Garden Street Grocery, 1950s.
(Courtesy Bob Blake)
(Courtesy Old West Durham Neighborhood Association)
The Garden Street Grocery was built on Suitt Alley, later named Garden Street by Connie Estes around 1924. John Tilley, a former Durham County Justice of the Peace, leased the grocery from Estes in 1926 and ran it until 1938, evidently living on the premises. Ted Smith reopened the grocery as the "Garden Street Grocery" and operated the store until 1950. Waldo Mills then took over the business, and operated the grocery until 1957, when it closed for good.
The grocery was spared, along with two other adjacent structures, during Duke's demolition of the mill village in 1968-69. All of the structures were painted to match the brown appearance of the surrounding apartment complex.
Abandoned Garden Street Grocery, 1980.
I'm not clear as to whether Duke has used the grocery for any purpose - certainly it hasn't been used for anything more active than storage. It was threatened with demolition in Duke's initial Grand Plan for Central Campus, but they later agreed to allow interested parties to move the building(s).
The plan was later shifted considerably to focus on Campus Drive, rather than the Erwin-Alexander-Anderson area. Since then, the economy has put the Central Campus plan on long-term hold.
Clearly, Duke has not embraced the revitalization of this and the adjacent mill structures, which I think is a missed opportunity to provide some actual soul to Central Campus. Here's hoping that the GSG will see life again one day.
Former Garden St. Grocery, 04.04.09
Unfortunately, Duke decided to demolish this structure rather than reuse it or provide it to the community to move, despite their previous assurances.
Garden Street Store as rubble, 09.06.09
Update: As of summer 2010, Duke had bizarrely replaced all of these mill house structures, including the garden street store, with Disney-esque replica versions. Creepy.
"General Store" - 06.02.10
Find this spot on a Google Map.