Centerfest Tour

Centerfest Tour


Explore a bit of Durham's eclectic and interesting downtown history as you walk around Centerfest: The Return to the Core this year!

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CITY HIGH SCHOOL / CITY HALL / ARTS COUNCIL

114
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1906
/ Modified in
1924
,
1986
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

The first public high school in the city, this building was altered significantly to become Durham's City Hall in the 1920s, and then again to become a home for the Durham Arts Council in the 1980s.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 07/15/2012 - 5:54pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 52.0476" N, 78° 54' 12.2544" W

Comments

114
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1906
/ Modified in
1924
,
1986
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The first city high school was built in 1906 on the site of the JL Watkins tobacco prizery, for which no picture is available. The Durham Graded School on Dandy St. (later Jackson St.) no longer could accommodate all grade levels and became the Morehead School, an elementary school, after the construction of the new city high school. Although I don't have documentation that this school was all-white, I am presuming that it was, as I know the schools were segregated after 1922.

cityhighschool.jpeg
Architect's rendering, 1906.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


The actual building near the completion of construction, looking northeast from Morris St., 1906
(From "Images of America: Durham" by Steve Massengill)

cityhighschool_1910.jpeg
From a postcard, after construction.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The school operated at this location until 1922, when a larger high school was built on the former homeplace of Brodie Duke, between Duke, Morgan, and Gregson Streets. (And, at the same time, the original Hillside High School was built on Umstead St.) With the demolition of the New Academy of Music for the Washington Duke Hotel, a new city hall was necessary, as was a new theater. Concomitant with the construction of the Durham Auditorium (now the Carolina theater) in 1926, which was grafted onto this building, the old city high school was remodeled to match the Auditorium architecture (a neoclassical design that removed the dome and original pedimented facade), and became the new city hall.

cityhall_1940.jpeg
City Hall, 1940s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


During a city sanitation worker demonstration 02.16.48


Demonstation after the death of Martin Luther King, 04.05.68

As part of the 1950's-era Tarrant plan for 'revitalizing downtown' (yes, this has been going on a really long time), a new civic complex was to be built at Mangum and Chapel Hill Sts. It would be surrounded by plazas as part of a road configuration that would come to be known as 'the Loop'. The area just inside the Loop would be demolished for parking (and Main St. turned into a pedestrian mall.) Included in the soon-to-be parking lots were the old City Hall and the Durham Auditorium.

For once, cooler heads prevailed on a proposed demolition in Durham. The awful edifice now known as city hall was built, and the city government moved out of the building on Morris St.

artscouncil_1978.jpeg
Old City Hall, 1978, after the city government had decamped to parts east.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

A multitude of visual and performing arts groups had come into being during the post-war era, each individually supporting their own particular medium. The president of the Theatre Guild called a meeting with the principals of the other groups (including The Art Guild, Civic Choral Society, Duke University Arts Council, Chamber Arts Society, and the Durham chapter of the North Carolina Symphony Society) to discuss forming an umbrella organization to provide mutual support in 1953. Their assent was the genesis of United Arts, which became Allied Arts of Durham in 1954. They moved into Harwood Hall on South Duke St. in October, 1954. After Harwood Hall was demolished in 1961, the group moved to the Foushee House, where they were headquartered until the old City Hall became available.


Arts Council, looking east, 1981
(Courtesy Robby Delius)

Along with the construction of the People's Security insurance building in 1986-87, the old city hall building was remodeled with a new, pedimented addition on the front, and some additional glass sheathing on the side.

DurhamCenterConst_1986.jpeg
Under construction, 1987.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

artscouncil_1986.jpeg
Durham Arts 'Center' 1986.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

artscouncil_1989_2.jpeg
The completed "Royall Center for the Arts", 1989.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

artscouncil_2007.jpeg
Arts Council, 2007.

The arts council is a persistent bright spot downtown. From a land use perspective, I think they suffer a bit from a lot of dead space around them - the loop/parking deck to the north, SouthBank to the West, and some surface parking to the south. Even the Carolina Theater, to which it is attached, is oddly separated from it by the service equipment/Loop trek to the north and east, and the blank wall at the end of Manning Place.

I think this building and the Carolina Theater convey the consistent message: good things happen when you decide not to demolish buildings downtown.


10.02.10

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100-102-104-106 MORRIS STREET

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1890s
/ Modified in
1954
Architectural style: 
,
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

Though much modified, this building is one of the oldest remaining in downtown - minus its original, quirky Second Empire roof.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 09/21/2014 - 9:15am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 49.5348" N, 78° 54' 13.3524" W
US

Comments

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1890s
/ Modified in
1954
Architectural style: 
,
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

And so we come to the last 'point' of Five Points, and it is an intriguing one. I find it intriguing because, despite the fact that it isn't written up in any history/architecture books, and I can't find any really good old picture of it, I think it may be (despite heavy alteration) contemporaneous with 111 West Main, which is quoted to be the oldest building downtown (1893). I base this upon the appearance of a building at this corner in the 1893 Sanborn maps, labeled as "2 1/2 stories", which does not change signficantly in shape in the following two Sanborns. The first photo is from ~1910

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Note the unusual 3rd floor, which almost appears to be a type of hipped roof with projecting dormers - including a dormer facing the cut corner. Also notice the arched doorway, matching the windows.

Here's a nice view of the roof from 1924

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

and a decent view from the 1930s

(Courtesy Durham County Library)


A view of the building during the Tobacco Jubilee parade, 09.25.47.

This impressive shot is noted as being from 1939, but I'm not certain of that. I'm no expert on vehicles, but what I can see makes me think of 1940s rather than 1939 - but regardless, a very early color shot.

"1939 Duke Homecoming parade." (Courtesy Retrochrome.net)

It appears that the building was radically altered in 1954. A pox on people's desire to 'modernize' perfectly wonderful buildings.


1954 view - again, only a partial view, but you can see the scaffolding around the building.


A 1950s view of the altered building. The top floor has been removed, and all of the windows squared/replaced.

102Morris_012858.jpg
01.28.58 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)


1960s - I spliced two historic photos together to make this picture - so it's a bit funky, including half a car by the front door.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Through no fault of its own, this building is prominent in the remarkable and ugly scene below, 1964.

102Morris_klan_c1964.jpg

Note the original arched doorway is still visible in 1967

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

More abuse arrived by 1973, in the form of a false facade, but that stubborn arched door remained.

102Morris_1960s.jpg

Make those ugly windows go away! They frighten me!


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The city renovated this building - I believe in the 1980s, but I'm not positive about that, and it has had a series of tenants over the years. Here is the building as of 2006.

All in all, not bad, given what it had been put through. It is an important building at Five Points, as it gives at least one corner some definition. While I am not certain that it is as old as 1893, it certainly dates from pre-1910, and is the only extant building near Five Points that was contemporaneous with the first public library.


Looking northeast, 07.24.08

Scott Harmon purchased the building from the city of Durham in December of 2011 and began renovations soon thereafter to convert the building into retail and residential condominiums. 

102Morris_render.jpg

Rendering of renovated facade.

102Morris_031112.jpg

03.11.12

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05.22.12

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102 Morris, 06.09.12

The building (re)opened in summer of 2013, with retail tenants such as Pizzeria Toro and the Cupcake Bar.

09.12.12

04.27.13

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/hallwynne_1910.jpgHallWynne_1915.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/hallwynne_N_1948.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/115Morris.jpg108Morris_early1960s.jpg

HALL-WYNNE/PENNY FURNITURE - MORRIS STREET

108
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1909
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Originally the Hall-Wynne funeral home, this 1900s building was a bowling alley before becoming Penny Furniture for many years.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 07/30/2014 - 2:53pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 50.154" N, 78° 54' 13.2732" W

Comments

108
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1909
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Looking east-southeast from Morris St., 1910.

The above building was built between 1907 and 1910, likely in 1909. It was the original location of the Hall-Wynne (and White, originally) funeral home, which was established in 1901. The building is L-shaped, with another facade facing on East Chapel Hill St. (in tomorrow's post). It appears that this part of the structure housed the offices and 'undertaking rooms', and the carriages/stables (to pull the hearses) were housed at the rear. These may have exited on Chapel Hill St., but it's unclear.

HallWynne_1915.jpg

Hall-Wynne moved out to West Main St., across from McPherson Hospital in 1926, where they remain.

By the 1940s, this building had become the "Durham Bowling Alley" - seen below during a protest march on City Hall (next door) by striking city workers.

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

The building can be seen at a distance in the shot below, which I find fascinating for a couple of reasons:


Looking east, 1963. (Durham County Library)

One, it's an impossible shot to recreate today, because it's taken from a spot that is now in the middle of the SouthBank building. Two, the shot captures the back of the Colonial Stores building that faced West Main St., and offered "Gold Bond Stamps". I remember Green Stamps when I was growing up - I guess this was something similar one received with purchases and could redeem for goodies. Third, I think it is a very cool picture of the Washington Duke Hotel, which had been rechristened "The Jack Tar Hotel" at the time this picture was taken in 1963. 

By the mid 1960s, the modernization was underway.

108Morris_early1960s.jpg

(Durham County Library)

The original first floor entrance was eliminated, the second-story windows were bricked up, and the facade was painted a uniform color to hide any of that offending detail/protrusion.

(Durham County Library)

The building was renovated in ~2002-2003 into "The Edge" nightclub. I was glad to see the building renovated, but I would have preferred to see the second story windows re-opened, and I didn't/don't care for the blank silver wall that faces the sidewalk, just inside the building on the first floor.

"The Edge" lasted at least a year or two - maybe more, before being replaced by Blayloc. I liked Blayloc, but it seemed to be a study in the difficulty of space in a restaurant/bar. How much is enough and how much is too much? The space, in this case, seemed much too big - which really diffused any convivial atmosphere. I've never run a restaurant/bar, though, so I would imagine that it is difficult to find the balance between enough space to accommodate more patrons and not so much space as to feel empty.

I think this building has great potential, though. As with all the buildings in the Morris/Morgan/Main/Great Jones area, it is dominated by the SouthBank building, which creates a difficult to manage space on a larger scale.


From the west side of Morris, looking east, 2007. (G. Kueber)


Looking east, 2007. (G. Kueber)

As of 2010-2011, plans have been percolating for Greenfire Development to sell this property to Wilmington-based developer John Fife. Rumor on the street has been that the restaurant would be another Giorgio Bakatsias affair, the much-ado the Durham Magazine made over a year ago about him opening something in West Village being, apparently, about nothing. Part of the larger renovation plan would include making Morris St. from Morgan to Manning Place two way, with a roundabout at that intersection; the section between Manning Place and Five Points would remain one-way, north. Two-way for the entire stretch is an NCDOT no-no. 

It's a bit clumsy, but I understand the impetus, and I think some two-way in here is better than none. The hope would be that, at some point, the two-way-ing of the whole stretch is deemed viable. Particularly with a two-way Morgan Street, which I would be particularly thrilled to have. 

108Morris_100811.jpg

10.08.11 (G. Kueber)

As of mid 2012, this deal seems to have gone dark, while everything around it is burgeoning. There's been no further word about the plans to renovate the building.

As of March 2014, it was announced that the Caktus Group, a tech company, had purchased the building and planned to renovate it for their offices - to be located on the second floor - and a retail space to be located on the first floor. It's like an itch finally being scratched to see the windows being un-bricked.

04.14.14 (G. Kueber)

In what I can only describe as a rookie move, the company unceremoniously painted over the mural on the north side of the building, and then proceeded to try to pull in names such as the HPC and this website to justify their action. I wasn't the biggest fan of the mural - it was fine, but I'm not that sad to see it go - but the action and response by the owner was fumbling, at best. One allusion was to the need to repaint in order to "restore the building to its original 1910 appearance." To which I respond a) a casual perusal of this post will show a brick wall painted only with faded advertisements on the north side during the 1960s and b) why haven't they restored the first floor facade, if that was the intent?

In short, I get most annoyed when people justify their actions with b.s. rather than honesty. Don't try to hang the decision on being a historic purist unless you really are one. Just say you didn't like it, costs to much to maintain a mural - whatever the real reason was.

07.28.14 (G. Kueber)

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300 MORGAN ST. / PEOPLE'S SECURITY INSURANCE BUILDING / DURHAM CENTRE

300
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1986
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 06/28/2012 - 7:41am by gary

Location

35° 59' 54.492" N, 78° 54' 7.9092" W

Comments

300
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1986
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

The north side of the 400 block of Morgan (between Morris and Roney) and the north side of the 300 block of Morgan (between Roney and Foster) contained primarily small, commercial structures. Morgan St., even more so than Chapel Hill St., contained fewer retail establishments and more industrial/service-oriented businesses.

The 400 block, moving from west to east:


426-428 Morgan


422 Morgan


416-420 Morgan


408 Morgan


406 Morgan


402-404 Morgan

Finally, a view of the block in the late 1960s, looking west-northwest up Morgan.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Several of these structures were torn down for urban renewal, although a few peristed.


416-426 Morgan demolition, 11.17.69.

The 300 block was primarily home to the DC May company, which sold paint and wallpaper. I think this building was really interesting, with its metal pitched roof above/behind the one-story brick facade.

This is a view of the back of the building, looking south.


02.10.63

There were a few additional storefronts in the block, moving west to east:

Finally, a view of the block looking northeast, late 1960s.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In 1986, a shiny new set of office buildings (twin towers) was proposed for this site.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Breaking ground was quite the celebratory affair.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Including demolishing the structures that survived urban renewal.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Roney St. was closed in the first block north of Morgan St. as well, and the two blocks cleared as a single site for construction.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The city, I believe, paid for a parking deck to be built below the building, and Frank Wittenberg built one out of two towers on the eastern part of the site.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Here is my attempt to take the entire streetscape, as viewed form the south side of Morgan St., 2006

I find this one of the most regrettable streetscape decisions in Durham. Two entire blocks, fronted by parking garage. I have no idea where the entrance to this building is. There are these odd touches, like a plaza atop the parking deck and the odd waterfall - none of which work. While this was a decision of 20 years ago, Durham remains behind the curve with parking structures in downtown: first floor retail is essential so you don't kill the streetscape.

The luxury condominiums to be built in the second tower have been supposedly been pre-selling for several years now. I'm dubious that this project will actually ever come to fruition. I'd rather see adapative reuse of the parking deck.

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/carolina_1925.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/carolinatheater_1926.jpgCarolina_NW_1930.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/carolinafront_1947.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/carolina_1940s.jpg

CAROLINA THEATRE

209-211
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Modified in
1986
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

The "Durham Auditorium" was the grandest theater in the age of downtown theaters, transitioning from live performances / to moving pictures early on. Spared the wrecking ball in the 1960s, it is the only downtown theater that survives - as a center for independent film, live performance, and movie festivals.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 09/26/2012 - 11:23am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 52.296" N, 78° 54' 10.2492" W
US

Comments

209-211
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Modified in
1986
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The Durham Auditorium, designed by Milburn and Heister of Washington D.C., was constructed in 1926 as a replacement for the "New Academy of Music" which was destroyed to make way for the Washington Duke Hotel. As detailed in my post about the first Durham High School/City Hall, the Durham Auditorium was attached to that building, which was remodeled by Milburn and Heister to match the style of the newer buildling.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

This shot, taken in the mid 1920s, shows the Durham Auditorium either during or immediately after construction. (It appears the site around the building hasn't been completed.) Many other interesting sights are visible in this shot -the large houses lining Morris St. north and south of the Imperial Tobacco building, the modest housing on Roney, the new Durham High and Carr Jr. High in the distance, and more.


Carolina Theatre, under construction, 1926
(Courtesy Duke RBMC - Chamber of Commerce Collection)

The theater showed a mix of live performances and movies. This shot from 1930 shows the original marquee, which (although the resolution is too poor in this digitized version to see it) says the theater is showing "The Cuckoos". The sign to the left of the marquee says "Carolina Soda Shop."

Carolina_NW_1930.jpg
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The auditorium appears to have been called the Carolina Theatre from a fairly early point in its existence, perhaps to highlight the movie showings, which, over time, began to increasingly dominate the theater's programming.

This shot from 1947 gives a closeup of the marquee.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Three shots from 1949 may be overkill, but I find them all fascinating, so why not.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

moviestarsintown_011057.jpg

"Movie Stars in Town" - 01.11.57. Bob Nocek and Jim Carl at the Carolina were kind enough to identify John Saxon, and, most likely, Luana Patten - co-stars of "Rock, Pretty Baby" doing publicity for the opening of that film.

(Photo courtesy of The Herald-Sun)

carolinatheatre_032261.jpg

03.22.61

The Carolina was segregated; African-Americans were only allowed to sit in the balcony. I have read that this was sometimes referred to as "buzzards' roost" - a name evidently also given to the corner of McMannen and Pettirew Streets. During 1962, a rolling 'line protest' went on for months, as African-Americans would attempt to buy tickets to the whites-only section and, when refused, would return to the back of the line to try again.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

I believe the theater was desegregated in 1963.

carolina_1967.jpg

1967 (Louise Hall Collection, NC Collection, DCL)

By the 1970s, the management of the theater shifted to the Carolina Cinema Corporation, a non-profit group that focused on showing foreign and independent films.

Below, a shot taken from the CCB building by Ralph Rogers around 1986 shows the Carolina Theatre, Roney St. and the surrounding area just before it was drastically changed by the construction of the Omni, Convention Center, and the People's Security Insurance building on Morgan St.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

carolinatheater_1981.jpg
Carolina Theatre from Roney St., southwest, 1981

(Courtesy Robby Delius)

Below, looking south from the closed Roney St. in front of the theater, the convention center is being constructed., 1988.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By 1989, the plaza is essentially completed, and the Carolina Theatre was closed for renovation.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The theater was closed for a few years, as I remember, and I believe it reopened around 1992. A movie theater was constructed to the south of the original theater, which primarily hosts live performances (although the occasional popular independent film will be shown in the original theater.)

It's very fortunate that the Carolina Theatre dodged the parking lot-bullet aimed its way in the 1960s. It is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of Durham's architectural heritage. I do feel that its energy is diminished by the configuration around it - the strange plaza, the Loop, the parking garage, the odd orientation of the hotel entrance, etc. It's configurations like these that make me distrustful each time Durham says they are going to build a new, grand project.


The plaza and Carolina Theatre, looking south, 2006.

2006

carolinatheatre_072012.jpg

07.20.12

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400-404WMain_1970.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2014_9/corner_morris_wmain_1939.jpg400-404WMain_1_012858.jpg400-404WMain_2_012858.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2014_1/400wmain_N_before_1971.jpg

400-404 WEST MAIN STREET

400-404
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
1974
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:26am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 49.524" N, 78° 54' 14.6844" W
US

Comments

400-404
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
1974
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

400-404WMain_1970.jpg

(Durham County Library)

Built in the 1930s.

1939 Duke Homecoming Parade (Retrochrome.net) showing 400 W. Main as the "Advance Store" and "Durham Beauty Academy." I was a bit loath to believe that this shot was from as early as 1939, but I can't imagine the "Advance Store" would use a rising sun logo after the early 1940s.

400-404WMain_1_012858.jpg

 

01.28.58

400-404WMain_2_012858.jpg

01.28.58

(Photo by George Pyne via Milo Pyne)

(Photo by George Pyne via Milo Pyne)

(Photo by George Pyne via Milo Pyne)


Completed First Federal Building.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

04.27.13

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PIEDMONT BUILDING

332-340
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1921
/ Demolished in
1966
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

One of Durham's two great flatiron buildings at Five Points, both now gone.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 09/21/2014 - 9:29am by gary

Location

35° 59' 48.5448" N, 78° 54' 12.834" W

Comments

332-340
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1921
/ Demolished in
1966
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Piedmont Building, 1940s

The Piedmont Building occupied the most prominent location in Durham for over 40 years - the eastern point of Five Points. But prior to that, this prominent spot had been the site of the first public library in Durham, which was housed in a small wood-frame building

Courtesy Durham County Library, circa 1910

mainlibrary_1905.jpeg
Looking northwest (towards Five Points) from West Main St.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The main public library was established in 1897 as the first public, non-subscription library in North Carolina. The "Canterbury Club" - a women's social group - began fundraising and enlisting support from other groups to build a library for Durham. Ms. Lalla Ruth Carr donated the land at the eastern point of Five Points, said to be worth 00, as a location for the library, which opened in 1898.

When the library moved to its building on East Main Street in 1921 (still standing!), the wood frame structure was torn down and replaced with a flatiron building, called the Piedmont Building that same year. This building had a flat face, unlike the rounded front on the opposite point. (Which you can see the shadow of in this, evidently, late afternoon picture.) The building was built by the Piedmont Club, a newly organized 'men's club' that intended to build a structure that would provide facilities for their club (as well as retail space on the first floor - much like the Temple Buildng and Masonic Temple building further east on Main St. The building contained a ballroom and kitchen area on the third (top) floor. Judge Sykes was the president of the Piedmont Club, Foy Robertson the vice-president and JM Markham was secretary-treasurer.


Looking east, circa 1925
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

5ptseastaerial1920_0.jpegAerial view, looking east.
Courtesy Duke Archives
5ptseastparade.jpegParade at Five Points, looking east
Courtesy Durham County Library

A great early color shot (actually two that I've combined) purportedly from 1939's Duke Homecoming parade. (Retrochrome.net)
 


Piedmont Building, 1940s

piedmontbldgdemonst_021648.jpg

City Worker strike (heading to city hall) - 02.16.48

By the 1950s, the flat front of the building was a place for advertisements and a clock. (Notice the Washington Duke Hotel in the background - large brick building to the left, as well as the exterior cladding that has been placed over the three mid-block buildings that were Belk Department Store - the way to 'modernize' in the 1950s. I'll come back to these buildings later.)


Piedmont Building, looking east, 1954
(Courtesy Duke University)

PiedmontBuilding_E_012858.jpg

01.28.58


Looking east at night, 02.01.58
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Piedmont building, looking east, ~1960
(Courtesy John Schelp)

Unfortunately, in November of 1965, this building burned.


Looking west from the Washington Duke Hotel, November 13, 1965.
(Courtesy Herald Sun)


Looking west-southwest from East Chapel Hill St., November 13, 1965.
(Courtesy Herald Sun)

This 1966 shot shows the building - which frankly looks salvageable in this photo - after the fire. It appears that the city may have planned to demolish it through urban renewal anyway, as it was appraised in 1964 by the urban renewal folks - before the fire.


Courtesy Durham County Library


View of the fire damage from the Snow Building, 11.15.65
(Courtesy Herald Sun)

In September, 1966, the building was torn down.


Courtesy Durham County Library

And thus attempt number one commenced to turn this focal point into a viable public space:


Creating "Five Points Park" - 10.19.67
(Courtesy Herald Sun)

And it became a bastion of peace and loveliness, frequented by folks out of the Chamber of Commerce brochures...


"Look Maude, it's a beautiful tree.....did you take the picture yet?" (03.30.68)
(Courtesy Herald Sun)

Wait, this isn't what we boostery folk planned on...


"Malcolm X demonstration, 02.21.69"
(Courtesy Herald Sun)

This may have been one of a handful of times that this plaza hosted this many people.

"I can't understand, we built such a lovely plaza in place of the building - why doesn't anyone use it?"

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

"That's better. Look how relaxed these young men are."

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

With the demolition of Durham Drug and Belk-Leggett, the 'plaza' has a large parking lot behind it. We're currently in the midst of remaking it as public space.

5ptseast2006.jpeg
Five Points, looking east, Fall 2006 (Gary Kueber)

Multiple buildings behind (to the east) of this building have been demolished as well, which is why this very, very important space seems so empty. It is truly unfortunate that the city is rebuilding a 'plaza' at this point. The last thing downtown Durham needs is more open space. This space desperately needs buildings to give the necessary definition to make it feel like city instead of emptiness. That's what happens when you have economic development people doing urban design. This plaza will likely be as empty as the 1970s "Muirhead Plaza" version it replaced.


Five Points, looking east, 07.24.08

(Gary Kueber)

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/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/5Points_W_1920.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/5Points_W_1920.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/5points_west_1917.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/5points_birdseye_W_1920s.jpg

FIVE POINTS - WEST / FIVE POINTS DRUG COMPANY

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1907
/ Demolished in
1929
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 04/22/2012 - 8:44pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 49.3044" N, 78° 54' 15.894" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1907
/ Demolished in
1929
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

----------

Today, we move downtown to 'big' Five Points. Although Durham Station was established at the foot of Corcoran Street, at the railroad tracks, Five Points became an important hub of retail activity by the 1910s-1920s

Looking west on West Main St., 1905.

New mercantile, masonry structures replaced the earlier industry structures during the 1900's, 1910s, and 1920s. The Five Points Drug Company, occupying was one of those impressive new structures - a flatiron building located on the western 'point' of Five Points, constructed in 1907.


Five Points, looking west, 1920s
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


Five Points Drug Co., 1917
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, Wyatt Dixon Collection)


Looking west, 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Five Points Drug Co., looking northwest, 1920s.

The Five Points Drug company occupied the beautiful flatiron building in the top picture until the late 1920s, at which point the building burned. The garage at 421 West Main Street, immediately it its west, remodeled itself to face the 'point' once the Five Points Drug Company was gone, utilizing the vacant space for gas pumps and parking.


Looking West, 1947.


Snow-covered, late 1940s
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)


Aerial view of the asphalt, 1950

By the late 1950s, the First Federal Savings and Loan Company had taken over the gas station, and utilized the 'point' simply for parking.

Whether this stirred a desire for some beautification from the S&L or from the city, there followed construction of a wee garden and fountain at the tip of the point. Ahhhh - what asphalt?


Frolic-worthy garden, ~1960.


Seemingly even smaller garden, 1964


Five Points, looking west, 1964
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Onewayifying, 1970

With construction of the Five Points Restaurant in the 1970s, the vacant lot became a courtyard.


Five Points, looking west, 1978
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

These buildings also burned during the 1970s and were later demolished. The Vacant Triangle became even larger, and for the last ~30 years has been grass and trees. Our latest efforts to deflect the vacancy of the land include a nice streetscape construction, to include benches, trees, brick, and - if he had had historic bollards, historically appropriate bollards.


Five Points, looking west, 2006

Two buildings still exist in the triangle of land left between the 'point' and the Loop. Unfortunately, the vacant land, the Loop, and the stark dominance of the Southbank building leave the area feeling more desolate than it should. The sidewalk is pretty, but what this spot really needs are buildings, ideally a new flatiron building. The longtime owner, Anna Ho Whalen, has not publicly expressed any desire to make that happen through action. I can't say that I'll ever understand the vacant land/vacant building investment-without-planned-development model; personally I'd be embarrassed if I ever considered sitting on a vacant piece of land in the center of downtown for 30 years.

In my view, Five Points remains the most important intersection in Durham as a focal point for future revitalization. The city has undertaken a (prolonged) effort to fix the transportation problems with the intersection (returning it to a true 5 points configuration and returning the traffic on Chapel Hill St. and Main to two-way.) While I am a big fan of the transportation improvements, the land use at Five Points remains a challenge.

Update: Summer 2007: The two-way transformation of Main and Chapel Hill Sts. is complete, and an absolute triumph. But, some nice benches and copious bollards aside, the flatiron spot is still vacant.


Five Points - western point, looking west, 09.12.10, with me about to be run down.

Find this spot on a Google Map

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339-341WMain_1960s.jpgThe best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.5pointsloancompany_1_010253.jpg5pointsloancompany_010253.jpg341WMain_1990s.jpg

339-341 WEST MAIN STREET

339-341
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1920s
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 09/20/2011 - 11:29pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 47.9832" N, 78° 54' 13.8852" W
US

Comments

339-341
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1920s
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

339-341WMain_1960s.jpg

339-341 W. Main was built in the 1920s as part of a row of structures replacing earlier frame establishments and industrial uses, such as Seeman's Carriage Works. The area between Corcoran and L & M rapidly took on a retail focus during this era, as the 'core' of downtown to the east focused more on the office and government sectors.

 

The best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Above, mid-to-late 1920s picture showing the completed row of buildings along the southern 'point' of Five Points. One earlier-generation structure remains, set back slightly from the street - more typical of the previous structures. It would be replaced by the Snow Building by 1930. 339-341 is immediately to its right, with the ornamental 'points' atop the cornice.

By the 1950s, 341 was home to "Freedman's."  The smaller 339 storefront had a larger built-out 'shelf' as part of the cornice, and was occupied by the Five Points Loan Company.

5pointsloancompany_1_010253.jpg

01.02.53 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

5pointsloancompany_010253.jpg

Interior of the Five Points Loan Company, 01.02.53 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

341WMain_1990s.jpg

339-341, 1990s

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

This row of structures remains the best-preserved historic architecture in Durham - actually continuing for more than a block without a parking lot. 

2007, during a streetscape project to return Main and Chapel Hill Streets to their original two-way configuration.

As of 2011, 339 West Main is home to Center Studio Architecture, and 341 a beauty salon. 

339-341WestMain_091011.jpg

339-341 West Main, 09.10.11

 

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347-351WMain_1950s.jpgThe best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s./sites/default/files/images/2014_9/FivePoints_S_1939.jpg343-345WMain_S_1953_0.jpg343-345WMain_E_1953.jpg

347-351 WEST MAIN STREET

347-451
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1920-1922
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,
,

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:33am by gary

Location

35° 59' 48.2244" N, 78° 54' 14.8608" W

Comments

347-451
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1920-1922
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,
,

 

347-351WMain_1950s.jpg

347-351 West Main is part of a row of early 1920s-era row buildings along the south side of Five Points that replaced earlier industrial buildings and frame commercial structures. In 1923, National Dollar Store was the tenant at 347, Noell Brothers Hardware at 349, and Dixie Clothing Company at 351.

The earliest view I could find of the whole row is from the late 1920s, below. National Dollar Store had disappeared by 1928. 347 was then leased to Mrs. Osborne's Style Shop (with the Bluefield Coal and Coke Co. upstairs)

The best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1932, Frank Critcher's Produce was at 347, with the Durham Dry Goods co. upstairs. 349 was the Independent Meat Market, and 351 the Joyce Food Store.

By 1937, ABC Lunch was established at 347, with the Art Display Co. upstairs. 349 housed Chicago Market Co., and 351 Staudt's Bakery.

1939 Duke Homecoming parade (Courtesy Retrochrome.net)

By 1941, 349 W. Main was the Liberty Market, and 351 W. Main was David's, a clothes store.

Below, a 1953 view showing a piece of 347 West Main, home of ABC Lunch. Specialties? Cigarettes and sandwiches, evidently.

343-345WMain_S_1953_0.jpg

Oh - and Barbecue.

343-345WMain_E_1953.jpg

 

347-351WMain_2_1950s.jpg

A 1950s era view that cuts off part of 347 West Main St., but shows the Liberty Market and Barringer-Whitfield furniture. These businesses remained in 1959.

libertymkt_wmain_1979.jpg

1979

The row of structures remains remarkably intact today. 

Looking south, September 2006.

347-351WMain_091011.jpg

09.10.11

As of 2011, 347 W. Main is home to Whiskey, a popular bar; 349 and 351 house offices.

347WMain_041911.jpg

04.10.11

04.27.13

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343-345WMain_1950s.jpgThe best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.343-345WMain_S_1953_0.jpg343-345WMain_E_1953.jpg

343-345 WEST MAIN

343-345
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1920S
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 05/02/2013 - 4:26pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 48.0696" N, 78° 54' 14.2596" W
US

Comments

343-345
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1920S
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

343-345WMain_1950s.jpg

343-345 West Main, 1950s (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

343-345 West Main is a well-decorated portion of a row of buildings along W. Main Street at Five Points, built during the 1920s. 

The earliest and best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.

The best view I could find of the whole row is from the 1920s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

By 1937, 343 housed the White Way Lunch, with the American Beauty Shoppe upstairs. (Louis) Sher's Shoe Shop was at 345.

343-345WMain_S_1953_0.jpg

1953

(Courtesy Barry Norman)

343-345WMain_E_1953.jpg

 

1953

(Courtesy Barry Norman)

By 1959, White Way had closed, replaced by NC Finance Corp - Sher's Shoe Shop remained. 

This row of buildings is quite well preserved, with some beautiful facades.

2007 streetscape revitalization to undo the 1970s streetscape revitalization.

In late 2007 or early 2008, a new restaurant opened at 345 West Main - "Toast". The amazing effect on a feel of a place - in this case Five Points - with the infusion of a place that brings just the right energy - is amazing. The entire character of Five Points, which had felt dour and moribund seemingly forever, changed, and, as of 2011, remains changed, with new establishments opening or planned. 

343-345WMain_091011.jpg

343-345 West Main, 09.09.11

04.27.13

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/sites/default/files/images/2006_10/Duke_oldcigfactory_NE_pcard.jpgDukeFactory_1870.jpeg/sites/default/files/images/2006_10/DukeFactory_Fairview_1890s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_10/Duke_oldcigfactory_NE_pcard.jpgdukefactory_NWfrmtracks_1920s_0.jpg

DUKE FACTORY (OLD CIGARETTE FACTORY)

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1884
/ Modified in
1893
,
1950
,
2006
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 09/10/2017 - 8:32am by gary

Location

35° 59' 52.5444" N, 78° 54' 26.0712" W

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1884
/ Modified in
1893
,
1950
,
2006
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The Duke Cigarette Factory was built in 1884 to replace the wooden structure that Washington Duke constructed just to the west of the site in 1874.

DukeFactory_1870.jpeg
The original wood frame tobacco factory. Taken from approximately present-day West Chapel Hill Street (west of the railroad tracks) looking north. Washington Duke's original house is on the left.
(From the Durham Historic Inventory)

The replacement building was originaly a 4-story, brick, Italianate structure, with main facades fronting the railroad tracks (south) and facing east.


This somewhat unusual picture shows the brick factory, the old factory, the original Washington Duke House, and Fairview.

By 1893, the original factory and Washington Duke's original house were torn down to expand the factory to the west, transforming the original building into a three sided structure with wings facing west and east.


Looking northeast.

Its styling was somewhat similar to the orginal appearance of the W.T. Blackwell Bull Durham Tobacco building, built in 1874 (the north-most building in the present-day American Tobacco complex.)

dukefactory_NWfrmtracks_1920s_0.jpg
The above picture was taken looking northwest from the approximate location of today's Amtrak station. The edge of the Walker warehouse is on the right.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

dukefactory2.jpeg
This picture is from 1901, looking north. The factory is in bunting for President McKinley's death.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

dukefactory3.jpeg
This picture is taken from the other side, looking southeast. The photographer is standing on the parcel of land at the northeast corner of Duke and Main Sts. The office building, to the west (right) of the factory in this picture was moved across the street during the 1940s prior to construction of the New Cigarette Factory (big blocky building with black lines).
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

LMaerial.jpeg
An aerial shot howing the full structure in the 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

newcigsite_se_1947.jpeg

dukefactory4.jpeg
Taken from the current site of the New Cigarette Factory , looking northeast, with the main factory building to the right. The Chesterfield sign has replaced the "Duke of Durham" sign that once was on the face of the building. Notice that the office building is now located on the north side of Main Street.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


Old Cigarette Factory, from the top of the Graybar Building
(Courtesy Herald - Sun)

Very soon after the New Cigarette Factory was completed in 1948, the original factory building was 'decapitated'. I'm not really sure why this was done, although I've been told that it was related to costs of fire insurance. You can see in the late 1940s photo below the now two-story building to the east of the new Cigarette Factory.

dukefactories_aerial_NW_1950.jpeg

The building was used for storage until Liggett left Durham several years ago. It is slated to be part of the Blue Devil Ventures/Partners West Village II renovation. Evidently the BDV folks made some effort to try to rebuild the top two floors, but the National Park Service would not let them do so as part of their historic tax credit, and this idea was abandoned.

The factory building, 2006

DukeFactory_3_2006.jpeg
Looking north.

DukeFact_1_2006.jpeg
Looking southwest.

The West Village folks have done a beautiful renovation of this structure, which I believe houses apartments.


Old Cigarette, looking southwest, 06.15.08


New cigarette factory from the interior courtyard of the old, looking west, 06.15.08. There is a pool beyond these crepe myrtles.

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/washingtonduke_ne_1950s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/academyofmusic_rendering.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/academyofmusic.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/FirstAcademyofMusic_1907.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/FirstAcademyofMusic_SW_1907.jpg

WASHINGTON DUKE HOTEL / JACK TAR HOTEL

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Demolished in
1975
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

The grand hotel of Durham for 50 years - and one of the worst architectural losses in Durham history

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:26am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 47.9256" N, 78° 54' 6.624" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Demolished in
1975
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 


1950s shot, looking northeast from W. Parrish and Market.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

 

Just after the turn of the century, the City decided to replace the scattered offices of the city along Main St. as well as the old city market that was supplanted by Union Station with a new, impressive municipal building known as the Academy of Music, which would be located between East Chapel Hill St., Corcoran, Market, and Parrish Sts. The site cost ,000. The city commissioned architects Hook and Sawyer of Charlotte, who also executed the Southern Conservatory of Music and Fire Station #2, to design the structure.


Rendering by Hook and Sawyer, 1902.
(Courtesy University of North Carolina.

Completed in 1903-1904 at a cost of ,000, it contained the offices of the city government and a market on the first floor (thus Market Street;) the second floor was "almost entirely taken up" by a performance hall, the remainder being devoted to a "small city auditorium."


Academy of Music, looking northwest from W. Parrish and Corcoran.

Stokes Hall, at Corcoran and West Main Sts., had provided both performance and meeting space prior to the construction of the Academy of Music (including courtroom space prior to the construction of the courthouse,) but no longer operated after the opening of the new building. Wyatt Dixon relates:

"The Academy played a major role in providing entertainment for hte people of the community. Dramatic plays and musical comedies were regular attractions, and for a number of years, the theatrical season was opened by the appearance of Al G. Fields Minstrel. May concerts by prominent singers of the day were presented by the Durham Kiwanis Club and other organizations, and local talent shows attracted capacity audiences. Public meetings in the promotion of the city's interest also made use of the building a for a number of years the Elks' annual memorial services were held there."


Academy of Music, 1907
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)


Rear of the Building, looking south-southwest from East Chapel Hill St., 1907
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

On June 17, 1909, the first Academy of Music was completely gutted by fire. The fire was discovered by employees of the Durham Morning Herald, whose office was directly across Market St. The walls remained upright immediately following the fire.

It was replaced with a very similar building, dubbed the "New Academy of Music." It was the city's primary performance venue - musical theater, orchestra, comedy acts - all performed at the Academy of Music. The market, however, was moved out of the building, relocating to the area between Corcoran, Morgan and Holland.


New Academy of Music, 1910s
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Next to the Academy of Music (on the west side) was a city park; this was the original Rotary Park with its bandstand, which had been established in 1916 as the first public gift of the Rotarians.


Looking south from East Chapel Hill St. and Market. The back of the post office and the Trust Building are visible, and the front of the Jordan Building is visible at the end of Market St.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Herald-Sun employees in Rotary Park - note the Academy of Music in the background.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

In 1924, the decision was made to build a new performance venue (the Durham Auditorium, now the Carolina theater) and to move the city hall into the former high school. The New Academy of Music was demolished. The bandstand at Rotary Park was moved to Bennett Place, where it still stands.

The Washington Duke Hotel was constructed on the site between 1924 and 1925. It was designed by Stanhope S. Johnson of Lynchburg, VA. Standing 16 stories tall at a cost .8 million, it was one of the most impressive hotel structures of its era.

I put together a little 'video' consisting of existing still frames of the hotel construction. (sorry for this annoying, cycling graphic - I'm having trouble getting YouTube to work for this one. If you didn't see it cycle, reload the page, as I had it cut off after 4 cycles.)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Below, near the completion of construction, looking northwest from Corcoran St.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

washduke_completed_1925.jpg

Completed, 1925. (Parnell)

Below, the Washington Duke in situ, soon after completion. Notable structures surrounding it include (moving, roughly, left to right) the Temple building, the Trust Building, the Wright Corner, the old Post Office, and the Geer building

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

It was part of an active streetscape - people have told me of regularly going to the newsstand on the first floor.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The main entrance - approximately 1950s.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The lobby was an impressive art deco interior.
wdukehotel_lobby_undate.jpg

The Lobby

(Courtesy Durham County Library - Parnell)

washduke_bar_undate.jpg
The downstairs bar (Courtesy Durham County Library - Parnell)

Late 1940s postcard

It's impossible to recount how many events woven through the lives of people occurred at the Washington Duke. I've seen hundreds of photos of group meetings, important speakers, dances, dinners, etc. The Washington Duke was, however, segregated up until the 1960s.


1950s Bird's Eye aerial, looking southeast.

Occasionally, the hotel was the site of tragedy as well. Warning, the below photo is very grim, but it depicts a scene that shows the centrality of the hotel to the city.

raleighmanleapsfromtopofwashdukehotel122652.140.jpg

"Walker, Raleigh Man, Leaps from the top of Washington Duke Hotel" - 12.26.52 (Herald-Sun) This is from the deck, ~2 stories up, looking east down West Parrish Street.

By the 1960s, the hotel had become the "Jack Tar Hotel" - evidently part of a chain. The impressive first floor was dampened by the decision to brick up the large windows - trying to give it that 'modern' look, I guess. It was later referred to as simply the "Durham Hotel".


Looking south on Corcoran from East Chapel Hill.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

As previously noted in the post for the Washington Duke Motel, the owners had attempted to keep up with the motel era by demolishing the buildings across Corcoran St. to build a motel structure with a rooftop pool.

washduke_091161.jpg

09.11.61- Preparing to building the motel across the street. (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

washduke_SW_091161.jpg

09.11.61 - looking southwest from East Chapel Hill St.

It was connected to the older hotel via a skybridge across Corcoran.

Looking west on Parrish St.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Brad Bradsher, whose mother was the convention / sales manager for the hotel in the 1960s and 1970s told me about his experience of the hotel in that era:

"I spent many an afternoon roaming around the halls in the early '70's. I can remember staying there in the '60's when you could pull into the parking deck across the street and register via closed-circuit TV. Pretty cool for 1968!"\

chrisharw_jacktar_1970s.jpg

(Norman Williams Collection)

jacktarroof_1960s.jpg

From the CCB building, looking north. (Louise Hall Collection)

By the mid-1970s, the hotel was evidently no longer profitable and was no longer being used, pending needed repair work. As Mr. Bradsher recalls:

"They tried to sell it repeatedly...It just needed too much repair work (asbestos, etc.). At the end, they tried to give it away. They almost cut a deal with, of all things, the Boy Scouts of America, to use it as a national convention center of sorts--but the cost of fixing it up was too much. As I recall it came down to not even being able to GIVE the building away, and it was costing them a fortune just to let it sit empty."

George Watts Hill, the owner of the building, made the decision to demolish the building.

I rate the demolition of the Washington Duke Hotel as a tie (with Union Station) for the worst single-structure architectural/cultural loss for the city of Durham. The hotel was an icon - seemingly, among those I've spoken with, beloved by those who grew up here mid-20th century. George Watts Hill gets oddly reverential treatment in Preservation Society circles in Durham (with various awards named after him for big donors.) To me, that just about sums up what's wrong with traditional preservation societies. Tear down some of the best architecture in Durham (between this and Harwood Hall), but it's ok if you're a generous donor.

Below, the walkway being taken down in preparation for demolition.

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1975, early one morning, the streets were closed and the hotel was imploded. I've made another little 'movie' of a few still frames below.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

A friend of a friend was in high school in Durham when this occurred, and made a movie of the event for school, which is below. It takes a bit to get to the the actual demolition, but very worth watching.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

WD_demo_fromchanticleer.jpg


From the present-day (2011) location of Durham Central Park/ the Farmer's Market, looking south (just north of Hunt St.)
(Courtesy Bob Blake)

(Photo by George Pyne courtesy Milo Pyne)

The more people I have talked to about growing up in Durham, the more I realize that this was one of those major life events that people remember with great clarity - just within the last month (May 2011) I've spoken to three people who were children at the time - all of whom remember with great detail where they were standing, what happened during, and what they did afterwards.

Below, the streetscape after demolition.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Inexplicably, the site became a longstanding surface parking lot, commonly referred to as "Bare Square."

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

When a 1980s push came along to build a hotel and convention center in downtown, Watts Hill made a push for his site, but the city, in its infinite wisdom, tore down the entire adjacent block (the 200 block of East Chapel Hill St.) instead.

The Bare Square remained a parking lot, owned by Oprah fan Ronnie Sturdivant, up until a couple of years ago. Under Nick Tennyson's administration and at DDI's urging, an important pillar of downtown revitalization became the construction of a direct connection between Corcoran Street and Foster Street. The benefits of a seamless north-south thoroughfare through downtown would evidently - well, I don't know what it would do, exactly. But it was Necessary.

This roadway (which I like to call the Kalkhof Konnector) now splits the former Washington Duke site into two pieces, one of which has become part of the block directly to the east. As a part of the streetscape work, these spaces are being turned into a brick plaza.

Looking north from Parrish, 2007.

I don't think this is the way to create public space - by chopping up space for roadways so as to move traffic more expeditiously and then primping the leftovers. I'd like to be optimistic about it - and the prospect of a place to sit and enjoy treats from Locopops on Market St. this summer sounds good. But it's an awkward space. Perhaps someday we'll get rid of the Washington Duke Motel ('Oprah') and build a new, trapezoidal building out to the new street-line. If that hypothetical building had the requisite first floor activity, it might create the kind of tight, active enclosure that feeds public spaces.

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JACK TAR MOTEL

212
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1962
/ Modified in
1966
,
2016
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,
,

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 06/14/2017 - 2:16pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 46.8312" N, 78° 54' 4.7556" W

Comments

212
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1962
/ Modified in
1966
,
2016
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,
,

 


Jack Tar Motel, 212 N.Corcoran, 1962

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

---

202-204 N. Corcoran and 206-210 Corcoran (the Hackney Block) took up about half the street frontage of Corcoran Street between Parrish and Chapel Hill Street.

This view from the 1910s shows only the northern building. It is taken looking east, across Corcoran Street, and shows the detailed cornice and finials.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This picture shows a street-level view of the southern building, likely 1915-1925, looking east from Corcoran St.

By the 1940s, the 202-204 Corcoran St. building was home to the Vogue Furniture Store

The building immediately to the east of the Hackney Block was the longtime home of Kimbrell's Furniture. In September, 1955, this building burned.


Looking northeast, 9/4/55.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Looking northwest, 9/4/55.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

This view from late 1955, looking northeast, show the entire corner, including the repeating cornice line of the two buildings as they wrap around the corner, and the burned-out Kimbrell's behind.


(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

By 1956, Kimbrell's has been torn down and turned into a parking lot.


A low aerial shot looking north on Corcoran St.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

By the next view, from 1961, the eastern building is gone, and the Hackney Block is showing signs of neglect.

By 1962, it and another building on W. Parrish St. are mostly demolished in preparation for construction of the Jack Tar Motel.

JackTar_renderingad_1962.jpg

 

JackTar_rendering_1962.jpg


Looking northeast, 1962.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By 1963, the first stage of the Washington Duke Motel is complete.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Attempting to compete in the motel era, the proprietors of the Jack Tar (nee Washington Duke) Hotel sought to expand with motel space, including an integrated parking garage and swimming pool. Note in particular the skybridge that connects the new motel with the Washington Duke Hotel, directly west across Corcoran. It is also interesting to note that the motel was built in stages. You can see the remaining older commercial structure at the southeast corner of East Chapel Hill St. and Corcoran in this photo. Its days were numbered.


Swimming pool at the Jack Tar, 09.08.63
(Courtesy The Herald Sun)


Swimming pool at the Jack Tar, 09.08.63
(Courtesy The Herald Sun)

By the late 1960s, the remaining older structures on the southeast corner of Corcoran and East Chapel Hill would be demolished as well, and the Jack Tar Motel would expand to take up the entire block face between Parrish and Chapel Hill Streets, and a large portion of the block bounded by those two streets, Corcoran, and Orange Street.

The southeast corner of East Chapel Hill Street and Corcoran Street had consisted of three primary buildings. Chapel Hill Street was not the retail street that Main was, but had more service-oriented businesses. The two buildings with frontage on Chapel Hill Street were automobile service-oriented from the early 20th century.


Southeast corner of Chapel Hill Street and Corcoran, ~1920.

 

CHSandCorc1910.jpeg Looking south from Chapel Hill street at the
corner building
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
CHSandCorc1910_2.jpegLooking east/southeast from Corcoran Street.
To the south is the Hackney Block
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

grandcentralgarage_ECH_1919.jpeg
Drawing of the "Grand Central Garage" on East Chapel Hill St., 1919

The Washington Duke Hotel was built in 1924. The automobile-oriented building on Chapel Hill Street (to the east of the corner building) likely provided some off-street parking for the hotel as well as gasoline.
CorcCHS1.jpeg
Looking west/southwest from Chapel Hill street. Washington Duke Hotel is in the background.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This building and the Hackney Block were torn down in the early 1960s to build the first stage of the Washington Duke Motel. This building was L-shaped, wrapping around the corner building and the other building facing Corcoran.

CorcCHS2.jpeg
The Auto Gas and Storage being torn down (looking south from Chapel Hill St.)
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

CorcCHS3.jpeg
Replaced with the parking deck portion of the WDM (looking west-SW from Chapel Hill St.)
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

CHSCorc1.jpeg
The remaining buildings on the corner of Corcoran and Chapel Hill St, encased by the Washington Duke Motel. Interestingly, the auto-oriented building on the corner has been coverted back to retail. Ralph Rogers notes that it was the "Thomas Bookstore".

These buildings would survive a few more years, but by 1966, that window-walled morsel of goodness known as the Washington Duke Motel just had to be expanded.


Demolition, 02.17.66
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)


Demolition, 02.17.66
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

CHSCorc2.jpeg
During construction
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

CHSCorc3.jpeg
Completed Washington Duke Motel, late 1960s
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This building is primarily Ronnie Sturdivant's homage to Oprah now. The best thing that I can say about it from a design perspective is that it has first floor retail (Blue Coffee, TJ Phat Wear), which is how we are trying to build parking garages now. The rest of the building is just an eyesore - not just because it's modern, but because of the top-heavy form, the cut-out on the main facade, the blank wall on Chapel Hill Street, etc.

WDM.jpeg
Building from the corner of Corcoran and Chapel Hill Street. Love the juxtaposition of the new traditional streetlamps with the window-walls.

WDM2.jpeg
From Chapel Hill Street, looking west-southwest. A small tidbit I've noticed before - look at the alley on the east side of the building. The original east wall of the "Auto Gas Storage" building is still part of the Oprah structure.


Looking north from Corcoran and Parrish, December 2006

I don't know if it functioned as a motel after the Washington Duke/Durham Hotel/Jack Tar Hotel went out of business, in the mid 1970s. As of 2006, it is owned by Ronnie Sturdivant, who also owns the empty former Holiday Inn on Chapel Hill St (Urban Merchant Center) and really seems to want Oprah. (It has become known as "The Oprah Building" in common Durham parlance.

 

Oprah_072008.jpg

07.24.08

Update, October 2011

While the condition of this building is still poor, I've come to appreciate mid-century modern architecture a great deal more than I did when I wrote the above five years ago. As I said then, many of the design principles are solid here - hidden structured parking, ground floor retail, upper story residential. When I first wrote this I didn't realize that the indentation in the frontage was for a roof deck pool (those pictures were added later.)

Although I'd rather have what was there before, I think it's rather cool urban design for its time. It's in ratty shape, but if its aluminum and window walls were shined up and the nasty curtains removed and window A/Cs removed, I can picture some hipsters hanging out by the rooftop pool, overlooking the Bull. (Also an addition since 2006.) 

Since then, Ronnie Sturdivant was murdered, and his wife controls the building.  Roger Perry, developer of Meadowmont and Woodcroft has optioned the property, which doesn't mean much, despite the excited frothing of some folks. He's interested enough to do some serious due diligence - that's it. I empathize with a general hunger for development to continue downtown, but given that there's vacant land just to the south of this that's undeveloped, and plenty of other vacant land around, I don't really see that taking this out is prudent or necessary. I think it's a long shot to move forward - if it's all multifamily, it could get financed right now, but it's a constrained site with limited options for parking if you want to maximize your apt. units. If it isn't, well, there's a lot of other planned new construction downtown that hasn't come out of the ground - not because developers aren't capable, but because the financing and tenants aren't there for it to make economic sense while we're still Recessing. 

I'm not going to lie down in front of the bulldozer, but I think this is probably the kind of thing Durham's likely to demolish about 6 months before it becomes extremely cool. And the likeliest outcome is that this "eyesore" becomes yet another empty swath of dirt, brimming with development 'potential', but no developers.

--

Update July 2014 -

Somewhat shockingly, there is a move afoot to renovate the Jack Tar Motel. Austin Lawrence Partners purchased the property from Ronnie Sturdivant's heirs, primarily to provide additional parking for Pickle II: Downtown Boogie that they are building next door on the old Geer Building site.

The Indy did a feature on the building in July 2014; editor Lisa Sorg was kind enough to share her photos with this text:

These are photos of the inside, exterior and parking garage at the Jack Tar motel, taken in July 2014. Austin Lawrence Partners purchased the building from the Sturdivants for million; the developer plans to restore it to a boutique hotel with rooftop pool, bar and lounge. It is scheduled to open in 2016. You can read the INDY Week story about the plans here.

 

New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/business/real-estate-hotel-boutique-m...) Photographer: Kate Medley

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BLACKNALL'S DRUGSTORE / STOKES HALL

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1873
/ Demolished in
1914
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

The northeast corner of Main and Corcoran Street has seen its share of building drama Blacknall's Drugstore was one of the first in the city, and Stokes Hall acted as a meeting place, courthouse, entertainment venue, etc. The buildings were destroyed in the fire of 1914

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 08/18/2011 - 12:47am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 44.358" N, 78° 54' 5.85" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1873
/ Demolished in
1914
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The northeast corner of Main and Corcoran Street has seen its share of building drama. For much of the 20th century, it was the location of one of the buildings on my Top Five list of How-Could-They-Have-Torn-That-Down buidings in Durham: the Geer building.

Before that, two buildings sat on the site of the later Geer Building: Blacknall's Drugstore was on thie corner, and Stokes Hall (the Opera House) sat immediately to its east.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Blacknall's Drugstore was established in 1873 by Richard Blacknall and his father.


Interior of Blacknall's Drugstore, 1900.
(Courtesy The Herald Sun)

Stokes' Hall, also known as the Opera House, was a performance venue and site of city council meetings prior to the construction of the Municipal Building / Academy of Music. The hall hosted theatrical performances, the Durham Choral Society, and early movies.


Looking east from Corcoran and West Main, circa 1900.
(Courtesy State Archives of North Carolina)

A dramatic fire in 1914 that broke out in the Brodie Duke Building (taller structure mid-block) destroyed much of the block (all except the easternmost two storefronts):


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Destroyed structures, 1914.

A new building was constructed on the corner of Main and Corcoran Streets, modelled on a Florentine Palace. It was called the (Frederick) Geer Building, and designed by Alfred C. Bossom, British-born (and later member of Parliment) and nationally renowned for his bank designs.

 

 

Architectural Plans for the Geer Building.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Construction of the 5-story building, L-shaped, with the L at an obtuse angle to match the angle of Corcoran and West Main Sts., was completed in 1915.

The Geer Building, 1915
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Fidelity Bank was the major tenant of the building. Fidelity was organized in 1887, capitalized with ,000 by Washington Duke, Benjamin Duke, MA Angier, and George Watts. Fidelity was initially located in the Wright Building, diagonally across the intersection from this location. Presumably after the falling out between Wright and the Dukes/Watts, Fidelity moved to the Trust Building after it was completed in 1905. After the completion of the Geer Building, Fidelity became the anchor tenant, with the main branch and offices in the building.

Blacknall's Drugstore returned after the fire, located on the ground floor facing Corcoran, and remained a tenant until 1932, when it moved west on W. Main St. and became "Durham Drug Co." Woolworth's was located on the West Main St. ground floor of the building. The Geer Building helped form part of a corridor of signficant, sizable structures that straddled Corcoran Street. Multiple independent professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) had offices in the Geer Building.


Above, a view of the buildings lining Corcoran: the Geer Building, First National Bank building, the Durham Hosiery Mills buildings on the east side; the Croft Business School, and the roof of the old post office are visible on the west side. This was taken from the top of the Washington Duke Hotel; (all are gone except the First National Bank building) - late 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham Country Library)


A closer view.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


Corcoran Street, looking south from close to Parrish Street. The old post office is on the right, the Geer Building, First National Bank Building, and Durham Hosiery Mills on the left.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

It was a popular place for watching parades on Main Street. (Courtesy Duke Archives)

John Wily succeeded Benjamin Duke as president of the bank in 1922, and was succeeded by Jones Fuller in 1938. By 1939, Fidelity's offices has continued to expand, and they purchased the entire building, renaming it The Fidelity Bank Building. They later acquired the commercial structures immediately to the north of the building as well.

John Sprunt Hill was known to have been in keen competition with the Fidelity through the mid-20th century with his Durham Bank and Trust Company. In 1953, Fidelity was the largest bank in Durham, with ,000,000 in assets; Durham Bank and Trust was second, with ,932,000. Fidelity never expanded beyond Durham, with one branch in West Durham, one in East Durham, and one in north Durham.

In 1956, Fidelity Bank was acquired by Wachovia Bank of Winston-Salem, and absorbed under the Wachovia name.


Geer Building, known in the 1960s as the Wachovia Building - 02.20.61.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

Geer_1971.jpeg
Geer Building, 1971
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Wachovia demolished the original home of Fidelity, the Wright Corner / Croft Business School building and built a new branch on that corner (the southwest corner of Main and Corcoran).

In 1972, the vast majority of the Geer Building (and the Nancy Grocery to its north) was demolished.


Looking south, 1972.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Curiously, a not-so-large portion of the building remained - the part containing Woolworth's.

And you can see that they just chopped it off where they felt they needed to, leaving a chunk of the old arched doorway on the left side.


Vacant lot next to Woolworth's, 1990s. (Courtesy Durham County Library)

Woolworth's eventually donated the remainder of the Geer building to the city, which let it languish.
Fire ravaged the building next door (on the Parrish Street side) and caused additional water damage to the building. The city eventually stated that there was a "toxic mold" problem in the building, and asbestos, and that it needed to be torn down. It would be good if they read the CDC page about so-called toxic mold. And asbestos, well, that's pretty much in every old building. But the city had plans.


The bulldozers are back, 2001. Think they cleaned up the 'toxic mold' before they aerosolized billions of evil spores through demolition?
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Getting ready to take down the last remnants of the Geer building, 2001.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

To quote the Office of Economic Development website:

"Woolworth Site Redevelopment"

" – 15 M – Woolworth Site Redevelopment — located on the site of one of the first civil rights sit-ins in the country, the historic building stood abandoned for a number of years, simultaneously growing a toxic mold problem coupled by the presence of asbestos. Noting the serious problems of the old building, the City of Durham financed the demolition and cleaning of the site. Next a call was issued for proposals on the redevelopment of the space, and a local development team was selected. OEWD is currently discussing a development agreement with this team for a signature 75,000 SF building at the historic Woolworth Site."

So, the last vestiges of the Geer Building were in the way of economic development, and the building was torn down. The coda to this saga is the city's attempt to expand this vacant area for their "signature building" by going after privately-owned 120 West Main Street with the demolition crew back in January. But that's a story for another post.


View of site of Geer Building, looking north on Corcoran, from similar vantage point to 1971 photo, 2006.


View of vacant Geer Building/Woolworth's site, 2006.

After this site was acquired by Greenfire Development, there has been much talk of their development of the "signature building" on this site. As of June, 2009, Greenfire released renderings showing what their proposed structure would look like - an improvement over previous iterations that would have demolished much of the remaining structures in the block.


Looking northeast from Corcoran and West Main.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)


Looking southeast from Corcoran between W. Parrish and E Chapel Hill.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)


Looking southeast at the 100 West Parrish St. storefronts from W. Parrish and Corcoran.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)

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118 W. PARRISH ST. / CHRISTIAN-HARWARD

118
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1900s
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 11/19/2013 - 8:30am by gary

Location

35° 59' 46.1292" N, 78° 54' 3.4128" W

Comments

118
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1900s
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

118 West Parrish St. is the oldest building remaining on the north side of the 100 block of Parrish St. It was built sometime before 1905 as a 2-story structure.


Looking east-northeast, 1905. Parrish St. is to the left, and 118 West Parrish is the rightmost structure in the row, with 3 sets of 3 windows. To its right is a large frame warehouse, which was the Mangum warehouse.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

During the early 20th century, the remainder of the block was developed with commercial structures, such that 118 W. Parrish was mid-block.


Looking northwest, 1924. 118 West Parrish is just to the left of the significantly taller NC Mutual building.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

At some point in the early 20th century, BC Woodall's bicycle and harness shop was located here

woodalls_wparrish_undate.jpg

A third story was added to the building sometime after 1924. I'm not sure when this became the Christian-Harward Furniture company, but it certainly was by mid-century.


Looking west down Parrish St., the Christian-Harward sign is visible on the right.
(From "Durham: A Pictorial History" by J. Kostyu.)

christianprintingmovingpress_060757.jpg

"Christian Printing Moving Press" - 06.07.57 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Above, the view looking northwest, 1963.

By the late 1960s, the front facade of this building was covered with a false front, which stayed on until several years ago.

1970 (DCL)

christianharward_061269.jpg

06.12.69

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

chrisharw_jacktar_1970s.jpg

1974

(Courtesy Norman Williams Collection)

This building was renovated, I believe by Carl Webb, in ~2004.)

March 2007 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

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NORTH CAROLINA MUTUAL / MECHANICS AND FARMERS

116
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1921
/ Modified in
1950-1970
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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Location

United States
35° 59' 45.726" N, 78° 54' 3.0132" W
US

Comments

116
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1921
/ Modified in
1950-1970
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

North Carolina Mutual Insurance Co. was established in 1898 as the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association by John Merrick, Dr. AM Moore, PW Dawkins, DT Watson, WP Pearson, EA Johnson, and Dr. James E Shepard. This coalition of men appears to have grown out of the Grand United Order of the True Reformers, a mutual-benefit society founded in 1881 by William Washington Browne. John Merrick, a member of the True Reformers, helped form the Royal Knights of King David with John Wright, WA Day, JD Morgan, and TJ Jones. As was common in the 19th and early 20th century, fraternal organizations and 'friendly societies' were the source of life, burial, and health insurance. Although the sources I've looked at seem unclear, the Royal Knights of King David were evidently not financially successful in the insurance business, but the relationships therein formed the seed of the establishment of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association.

John Merrick had been a successful barber in Raleigh, and was evidently, in part, persuaded to move to Durham by Washington Duke, Julian Carr, and WT Blackwell. Once in Durham, he established a successful barbershop business as well as a real estate business - evidently assisted by a loan from Julian Carr. Dr. Aaron Moore had moved to Durham in 1888 to begin his medical practice - the first African-American physician in Durham. CC Spaulding was a nephew of Dr. Moore and became first an agent for the company, and then, quickly, chief of agents.

The company struggled initially, and the first death claim of necessitated an additional capital infusion from the stockholders to keep the company afloat. The initial financial troubles of the company caused all organizers except for Merrick, Spaulding, and Moore ("The Triumvirate") to resign. However, the three men were successful in keeping the business afloat, and "using sound scientific principles" building a prosperous company.

The insurance company was first located in Dr. Moore's office on Main St., at the site of the "old courthouse". Parrish St. was transitioning from tobacco warehouses to commercial structures.


Looking northeast, 1905.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1906, the NC Mutual and Provident Assn. built their own office building, just to the right of the Christian-Harward building in the above picture.


Looking northeast from Parrish St., 1911.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The insurance company offices were located on the second floor, while the first floor was rented to a shoe store and a clothing store. By 1907, the principals had started Mechanics and Farmers bank, located in the same building.

Both the insurance company and bank were quite successful. John Merrick was the first president; after his death in 1919, Dr. Aaron Moore became president. In 1921, the company had grown to such an extent that the existing building on Parrish St. was not large enough. It was demolished, and an impressive neoclassical revival building - similar in style to the First National Bank building at W. Main and Corcoran - was errected in its place. The six-story structure was designed by local architects Rose & Rose.

NCMutual_const_1920.jpg

Under construction,1920. (Courtesy NC Mutual Archives)


A view of Parrish Street, looking northwest, 1924.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


A view of the North Carolina Mutual building, looking northeast, 1920s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Mechanics and Farmers Bank was located on the first floor, Bankers Fire Insurance Company (organized as a separate division in 1920) on the second floor, and NC Mutual the remaining four floors and the basement.

After Dr. Moore died in 1923, CC Spaulding became president, a post he would hold for the following 29 years.

Above, two views of the building - the one on the left from the 1920s, the one on the right from the 1930s. Note in the second that the Christian-Harward building next door has added a third story.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

NCMutual_Parrish_1950s.jpg

NC Mutual Building, 1950s. (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

NCMutual_WParrish_2_1950s.jpg

1950s (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

CC Spaulding built an ever more successful company, as did the presidents following his death in 1952. By the 1960s, the insurance company had outgrown its Parrish St. building as well.


Above, a view of the first floor of the NC Mutual building, 1963. The original windows had been replaced by jalousie windows.

NC Mutual purchased Four Acres, BN Duke's former mansion, and constructed a 12-story international-style structure in its place in 1965. While the insurance company moved to this large new structure, Mechanics and Farmers Bank remained in the original building on Parrish St. The "North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co." lettering on the facade was replaced by "Mechanics and Farmers Bank." The original awnings and entrances were removed - the two side entrances were filled, and a modern, single canopy entrance was put on the building.

At some point later - I'm not sure when, the building underwent restoration, including replacement of the jalousie windows with more historically appropriate sash windows. Unfortunately, the restoration did not include the original entrance.


Looking northeast, 2007

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BOONE'S DRUGSTORE

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1927
/ Demolished in
1965-1973
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 11/08/2011 - 9:32am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 44.8656" N, 78° 54' 0.8604" W
US

Comments

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1927
/ Demolished in
1965-1973
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Looking northwest, 1963. Orange St. is on the left, N. Mangum on the right.

firstbaptist_mangum_1905.jpeg

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The First Baptist Church was the first church in Durham. The congregation formed in 1845 as the Rose of Sharon Baptist church, according to Boyd's history of Durham, "in the Piney Grove schoolhouse, 1 mile south of West Durham." In 1850, with population growing near "Durhamville" and Prattsburg, they moved their congregation to the current Pettigrew St. With the railroad contruction, they moved to the area of the 500 block of Cleveland St. Boyd describes it as a "country church" on 4 acres, with "preaching held once a month" as there was no regular pastor.

In 1876, Dr. Columbus Durham wsa employed as a full-time pastor, and the name of the church was changed to Durham Baptist, as another congregation to the north of Durham had also taken the name Rose of Sharon. In 1878, the church wanted to move to the center of town, and purchased a lot on Mangum St. They constructed the above church soon thereafter.

(Courtesy Durham County Library) With the establishment of Blackwell's Baptist Church on West Chapel Hill St. in the 1880s, the name of the church was changed to the First Baptist Church. The small steeple on the south side of the church was an addition to the original structure added in about 1890.

The town grew around the church, and by the turn of the century commercial structures had nearly surrounded the church. This picture, looking west, shows the trolley lines coming from Holloway St. and diverging north on Mangum and south to join Main.


Above, a partial view of the church with a revival tent set up to the north. The split of the streetcar lines at Holloway is visible in the street. ~1910s
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


First Baptist from N. Mangum St.
(Courtesy UNC)


One of SE Rochelle's motorcycle tours, starting across the street from his bicycle and motorcycle store in front of FBC.
06.17.17

Below, looking northwest, the church in 1924. The 100 block of East Parrish St. is in the foreground. The road just to the right of the church was Rigsbee Ave., which used to extend past East Chapel Hill St. to North Mangum.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1927, the church wished to expand, and built a new structure on Cleveland St., at the terminus of Chapel Hill St. (which is the building still in use today.)

The piece of land between Orange, Mangum, and Rigsbee St. was then developed with commercial structures as well. At the southern 'point' of this semi-triangle was Boone's Drugs. DL Boone had joined with the Haywood-King drugstore, and King sold his interest to Boone. The new drugstore, Haywood-Boone, was located at the northwest corner of W. Main and N. Mangum Sts. until that location was sold to Walgreen's in 1937. Haywood left the business, and DL Boone opened his own drugstore at the Orange, Rigsbee, Mangum location.


Looking northwest, 1963. Orange St. is on the left, N. Mangum on the right.

I don't really know the story behind the shot below - a mid 1960s rally for 'supporting schools.'

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By sometime in the mid-1960s, Boone's had closed and the building had become "The Coffee Break".


Looking northeast - Orange St. is on the left.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Just north of Boone's Drugs on N. Mangum St. were several commercial structures and businesses, including Gladstein's, which "fit the big man."


Looking northwest from N. Mangum., 1963. Boone's Drugs is at the left edge of the picture.

These structures angled a bit at the less-than-90 degree intersection with Rigsbee Ave.

Looking north, 1963.

Below, another view of the commercial row, late 1960s

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By 1973, the parking deck on East Chapel Hill had been constructed, blocking off Rigsbee Ave., and Boone's Drugs / The Coffee Break had been demolished.


Looking northwest, 1973.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

These remaining buildings were demolished soon after this, and the whole area became surface parking.


Looking northwest at the former interection of Rigsbee and N. Mangum.


Looking north at the former 'point' of the triangle/ Boone's Drugs.

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FIRE STATION #1 (SECOND)

212
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Modified in
1969
,
2008
Architect/Designers: 
,
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 06/25/2012 - 3:09pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 45.0456" N, 78° 53' 58.8516" W
US

Comments

212
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1924
/ Modified in
1969
,
2008
Architect/Designers: 
,
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

The home of the "Golden Belt Hose Company", a primarily volunteer firefighting squad, was constructed at the intersection of Holloway and Mangum Streets between 1888 and 1893, likely in 1890, on land adjacent to the E.J. Parrish tobacco warehouse.


Fire Station #1, probably around 1900.
(Courtesy University of North Carolina Library)


Fire Chief Dennis Christian in front of the Fire Station.
(Courtesy Duke RMBC - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

By the 1910s, the Mangum St. side of the building had been remodeled with large doorways to allow motorized trucks to move in and out of the station.


Above, the Italianate Fire Station around 1910, and Company #1 demonstrating their motorized equipment, which was replacing horse-drawn equipment that was not fully phased out until 1918.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Above, the Sanborn map from 1893, showing the fire department at the intersection of Mangum and Holloway. (spelled "Hollaway" here)

Below, an earlier view, from around 1905, looking east from the newly constructed Trust Building. Parrish St. is to the left, and the towers of First Baptist Church, Fire Station #1 (with its weathervane and windsock), and Trinity Methodist Church in the background. The Parrish warehouse is the low brick structure to the right of the Fire station (it looks a bit strange - I think two pictures were imperfectly spliced.)

(Courtesy Duke Archives)


The fire company in 1922. Commercial structures along Holloway to the left and the back of commercial structures facing Parrish St. are to the right.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Below, a view from the same era, showing the Rogers Drug Co. and First Baptist Church.

In 1924, the original fire station was torn down, and a new one designed by Milburan and Heister was constructed on the same spot.


Milburn and Heister rendering of the new station.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

Below, the view looking northwest over the buildings on Parrish St., with the First Baptist Church on the left. The foundation and first-floor walls are in place of the new building.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The new fire station bore some resemblance to the original, but reflected a more typical 1920s appearance, with Craftsman-style elements such as exposed rafter tails as well as multipane windows and doors. The doors were still side-hinged (swinging outward).

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By 1960, the doors had been replaced with roll-up rather than swing-out doors.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Fire engine exiting station #1, looking north, 09.20.54
(Courtesy the Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Below, an aerial view from the early 1960s showing Fire Station #1 in context.

By 1964, a new fire station #1 was built at Cleveland and Morgan Sts. and this fire station was left empty. It was purchased and converted into offices in 1969 by Gerard Tempest, who had earlier built The Villa in Chapel Hill out of parts of Harwood Hall and Four Acres.


The old station under renovation, 02.14.69
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Which it remained through the later decades of the 20th century.


Former fire station #1, 1980s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

firestation1_2006.jpg

2006
This is another Greenfire property, in the midst of renovation during 2007-2008 in conjunction with 107 East Parrish St. and the Rogers drugstore.


Looking east, 2007.

FireStation1_072408.jpg

07.24.08

firestation1_103011.jpg

10.30.11

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202-210 NORTH MANGUM / ROGERS' DRUG STORE

202-210
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1913
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 09/27/2011 - 7:44am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 44.1096" N, 78° 53' 59.748" W
US

Comments

202-210
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1913
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

Rogers Drugstore, 1968

---

Looking northeast from the corner of Parrish St. and N. Mangum St., 1890s

(Courtesy Duke Archives)


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

After his first warehouse on the south side of the 100 block of E. Parrish St. burned in the 1880s, EJ Parrish built a second warehouse that eventually extended most of the length of the block, although it was set back from Mangum St. with a grassy area in front and places to park your mule along the north side of the building.


(Copyright Sanborn Fire Insurance Co.)

Above, the intersection of Parrish, Mangum, Orange, "Hollaway" (now City Hall Place), and North (later Rigsbee, now parking lot) - 1893. Fire Station #1 is located just to the north of the warehouse, and the Parrish building is just to the south. First Baptist Church is located west, across Mangum St.

Below, a fuzzy bird's eye view shows the EJ Parrish building (with some interesting protruding bays on the front that I hadn't previously noticed), the Parrish warehouse, and the first Fire Station #1. Trinity Methodist Church is in the background.


Looking east, 1905.
(From "Images of America: Durham" by Steve Massengill)

By January 1913, the Parrish warehouse was torn down by RH Wright. He announced that month he would tear down the ware house and begin construction on "six of the handsomest business buildings in the city - four [of which would] face Mangum street while the other two [would] face Parrish street" to be completed before 1914.


Above, looking north from the 100 block of North Mangum St., around 1914. On the right, the EJ Parrish Building, and just beyond that, the northeast corner of Parrish and Mangum. There is a scale outside the front door, and it appears that there is a sign that says _Levin on the Mangum St. side, Henry Levin(e)'s shoe repair shop.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The Carrington-Rogers Drugstore became the initial tenant on the corner (200-202); Public Hardware was another early tenant. By 1923, they had moved a few doors east on Parrish St., and Carrington-Rogers had become Rogers Drug Co. Other bays of the building were filled with other tenants - 200-202 was the Rogers Drugstore, 204 was Henry Levin(e) (spelled both ways,) 206 was Universal Stores, Inc., 208 was SE Rochelle, and 210 - a one story 'bumpout' on the north side of the building was the Service Cafe.


Above, the view looking east-northeast, 1923. Moving left to right, a bit of the First Baptist Church is visible at the left edge of the picture, the first Fire Station #1, Rogers Drug, and the EJ Parrish building. ( I surmise 1923 because Trinity Methodist Church is missing in this picture - it burned in January 1923 and was rebuilt in 1924).
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1928, Medlin's Electric Shoe Shop was at 204, Universal Stores at 206, SE Rochelle at 208, and A&P at 210.

In 1932, the OK Electric Shoe Shop was at 204, Universal Stores at 206, SE Rochelle at 208, and Warren and Markham at 210.

In 1937, 204 was Ferrell's watchmaking, with Wright's Automatic Tobacco Packing Machine Co. and Wright Real Estate upstairs. 206 was the White Owl cigar store, 208 was SE Rochelle, and 210 was Mangum St. Barber Shop. By 1941. Rochelle had moved to his next location. 204 was empty, 206 was W&L Cigar Store and Billiards, 208-210 was the Durham Gas Co.

A small view of the Rogers Drugstore sign is visible at the left edge of the shot below, looking east on Parrish St. ~1940.
parrishandmangum_east2.jpeg
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


A shot of the south side of the building looking west down Parrish St., 1950s.
(Courtesy Bob Blake)

In 1948, 206 housed the Allenton Co. real estate, and 208 the Ray-Browning Co., men's clothes. 210 housed Broadwell Paints. In 1952, 206 has Allenton Realty and Insurance Co., 208 Ray-Browning Clothiers, and 210 Family Finance and Acceptance, which had become Union Finance Co. by 1959.

The business lasted into the late 1960s.


Above, the Rogers Drugs Co., 1968 - note the multiple building entrances/storefronts.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

A 1970s redo deprived the building of its original windows and much of its variety of entrances on the first floor for a feast of plate glass, but helped meet the wig needs of Durham.


Above, looking northeast, 1979.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Another redo in 1980 reformulated the entryways with arches and different doors.


Looking northeast, 1979.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Looking east down the 100 Block of East Parrish
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

I think this was a Verizon building for a number of years in the 1990s. Most recently it has been occupied by Preservation Durham and the Parrish St. Advocacy Group. It is one of Greenfire's many buildings, and they are in the midst of a renovation of this building, fire station #1, and 107 E. Parrish St. (adjacent to this building on E. Parrish St.)


Looking northeast, 2007

Update 4/21/09:

Greenfire appears to have nearly completed renovations on the old Rogers' drugstore, and has "For Lease" signs up. They've done a marvelous job with the exterior, returning to the original form windows, which elicits a sigh of relief after looking at this structure with terrible solid 1980s tinted windows for decades.


Looking northeast, 04.14.09.

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CITIZENS BANK - 102 EAST MAIN

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1911-1915
/ Modified in
1970
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

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In tours

Last updated

Location

United States
35° 59' 41.4456" N, 78° 54' 2.3688" W
US

Comments

102
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1911-1915
/ Modified in
1970
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

Citizens Bank Building

--

The Sneed-Thomas building was constructed on the southeast corner of East Main St. and South Mangum St. in the 1890s. It housed the Sneed and Thomas drugstore, operated by Paul C. Sneed and Allen S. Thomas. Their building was described in the "Handbook of Durham" as "a large three-story pressed brick building with marble trimmings."


Looking north on South Mangum St. from near Peabody St., 1905 - the Sneed-Thomas building is on the right.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

This structure was torn down in 1911 for construction of a Neoclassical structure for the Citizens Bank, completed around 1915.

The Citizens Bank was the outgrowth of the Morehead Banking Company which had reorganized after the death of Eugene Morehead in 1889, and reorganized again in 1905 with B.N. Duke as founding President of the new Citizens Bank. The bank moved to 105 East Main St. in 1905 before moving to its new building in 1915.

Looking southeast, 1920s The historic inventory notes the resemblance to the old Fidelity Branch Bank in East Durham and surmises that the architect may have been the same.

Below, a clearer view of the structure, looking southeast from Main St., 1930s. Note the beautiful arching, multi-paned windows along the Mangum St. side and a smaller one over the cartouche.

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1961, the Citizens Bank merged with the Durham Bank and Trust and the University National Bank of Chapel Hill. The new firm was called Central Carolina Bank (CCB) and was headquartered at the former Durham Bank and Trust building, the Hill Building.

The former Citizens Bank building was converted to law offices in 1970, and referred to as the "K&M Building". This conversion, unfortunately, involved removal of all of the large windows and filling the openings with similar, but slightly different color stone.


Citizens Bank, 1970s. Notice the filled window above the cartouche.

It also divided the once full-height bank lobby into two stories of non-descript, windowless offices.

I guess that this building is empty as of 2007, from the sign on the front. Seems like it could be very cool - something - particularly if someone were to put the windows back.


Looking south, 2007 (Photo by Gary Kueber)


Looking southeast, 2007 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

Update 2012: the building was purchased at around the time of the entry above by a non-profit, which defaulted on its mortgage. The building was put back on the market as of July 2012, and was very quickly back under contract.

citizensbank_080112.jpg

Citizens Bank building, 08.01.12 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

The good news is that much of the original ceiling is intact above the bland dropped ceilings and wood paneling. Hopefully it will be re-exposed at some point.

CitizensBank_ceiling1_080112.jpg

Picture by Gary at the top of a rickety ladder with head and camera poked through a few layers of dropped ceiling, 08.01.12 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

citizensbank_ceiling2_080112.jpg

it appears this skylight was electrically illuminated later in life; I don't know whether it ever was a true skylight, 08.01.12 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

citizensbank_ceiling3_080112.jpg

08.01.12 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

As of late 2013, the new owner (who purchased the building in late 2012) started the process of putting the windows back into the building, a very welcome sight.

12.17.13 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

So very happy to see these replica-original windows back in - the building looks so much better! Nice job to Arthur Rogers, the developer.

06.10.14 (G. Kueber)

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/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/MainandCorcoran_prefire.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/blacknallinterior_1900.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/100WestMain_E_1900.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2006_9/MainandCorcoran_postfire.jpg

THE GEER BUILDING

124-130
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
/ Modified in
1971
/ Demolished in
2003
Architect/Designers: 
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

The northeast corner of Main and Corcoran Street has seen its share of building drama. For much of the 20th century, it was the location of one of the buildings on my Top Five list of How-Could-They-Have-Torn-That-Down buidings in Durham: the Geer building.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Fri, 01/17/2014 - 9:26pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 44.5992" N, 78° 54' 5.4828" W
US

Comments

124-130
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
/ Modified in
1971
/ Demolished in
2003
Architect/Designers: 
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The northeast corner of Main and Corcoran Street has seen its share of building drama. For much of the 20th century, it was the location of one of the buildings on my Top Five list of How-Could-They-Have-Torn-That-Down buidings in Durham: the Geer building.

 

Before that, two buildings sat on the site of the later Geer Building: Blacknall's Drugstore was on thie corner, and Stokes Hall (the Opera House) sat immediately to its east.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Blacknall's Drugstore was established in 1873 by Richard Blacknall and his father.


Interior of Blacknall's Drugstore, 1900.
(Courtesy The Herald Sun)

Stokes' Hall, also known as the Opera House, was a performance venue and site of city council meetings prior to the construction of the Municipal Building / Academy of Music. The hall hosted theatrical performances, the Durham Choral Society, and early movies.


Looking east from Corcoran and West Main, circa 1900.
(Courtesy State Archives of North Carolina)

A dramatic fire in 1914 that broke out in the Brodie Duke Building (taller structure mid-block) destroyed much of the block (all except the easternmost two storefronts):


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Destroyed structures, 1914.

A new building was constructed on the corner of Main and Corcoran Streets, modelled on a Florentine Palace. It was called the (Frederick) Geer Building, and designed by Alfred C. Bossom, British-born (and later member of Parliment) and nationally renowned for his bank designs.

 

 

Architectural Plans for the Geer Building.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Construction of the 5-story building, L-shaped, with the L at an obtuse angle to match the angle of Corcoran and West Main Sts., was completed in 1915.

The Geer Building, 1915
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Fidelity Bank was the major tenant of the building. Fidelity was organized in 1887, capitalized with ,000 by Washington Duke, Benjamin Duke, MA Angier, and George Watts. Fidelity was initially located in the Wright Building, diagonally across the intersection from this location. Presumably after the falling out between Wright and the Dukes/Watts, Fidelity moved to the Trust Building after it was completed in 1905. After the completion of the Geer Building, Fidelity became the anchor tenant, with the main branch and offices in the building.

Blacknall's Drugstore returned after the fire, located on the ground floor facing Corcoran, and remained a tenant until 1932, when it moved west on W. Main St. and became "Durham Drug Co." Woolworth's was located on the West Main St. ground floor of the building. The Geer Building helped form part of a corridor of signficant, sizable structures that straddled Corcoran Street. Multiple independent professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) had offices in the Geer Building.


Above, a view of the buildings lining Corcoran: the Geer Building, First National Bank building, the Durham Hosiery Mills buildings on the east side; the Croft Business School, and the roof of the old post office are visible on the west side. This was taken from the top of the Washington Duke Hotel; (all are gone except the First National Bank building) - late 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham Country Library)


A closer view.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


Corcoran Street, looking south from close to Parrish Street. The old post office is on the right, the Geer Building, First National Bank Building, and Durham Hosiery Mills on the left.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

It was a popular place for watching parades on Main Street. (Courtesy Duke Archives)

John Wily succeeded Benjamin Duke as president of the bank in 1922, and was succeeded by Jones Fuller in 1938. By 1939, Fidelity's offices has continued to expand, and they purchased the entire building, renaming it The Fidelity Bank Building. They later acquired the commercial structures immediately to the north of the building as well.

John Sprunt Hill was known to have been in keen competition with the Fidelity through the mid-20th century with his Durham Bank and Trust Company. In 1953, Fidelity was the largest bank in Durham, with ,000,000 in assets; Durham Bank and Trust was second, with ,932,000. Fidelity never expanded beyond Durham, with one branch in West Durham, one in East Durham, and one in north Durham.

In 1956, Fidelity Bank was acquired by Wachovia Bank of Winston-Salem, and absorbed under the Wachovia name.


Geer Building, known in the 1960s as the Wachovia Building - 02.20.61.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

Geer_1971.jpeg
Geer Building, 1971
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Geer Building, 1972.

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

Wachovia demolished the original home of Fidelity, the Wright Corner / Croft Business School building and built a new branch on that corner (the southwest corner of Main and Corcoran).

In 1972, the vast majority of the Geer Building (and the Nancy Grocery to its north) was demolished.

Mid-demolition - 1972 (Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)


Looking south, 1972.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Curiously, a not-so-large portion of the building remained - the part containing Woolworth's.

And you can see that they just chopped it off where they felt they needed to, leaving a chunk of the old arched doorway on the left side.

woolworths_1983.jpg

1983


Vacant lot next to Woolworth's, 1990s. (Courtesy Durham County Library)

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

(Photo by George Pyne, courtesy Milo Pyne)

Woolworth's eventually donated the remainder of the Geer building to the city in 1998, which let it languish. Fire ravaged the building next door (on the Parrish Street side) in 2001 and caused additional water damage to the building. The city eventually stated that there was a "toxic mold" problem in the building, and asbestos, and that it needed to be torn down. It would be good if they read the CDC page about so-called toxic mold. And asbestos, well, that's pretty much in every old building. But the city had plans.


The bulldozers are back, 2003. Think they cleaned up the 'toxic mold' before they aerosolized billions of evil spores through demolition?
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Getting ready to take down the last remnants of the Geer building, 2003.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

To quote the Office of Economic Development website:

"Woolworth Site Redevelopment"

" – 15 M – Woolworth Site Redevelopment — located on the site of one of the first civil rights sit-ins in the country, the historic building stood abandoned for a number of years, simultaneously growing a toxic mold problem coupled by the presence of asbestos. Noting the serious problems of the old building, the City of Durham financed the demolition and cleaning of the site. Next a call was issued for proposals on the redevelopment of the space, and a local development team was selected. OEWD is currently discussing a development agreement with this team for a signature 75,000 SF building at the historic Woolworth Site."

So, the last vestiges of the Geer Building were in the way of economic development, and the building was torn down. The coda to this saga is the city's attempt to expand this vacant area for their "signature building" by going after privately-owned 120 West Main Street with the demolition crew back in January. But that's a story for another post.


View of site of Geer Building, looking north on Corcoran, from similar vantage point to 1971 photo, 2006.


View of vacant Geer Building/Woolworth's site, 2006.

After this site was acquired by Greenfire Development, there has been much talk of their development of the "signature building" on this site. As of June, 2009, Greenfire released renderings showing what their proposed structure would look like - an improvement over previous iterations that would have demolished much of the remaining structures in the block.


Looking northeast from Corcoran and West Main.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)


Looking southeast from Corcoran between W. Parrish and E Chapel Hill.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)


Looking southeast at the 100 West Parrish St. storefronts from W. Parrish and Corcoran.
(Courtesy Bob Bistry / Built Form Architecture)

By 2012, the site had once again entered the rumor mill as the site of a new tower.

On 11.15.12, the Herald-Sun reported that the property and adjacent storefronts had sold:

  A Colorado-based developer with Duke University ties has bought vacant land and several vacant buildings downtown, and is planning a development that could transform the city’s skyline.

The properties sold for million Thursday to a limited liability company connected to Aspen, Colo.,-based Austin Lawrence Partners. Greg Hills, the real estate firm’s managing partner, said the plans are not final, but they envision a development with up to 26 stories including ground-floor shops and restaurants with office space and apartments above.

The project would also incorporate the renovated facades of several existing buildings on West Main and West Parrish streets, Hills said.

Hills is a Duke University alumnus and a father of Duke graduate and a university sophomore. He said his wife and a partner in the firm, Jane Hills, is a member of the Duke Athletic Leadership Board.

He said firm officials believe the redevelopment project will help transform the city’s downtown core.

The firm’s purchase included a vacant building at 117 W. Parrish St. that has interior damage as the result of a fire in 2001.

It also included vacant buildings with storefronts at 113 W. Parrish St., and at 118, 120, and 122 W. Main St.

In addition, the purchase included a neighboring a half-acre vacant lot that had housed a building with a F.W. Woolworth Co. store. The building was demolished by the city in 2003. A sit-in demonstration was held there during the Civil Rights era.

The firm’s vision for the properties that Hills described is similar to what was proposed by the properties’ former owner, Durham-based Greenfire Development.

Greenfire, which amassed a large chunk of downtown Durham real estate, particularly in the City Center, had hoped to break ground in the fall of 2008 on a mixed-use tower on the Woolworth site. That didn’t happen.

Last year, Greenfire hit several development obstacles. That list included the collapse of part of the roof at one of Greenfire’s properties, the historic Liberty Warehouse, following heavy rains.

The property at 117 W. Parrish St. came under scrutiny by city officials for its condition.

In addition, city officials urged forward momentum on a Greenfire proposal to redevelop another downtown building the firm owned, the SunTrust tower at 111 N. Corcoran St., into a boutique hotel.

Greenfire is planning to transfer ownership of the SunTrust building to a Kentucky-based hotel developer.

Paul Smith, managing partner of Greenfire Development, said in an emailed statement that Greenfire will continue as an investor in the Woolworth site project, and looks “forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”

Hills said he believes that Greenfire was a victim of circumstance.

“I do believe they had a great vision for downtown, but I believe the world changed in 2008 before they could execute on that vision,” he said. “So I think, quite honestly, to their credit, they’ve been able to hold on to their properties and put them in the hands of people (that) can execute their plans,” he added.

Austin Lawrence Partners has done real estate development projects around the country, Hills said.

“We’ve done it, we’ve always been able to do it, we’re confident that we can do it here, but it’s not always an easy thing to do,” he said.

The company has several different scenarios for the development, Hills said. They recently started conversations with city officials about their plans, he said, and have not submitted formal plans.

“They’re all very similar in terms of programming,” Hills said.

On the ground floor, they envision retail uses such as a coffee shop or small market, and restaurants. They also want a community room or other use to pay tribute to Parrish Street’s historic significance as Black Wall Street.

The schemes vary in the amount of office space in the building, Hills said. He said there is a need for residential development downtown that isn’t met now.

“So ideally, we’d like to have it be a building that brings enough density to downtown, so we are probably in that 25, 26-story range,” Hills said.

Hills said the firm hopes to have the project under construction by the first quarter of 2014. They’re still working on the financing, but Hills was confident they can put together a plan to pay for the project.

“We’re in discussions – the lenders don’t really want to discuss too much in detail other than just a sit-down as to what we’re thinking,” he said. “(You) need to dot your Is, and cross your Ts, before you really talk to a lender in earnest.”

To address city concern about 117 W. Parrish St., damaged by the 2001 fire, Hills said they have a contractor looking at the building to see what can be done to it safe.

City officials had the building inspected and an engineer’s report deemed it “unsafe for use of any kind.” Hills said the firm plans to present a plan to the city for what to do with the building on Dec. 3.

“What we want to do is show a good faith that a new owner’s taken over the property, and we will be dealing with that building sooner, but we also don’t want to demolish the building and create additional expenses for the project by something we might do,” Hills said.

Bonfield said there haven’t been any discussions about city incentives to help pay for the project. He said city officials also plan to discuss parking with the developer.

The city has a downtown parking study under way. Bonfield said preliminary work for that study is due to him by the end of November. In some conceptual plans for the new development, on-site parking is included, he said.

Bonfield said he has confidence in the new developer.

Bill Kalkhof, president of Downtown Durham Inc., also said the fact that the firm bought the properties with “quite a bit of work left to be done on the project” was a show of confidence.

“They have moved ahead with the purchase of the property, so they have great confidence, as do we, in them,” Kalkhof said.

The group released a rendering of their proposed structure in March of 2013

 

That's a pretty intensely boring building. Given what they paid for the land and what they must be trying to project for rents in their pro forma to make this work, I'm sure they are going as off-the-shelf as they can.

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HILL BUILDING / CCB BUILDING / SUNTRUST BUILDING

200-206
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1937
Builders: 
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Designed by Empire State Building architects Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon for banker John Sprunt Hill, the Hill Building is one of the most iconic in Durham

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 05/16/2016 - 8:32am by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 45.2328" N, 78° 54' 6.5088" W
US

Comments

200-206
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1937
Builders: 
People: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The Hill Building, also known as the CCB building and the Suntrust Building, is certainly the most prominent piece of historic architecture in Durham. Although old enough and iconic enough to be historic, several structures predate the building on this important site in downtown Durham.

The northwest corner of Main and Corcoran was used for warehouse space early on, according to Gray's 1881 map of Durham, including the Banner Warehouse, with its "Drive-In"

Looking northeast from W.Main towards Corcoran St., 1890s
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

By 1906, the city had grown substantially, and the U.S. government constructed a substantial post office on the eastern portion of the above site.

Post office under construction, 1906
(Courtesy Duke Archives - Wyatt Dixon Collection)


From Main St., Looking northeast
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


From the northeast corner of Main and Corcoran, looking west-northwest. The Trust Building (still standing) is directly to the west of the post office. The first Municipal Building and Academy of Music is to the north. This view dates from between 1906 and 1909.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

 Circa 1908 (image found on eBay)

 

Below, a 1910s view of the Post Office:

(Courtesy Duke Archives - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

This view is taken from the First National Bank building on the southeast corner of Main and Corcoran. Moving generally from right-to-left, you can see the Geer Building, the Washington Duke building, the old post office, The Trust Building, and the Temple building (to the west of the Trust building). Only the Trust building and the Temple building are still standing. This photo dates from the late 1920s or very early 1930s.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In the early 1930s (completed in 1934) the U.S. government built a new post office on the corner of Chapel Hill St. and Rigsbee Ave. The old post office was shut down and demolished.

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Construction of the Hill Building was begun on the site of the former post office in 1936. George W. Kane was the contractor, and Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon (who previously designed the Empire State Building and Winston-Salem's RJ Reynolds Building) were the architects.


Sept. 1936
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Nov. 1936
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


(Courtesy Herald-Sun)
December 1936


The Hill Building from a distance, from Blackwell St., under construction ~ Dec. 1936.

(Courtesy Robby Delius from Mac Connery)


February 1937
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

1937 - no month given.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Construction was completed in 1937. The Durham Loan and Trust Company became the primary tenant. The bank later changed its name to the Durham Bank and Trust Company and later still, Central Carolina Bank. The primary first floor retail tenant was the Ellis-Stone Department store; Ellis-Stone was considered a 'high-end' department store in downtown Durham - which had been around since 1887 (originally at 124 West Main St.)

HillBuilding_1956.jpg

1956

Ellis-Stone, 03.20.61

In 1962, Thalheimer's-Ellis-Stone moved across the street to a newly constructed building on the southwest corner of Corcoran and West Main Sts.

CCB Building, looking south on Corcoran Street, March 1965. (Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

CCB remained the primary tenant until 2005, when the switchover from the merger of Suntrust and CCB was complete, and the logo on top of the building was changed.

Hill Building, 2006. The Trust Building is on the left edge of the picture. (Photo by Gary Kueber)

In 2007, Greenfire purchased this building and announced plans to convert the structure to a boutique hotel.

Hill Building, 07.24.08 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

Plans languished, but seemed to perk up again in 2010 when Greenfire received approval to use NC Industrial bonds to develop the hotel, and had a city incentives package improved (based on the synthetic TIF model) to develop the project in September 2010. This ultimately did not come to fruition, but in 2012, Greenfire sold the property to 21c Hotels, which planned to develop the property as the long-intended boutique hotel.

04.27.13 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

In November of 2013, 21c began removing the signage from the top of the building.

"rust" 11.27.13

01.03.14 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

 

Hill Building, May 2016

05.2016 Hill Building with adjoining building removed and foundation work on new skyscraper begun.

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"PANDORA'S BOX" / HOTEL CLAIBORN

,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 11/03/2013 - 9:14pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 42.1764" N, 78° 54' 7.2288" W

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 

 

The corner of Ramseur St. and Corcoran St. is a historically significant corner - can't you tell? (Workers are installing new sidewalk around city-owned parking lot) On the property between Main St. and the railroad tracks, east of Corcoran St., stood Dr. Bartlett Durham's house, "Pandora's Box", a two-story frame structure in which Dr. Durham lived until his death in 1858. Original 1854 NC railroad survey, showing the future location of Durham's Station (Courtesy David Southern/Steve Rankin) As most folks are aware, Durham's raison d'etre came with the North Carolina railroad in 1854, and the desire to establish a train depot between Hillsborough and Raleigh. I've written previously about Mr. Pratt's high price / fear for his horses (arguably making him the first in a very long line of recalcitrant Durham-area landowners with an overly optimistic view of the value of their land/suspect improvements theron) that led the NCRR to seek out Dr. Bartlett Durham for land upon which to locate their depot. Dr. Durham sold 4 acres of land to the railroad for the establishment of a depot between Raleigh and Hillsborough - Durham Station. Some have concluded from the railroad survey above that Pandora's Box was located on the southern side of the tracks - I think not. I believe the house and tavern are the two buildings shown to the north of the tracks on the survey above. Louis Blount's 1923 map of Durham in 1865 confirms as much. Blount's map of Durham in 1865 - #17 is "RF Morris Home and Hotel" #21 is "Annex to hotel. Known as 'Pandora's Box' 4 rooms and attic (Logs), #10 is the depot. (Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Scanned by Digital Durham) Durham reportedly used his house was used as a hotel/guest house, and it continued to be used as such after his death. RF Morris evidently established a hotel of some additional significance to its west, on Depot Street - later Corcoran. This was supplanted by the Hotel Claiborn, which possibly incorporated Pandora's Box. On the 1881 map of Durham, this is simply noted as "Grand Central Hotel". A view of the Hotel Claiborn from Depot (later Corcoran) and Peabody (later Ramseur) Streets From the corner of Mangum and Peabody, looking west, during the 1880s- the far structure is the Hotel Claiborn. (From "Durham: A Pictorial History" by J. Kostyu) Picture of the Durham Band at the rear of the Hotel Claiborn, 1887 (mis-labeled Carrolina.) (Courtesy The Herald-Sun) In 1891, Julian Carr replaced the Hotel Claiborn with the "Hotel Carrolina" (yes, Carr-o-lina) on this site, which may have also incorporated the two earlier structures. The Hotel Carrolina was a large, ornate Queen Anne Victorian building which the Historic Inventory calls "Durham's first luxury hotel" View From Corcoran and Peabody (now Ramseur), looking northeast (from Durham Historic Inventory) From the railroad tracks looking north across Peabody (now Ramseur), showing reunion of veterans of the Spanish-American War (Courtesy Durham County Library) Fire destroyed the Hotel Carrolina in 1907, and the corner was vacant until 1919, when the Durham Silk Hosiery Mill was constructed to produce silk stockings. By the 1950s, the company had taken the unfortunate step of removing the windows and bricking in the openings - not uncommonly done as a part of 'modernizing' (which seemed to involve an anti-window aesthetic for some reason). I would speculate that increasing automation led to fewer people on the mill floor as well, and when coupled with air conditioning/ac costs, bye-bye windows. Silk Hosiery Mill, 1950s (Courtesy the Herald-Sun) Knitting machinery, interior, 1950s. (Courtesy the Herald-Sun) I love the below picture: Executives at the DSHM, 1950s (Courtesy the Herald-Sun) Looking west, 1959 (Courtesy Bob Blake.) The Durham Silk Hosiery mill operated until 1969, when the plant shut down. The building stood on this corner until 1970, when it was demolished. Evidently, the building was so well-built, implosion of the building was unsuccessful and followed up by wrecking-ball demolition. (Courtesy Durham County Library) (Courtesy Durham County Library) As seen above, the birthplace of Durham is, perhaps fittingly, a city-owned parking lot. If we can spend ,000,000 on a 'performing arts center', maybe we can spare a hundred dollars for a plaque? How about a building to attach it to? Find this spot on a Google Map. 35.995031,-78.901805  

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americantobacco_1870s_2.jpegamericantobacco_1870s.jpegbullbuilding_picture_1880s.jpgOldBullBuilding_1895.jpegBlackwellsFactory_painting_1880s.jpeg

OLD BULL BUILDING - BLACKWELL'S BULL DURHAM / AMERICAN TOBACCO COMPANY

201-207
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1874
/ Modified in
1879
,
1903
,
2007
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 10/06/2016 - 2:35pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 41.0316" N, 78° 54' 11.952" W
US

Comments

201-207
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1874
/ Modified in
1879
,
1903
,
2007
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The oldest building remaining in downtown Durham as of 2011, the Old Bull building remains an impressive structure after 130+ years. Its hard to overstate how impressive it must have been in the context of a still-small town full of small frame buildings. 

Demand was booming when John Green died and William Blackwell purchased his interest in the Bull Durham company in 1869, renaming it the WT Blackwell Company. Blackwell needed add additional capital to meet that demand, and later that same year, he sold a 1/3 interest in the company to a 25 year old man from Chapel Hill - a UNC graduate and former Private in the Confederate army - named Julian (Shakespeare) Carr. This new capital allowed the partners to begin construction of a factory which would match their growth and ambition; this factory building (which would later be known as "Old Bull") was completed in 1874, the same year that Washington Duke moved to Durham, and 4 years before the W. Duke & Sons Tobacco Co. was established.

americantobacco_1870s_2.jpeg
Looking southwest at the corner of present-day West Pettigrew and Blackwell Sts., sometime between 1874 and 1879.
(From "Bull City Business Bonanza" by Ben and Snow Roberts)

americantobacco_1870s.jpeg
Looking southwest at the corner of present-day West Pettigrew and Blackwell Sts., sometime between 1874 and 1879.
(From "Bull City Business Bonanza" by Ben and Snow Roberts)

This L-shaped masonry Italianate structure was a revelation in 1870s Durham - which, the second drawing reveals, was a place of predeominantly small frame structures and muddy streets; it's hard to overstate what a bold structure this was in context; the first brick tobacco factory in the US, located in a tiny train depot town. The factory had a loud factory whistle which was purported to sound like a bull. In 1876, the Greensboro Patriot reported:

Blackwell, the Durham tobacco manufacturer, has had constructed for his factory an instrument after the style of the Calliope which imitates the bellowing of the bull with all its variations to a dot. It can be heard for miles, and as it sometimes exercises quite early in the morning, the effect on strangers who are not aware of the existence of an artificial bellower is remarkable. They think Durham has the longest winded and strongest lunged bovines in America and Blackwell enjoys it.

The architect is unknown

By 1879, business was so good that the factory building was expanded to the west with another L-shaped wing, such that the entire building was shaped like a squared "U."

bullbuilding_picture_1880s.jpg

Definitely the earliest photo I've seen of the Bull building - with the portraits atop the building still in place. Likely 1880s -  by the 1890s, they were gone.

OldBullBuilding_1895.jpeg
Old Bull, 1895.
(Courtesy Duke Manuscript Collection / Digital Durham )

BlackwellsFactory_painting_1880s.jpeg
A wider view - a lot of details differ here - although the position of the auction warehouse appears more accurate.
(Courtesy Duke Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

OldBull_sb_1884.jpg

Factory, 1884

oldbull_sb_1888.jpg

Factory, 1888

OldBull_sb_1898.jpg

Factory, 1898

Some wood frame storage warehouses and the Reams Auction warehouse aside, Old Bull was the extent of the Blackwell Company prior to its absorption by Union Tobacco, then American Tobacco.

 

Blackwell1898c.JPG

Blackwell1898b.JPG

Blackwell1898d.JPG

Blackwell1898e.JPG

Tobacco industry booklet showing the exterior and interior of Old Bull. 

oldbullbuilding_1905.jpeg
Old Bull, looking southwest, 1905.
(Courtesy Duke Manuscript Collection / Digital Durham

The Golden Belt Manufacturing Company, formed in 1887, was originally located in the original "L" wing of the Old Bull Building before outgrowing the space and moving to the old Whitted factory in 1899 (now Venable) and to its own factory in Edgemont in 1901.

With the absorption into the American Tobacco Trust, the manufacturing facility expanded dramatically. The original building became known as "Old Bull" in reference to its centrality in the old Blackwell Bull Durham company.  In 1903, the "U" shaped factory became a squared "O," with the construction of a wing enclosing the south side of the building. 

AmericanTobacco_SW_1920s.jpeg
Looking southwest, 1920s, at Old Bull
(Courtesy Duke Manuscript Collection / Digital Durham

OldBull_SW_1920s.jpeg
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Sometime between 1926 and 1937, and likely in 1930, the top two floors of the original 1874 wing were removed. There seems to have been a general push to remove floors of various industrial buildings in the 1930s and 1940s; the impetus isn't clear, although various people have stated confidently to me that it was due to fire codes and insurance costs, or a host of other reasons. Those don't really explain why only a portion of this building was shortened; I've heard stated that there was a fire in this building which gutted the top two floors, but I've seen no substantive evidence of that. It seems unlikely that the company would have substantially remodeled the exterior of the remaining two floors if that had been the case, but they did.

americantobacco_frmtrks_SW_1940s.jpeg
Looking southwest from the railroad tracks, 1940s.
(Courtesy the Herald-Sun)

OldBull_sb_1937.jpg

1937 Sanborn map.

The uses depicted in the Sanborn map don't change between 1937 and 1950. 

americantobacco_SW_1950s.jpeg
Looking southwest, late 1950s.
(Courtesy the Herald-Sun)

AmericanTobacco_S_1965.jpeg
The complex, 1965, looking south.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The rather unfortunate decision was made in 1965 to cover the facade of Old Bull with pink metal. It's hard to even begin to channel the aesthetic at work here.

AmericanTobacco_1965.jpeg
Preparing the facade for metal covering, looking southwest.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

americantobacco_metal_sw_1965.jpeg
Fully metallic, 1965.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

I believe the Old Bull Building was Durham's first structure to be placed on the National Register for Historic Places - in 1974.

Operations at the complex continued to wane over the course of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1987, the American Tobacco Company shut down operations in Durham and moved all remaining production to their plant in Reidsville. The Old Bull Building was abandoned.

In 2004, Capitol Broadcasting Company purchased the complex and began renovations of the southern portion. Old Bull and other northern buildings were to be part of a second phase. In 2005, Capitol partnered with Streuver Brothers, Eccles, and Rousse - of Baltimore, to build Phase II.

Work continued through 2005-2008.

AT_SW_1006.jpeg

Old Bull, October 2006.

AT_OldBull_093007.jpeg
Old Bull, September 2007.

OldBull_cornice_1207.jpeg
Rebuilding the cornice on the east and north facades of Old Bull, December 2007.

AT_SW_032308.jpeg
Old Bull and the remainder of the campus, 03.23.08

Renovation of the Old Bull was beset with myriad problems, costing more than originally estimated, and complicated by a national collapse/retraction of SBER in 2008. Multiple liens were filed against the property/SBER by various contractors for non-payment. By mid-2008, 30 liens had been filed, totaling .3 million. By June of 2009, an auction was planned as a result of lawsuit filed by Code Electric Inc. as a result of 8,000 in unpaid work. Code Electric canceled the auction the week before it was to occur. By December of 2009, auction was threatened again.

The lender foreclosed on the SBER-controlled buildings in 2010. The lender, Capmark Financial Group, which underwent Chapter 11 in 2009, took control of the property in July of 2011, and announced that they were beginning plans to renovate uncompleted portions of the building, including 13,970 sf of commercial space, as well as residential space on the 4th and 5th floors of the building.  

Although I'm sure Capitol would like to regain control of the Old Bull, the lender stated in July of 2011 that "the current ownership is not interested in selling. We are not entertaining any offers."

The completed portion of the building seems to be successful, and the troubles do not seem to affect the overall success of the campus.

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/sites/default/files/images/2008_8/matthewsstreet_081008.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_8/1891_BirdsEye_RedCross.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_8/Matthews_burnedWH_1930.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_8/Matthews_aerial_1950s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_8/305Matthews.jpg

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK

409
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1995
Businesses: 
Construction type: 
,
,