, Black and White:
The crowd was mostly male, mostly in coats and ties, though there were some turtlenecks and open sport shirts. The main thing that struck him was the obvious care and effort that virtually every one of them had spent on his appearance: hats, slickly processed hair, brightly shined shoes, rings, cufflinks, tie tacks. Then there were the women. Some wore furs and broad-brimmed hats, others simple linen dresses and dime store gloves. They had an ease with their own bodies, no matter what size or shape, that Robert found both alien and appealing. And some of them were simply stunning.
Watkins retired from the cinematic career in 1929 and according to the City Directories, competitor George Logan (of the Regal) took over operations for at least one year. The theater appears to have closed by 1933 and was subsequently used for a variety of commercial and social purposes: the John Avery Boys Club, grocery stores, a package store, a barber shop, and apartments were all tenants of this building.
Like all of the Hayti structures along East Pettigrew Street, this one was also demolished as part of the Urban Renewal plan.
The Biltmore Hotel was built sometime between 1923 and 1929. It was located in the Hayti district (the African-American section of Durham) and half of a block from Union Station. During its time, the Biltmore Hotel was a destination for African-Americans and “America’s Finest Colored Hotel.” The hotel had approximately 20-30 rooms with hot and cold water running in each room. It also housed a drug store and a grill/coffee shop on the ground floor. As Atlas Barbee, manager of the Biltmore Hotel, would say “Do It the Biltmore Way.” According to Ms. Phelps, "Artists, educators, and just visitors who came to see the 'big name bands' and Hayti would stay at this 30 room hotel when they came to town.” “It was the only such facility opened to Negroes,” and “Children would gather near the Biltmore to gape at the buses and famous people.” according to Amelia Thorpe.
Starting in the 1940s, Lathrop “Lath” Alston managed the hotel with James Baylor. In 1944, Mr. Alston decided to purchase the hotel with Pedro Ward, who ran the dining room. The Biltmore was described as: “One of the largest institutions of its kind in the South, catering exclusively to Negro patrons. It has twenty rooms with ample baths, a dining room serving and unexcelled cuisine and is operated on the European plan. Mr. Alston is a well and favorably known promoter of musicals, bans, etc. He enjoys a reputation as one of the big-time dance promoters in the South.”
When progress was made toward ending segregation, the Hayti community began to fade due to less patronage of specifically black-owned stores and businesses, including the Biltmore Hotel. In the 1960s, when the economic status of the U.S. strengthened, the move to the suburban areas by the middle to upper class families emerged. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the City of Durham targeted much of the Hayti area for redevelopment under federal Urban Renewal funding. The Biltmore Hotel was one of the last standing structures along East Pettigrew Street and thought to have escaped Urban Renewal, but it too was torn down in 1977. The former Biltmore Hotel is now a parking lot.
In 1891, Julian S. Carr built the Hotel Carrolina to replace the Hotel Claiborn. The structure of the Carrolina may have incorporated the two previous structures on that site (Dr. Durham Bartlett’s house and Hotel Claiborn). The hotel was built for $85,000. Additionally, Carr expanded the hotel to have 73 rooms and a veranda. The Carrolina was considered to be “Durham’s first luxury hotel” and “one of the most attractive hotels south of Washington.” The hotel accommodated 350 guests, with rates $2.50 and up a day. Many Durhamites simply decided to live at the Carrolina. Howell Cobb leased the hotel upon its completion along with a chain of other hotels. Two years later, he was joined by his brother clerk and later manager Alphonsus Cobb. Alphonsus Cobb, proprietor at the time the Hotel Carrolina burned in 1907, became proprietor of the Hotel Corocran until 1912.
The corner of Corcoran and Ramseur was vacant until 1919 when the Durham Silk Hosiery Mill was constructed to produce silk stockings. The mill was in operation until the plant shut down in 1969. The Silk Hosiery Mill was demolished in 1970. Currently, the site of what formerly was hotel Carrolina is a parking lot.
All research indicates that this was Durham’s first real hotel. Located within walking distance of the Southern Railroad passenger station (which stood across from the American Tobacco Company Plant), the Claiborn was operated by A.B. Sites. It was depicted on an 1881 map of Durham and noted as the “Grand Central hotel.” Although the date of construction has not been determined, it was mentioned changing management in the State Chronicle on June 11, 1886.
The article read:
“Durham, N.C., June 9, 1886- On May 1st, this elegant establishment changed hands, having been leased for five years by Mr. W.J. Pogue, who is also a tobacco manufacturer at Durham, where he is associated in the manufacture of „The Queen of Durham‟ Smoking Tobacco with Mr. A.J. Cameron.” “Since entering upon his new duties Mr. Pogue has made many striking improvements in and about Claiborn. The house and premises have been thoroughly overhauled and renovated, gas and electric lights put in, a handsome suite of sample rooms for drummers, billiard parlors, bath rooms, etc., have also opened under the very best management. And a Northern barber (white) of long experience, will soon take charge of the elegant barbershop which the proprietor has recently arranged. “The beauty of the place surpasses any hotel in the State in point of natural advantages as well as general surroundings.” “Mr. Pogue challenges the South to beat his table, and the new management has met with a very flattering start, as the house is crowded all the time, and large additions will soon be made to accommodate the increasing trade. Mr. Pogue is an ex-drummer, having lived in the best hotels of this count for six or seven years, and his success as a hotelist proves conclusively that he profited by his observation and experience in hotel life. We cheerfully recommend the Claiborn as a delightful summer retreat, where efforts will be made to personally attend to the wants of either transient guest or regular boarded. An elegant library, complete, is a great attraction here. His rates are extremely moderate, and all those wishing a desirable place to recreate and enjoy the good things of life can find all they seek at the Hotel Claiborn.”
The site is now a surface parking lot at the northeast corner of Corcoran Street and the Loop. This hotel predated other significant buildings on the same site – the Hotel Carrolina and the Durham Hosiery Mill.
HOTEL CORCORAN / MERCY HOSPITAL / DURHAM BUSINESS SCHOOL / HOME SAVINGS BANK
When William Mangum passed away in 1905, he left a large property to his daughter, Miss Ella Mangum. Noticing a void in Durham following the loss of the Hotel Carrolina to fire in 1907, she decided to open Hotel Corcoran on a portion of the land. For her generosity, the side street was named Ella Street until it was renamed Holland Street when the Holland Brothers’ Furniture Store opened. Former Hotel Carrolina proprietor Aplhonsus Cobb managed Hotel Corcoran until 1912 when he left to pursue real estate ventures. Rooms on the upper two floors were reached through the small lobby, which connected to two small wings.
However, the hotel was not very successful. Stiff competition from newer hotels like the Lochmoor in 1911 and the Malbourne opening in 1913 caused it to be repurposed by 1914, when it became Mercy Hospital, superintended by Nurse Mamie H. Nunnally. This venture too failed by 1919. This trend continued with listings as a boarding house on the upper floors under Mr. & Mrs. J.T. Crisp, a stint as the Central Hotel, and as the Durham Business school operated by Mrs. Walter lee Lednum, Royall & Borden furniture Company, Paschall Plumbing Company, J.M.M. Gregory Real Estate, and “Tip Top Tavern” in first floor among others. Half of the hotel was torn down in 1938 to make space for the art deco/moderne movie theater, Center Theater. Harris Upham stock brokers modernized the surviving half in 1951 by removing the mansard roof, resurfacing the exterior of building, replacing windows, and other modern changes. The western portion of old hotel footprint was rebuilt with the Home Savings and Loan Building.
Interesting Fact: The plates bearing the Hotel Corcoran crest were made in England by John Haddock & Sons of vitrified earthenware.
Built in 1911 by EJ Parrish, Hotel Lochmoor was constructed beside the Arcade, a movie house and set of commercial stores also owned by Parrish. The YMCA flanked the Lochmoor other’s side. The hotel had 62 rooms, 24 bathrooms, a glass walled dining room facing Union Station, and an expanded wing behind the courthouse towards Church Street. It also had enclosed gardens and sitting areas to attract travelers off trains. These luxurious features were included in the hotel to compete with the level of clientele staying at Hotel Malbourne across the street. However, Hotel Lochmoor could not compete and EJ Parrish had to sell it to Hubert Latta who renamed the Hotel Lochmoor to honor Parrish (Lochmoor is the name of Parrish‟s large country estate).
Everett I. Bugg (owner of the Malbourne across the street) purchased the Lochmoor when it went into receivership and managed the hotel along with the Malbourne. The Lochmoor later served as a public library while the city constructed a new library. In 1919, the Lochmoor was sold to the Elks, who used the hotel as a meeting place until 1943. Then, they sold to the city, which tore down the hotel to make way for Welfare offices. Part of Lochmoor, behind the courthouse, may have been included in this new building. In 1965, all that is left of the YMCA and the Lochmoor had been completely demolished and replaced by the new county social services building.
The preeminent hotel in Durham when built in 1912, the Malbourne suffered after construciton of the Washington Duke Hotel in 1925. By the 1950s-1960s, it was seen as a 'seedy' hotel of faded baroque glory. It was unfortunately demolished in 1966.
The Malbourne Hotel opened on June 16, 1913. The Malbourne was named after BN Duke’s father, Malbourne Angier, and was located across the street from Hotel Lochmoor. The first story of the building was completed when Mr. Everett I. Bugg purchased it from the Durham Hotel Corporation. The structure cost approximately $150,000 to build and took a year in construction. The Malbourne was brick with a granite base, a copper cornice, and iron balconies. The hotel had 125 rooms with steam heat and other amenities such as telephones, hot and cold water, and 50 private rooms. The rate started at $2.50 dollars per night.
Sunday dinner at the Malbourne once cost 60 cents, or a “sizzling steak” with French fried potatoes and tomatoes cost 73 cents. An ad described the high quality of the meals:
“The regular dinner on this particular day, costing 60 cents, began with crisp celery, stuffed olives, cranberry juice, fruit cup or vegetable or chicken soup. Then came the main course with a choice from a menu of fresh pork, with barbeque sauce, baked young hen with dressing, fried trout with tartar sauce, boiled tenderloin steak, fried spring chicken and broiled lamb chop. A choice of two vegetables could be made from seven items included on the menu- snowflake potatoes, fried egg plant, fresh spinach, peas and carrots, candied yams, steamed rice and congealed salad. A side selection of desserts was offered. Your choice could be steamed apricots, apple roll, baked apples, vanilla, pistachio or strawberry ice cream, apple or hot mince pie. Coffee, tea, and sweet milk or buttermilk were included also. “Specials for the day were: baked ham with sliced tomato and potato, 45 cents; sizzling steak with French fried potatoes and sliced tomato, 75 cents; stuffed tomato with chicken salad, 40 cents; corned beef hash with poached egg, 35 cents; fried oysters with cole slaw, 25 cents; country ham and eggs, 50 cents; and Spanish omelet, 45 cents. Drink butter and bread included.”
Helping Mr. Bugg run the hotel after World War I were his brother, E.B. Bugg, C.P. Trice, and Oscar Leath. The Malbourne expanded some years later to accommodate a thriving hospitality economy by leasing a portion of the Rialto Theater building next door. E.B. Bugg also purchased the Lochmoor when it went into receivership. In 1924, the popularity of Hotel Malbourne waned as the Washington Duke became the popular hotel in downtown Durham. In 1966, it was demolished with urban renewal funds.
WASHINGTON DUKE HOTEL / JACK TAR HOTEL
The grand hotel of Durham for 50 years - and one of the worst architectural losses in Durham history
In 1923, a drive to raise $1 million for the construction of a grand new hotel started. The Washington Duke was constructed between 1924 & 1925. It was 16 stories tall and cost $1.8 million to build. Its main floor featured a newsstand in a lavish art deco interior lobby, and a dining room all with glass walls. In the1960s, the hotel became part of the “Jack Tar Hotel” chain. The large windows on first floor were filled-in with brick in an attempt to modernize the hotel. With the advent of the motel age, a sky bridge connected the old hotel to a motel with a rooftop pool across Corcoran Street.
By the 1970s, The Washington Duke hotel needed too many repairs and upgrades. The owners tried to sell the building, but the cost of the repair work became too high (asbestos, etc.). The hotel almost became the Boy Scouts of America Convention Center, but, in the end, the deal fell through and the building could not even be given away. It was demolished in 1975 and the site became a parking lot, colloquially known as “Bare Square”, for more than thirty years. Today, the site occupied by the Washington Duke Hotel is known as the CCB Plaza.
Note: The implosion was videotaped and can be seen today on You Tube and the Endangered Durham blog.
SOURCE MATERIALS FOR THE BOOKLET
 Jean Bradley Anderson, Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina. Durham: Duke University Press, 1990.
 R Kelly Bryant, Jr., personal correspondence. Summer, 2008.
 Wyatt T. Dixon, How Times Do Change: A Series of Sketches of Durham and her Citizens. Durham: Central Carolina Publishing, Inc., 1987.
 Durham City Directories and Sanborn Insurance maps, variety of publishers. 1887-1980.
 Durham Morning Herald, “Theater Marquee Said Point of Blast Origin” (B12). 23 June 1970.
 Durham Morning Herald, “City Theater Rental ‘Risque’ Business” (B10). 7 July 1970.
 Durham Morning Herald, “Ammonia Dynamite Blamed in Explosion Here” (A1). 24 Sept 1970.
 Janna Jones, The southern movie palace: rise, fall, and resurrection. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003.
 Howard Margolis, personal correspondence. Fall, 2008.
 David Naylor, Great American movie theatres. Washington, DC: Preservation Press, 1987.
 Charlene Regester, “From the Buzzard’s Roost: Black Movie-going in Durham and Other North Carolina Cities during the Early Period of American Cinema”. Film History 17: 113-124, 2005.
 AK Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel: An American History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
 Lewis Shiner, Black and White. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2008.
 Henry Thomas, personal correspondence. Summer, 2008.
 Maggie Valentine, The Show Starts on the Sidewalk: an architecture history of the movie theatre, starring S. Charles Lee. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.