Factories and Businesses of East Durham

Factories and Businesses of East Durham


In 1884 Julian Carr built Durham Cotton Manufacturing in East Durham along the railroad tracks. The success of that company acted as a magnet in the neighborhood, and within the next 20 years factories saturated the neighborhood, surrounded by the mill worker's homes. As the neighborhood became more populated (it is in fact the most densely populated neighborhood in Durham), more commercial businesses opened up to serve the residents, from banks and grocery stores to pharmacies and restaurants. Even after many of the mills had closed, some businesses held strong through the 1960s and 1970s. After some struggles, new businesses are returning to the neighborhood. While many buildings featured here no longer exist, others remain standing and hold great potential for commercial opportunities in the future.

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DURHAM COTTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY

2000
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1884
/ Modified in
1895
,
1920s
,
1955
,
1979
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 09/24/2012 - 5:45pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 45.894" N, 78° 52' 48.9504" W

Comments

2000
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1884
/ Modified in
1895
,
1920s
,
1955
,
1979
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Looking southeast from East Pettigrew St., 1895.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / scanned by Digital Durham)

The oldest still-extant (at least partially) hosiery mill complex in Durham is the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company complex at East Pettigrew and South Driver Sts.

The Durham Cotton and Manufacturing Company was started through the impetus of Julian Carr, who sought out capital from the Odell family, textile magnates of Greensboro and Concord. WH Branson of Greensboro was recruited to be the secretary-manager of the company. With 0,000 of capital, the factory was established.

The cornerstone of the original plant was laid in July 1884. Robert Durden notes that despite the intense heat that day, a large crowd gathered for the groundbreaking.

"The choir of the Methodist church 'rendered in fine style an appropriate hymn, followed by an impressive prayer by Rev. TA Boone.' A minister from Concord then delivered an address filled with 'valuable information. It was a joyous day for all true Durhamites.'"

The original plant consisted of a 4 story manufacturing building, fronted by a 7 story belfried tower, twelve weaving sheds, a picker building, as well as engine and boiler rooms with a rather immense smokestack. Carr constructed Carr's Chapel (a Methodist church) on the north side of the railroad tracks, facing the mill, and an abundance of mill housing immediately to the south of the structure.


From the Bird's Eye view of Durham, 1891 - looking north.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / scanned by Digital Durham)

The factory began producing a muslin for tobacco bag manufacture. The venture was successful, the production was quickly diversified to include chambrays, domets, ginghams, and 'colored cloths'. Within 5 years had increased its capital to 0,000. The factory was soon expanded. By 1888, the mill had more than 8500 spindles and 200 looms operated by 225 workers. Around 1895, a weaving and carding building was added to the west of the main building, which was soon doubled in size to the west. A large warehouse building with a monitor roof was also added to the south of the original structures.


Looking southeast from East Pettigrew St. at the expanded plant, ~1910s.

In 1899, secretary-treasurer Branson, who served in that capacity for both the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co and the Pearl Cotton Mill, was killed when, while working with a mechanic on a faulty boiler, it exploded, killing them both instantly. Branson was replaced by Jessie Harper Erwin, brother of William Erwin, who was secretary-treasurer of the Erwin Cotton Mills.
It is unclear to me when control of the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co. passed from the Odell and Carr conglomerate to the Dukes, but it appears to have occurred by the time Erwin took over.

By 1910, the mill employed 500 people, operating 820 looms, and 22,554 spindles producing ginghams and cheviots.


Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co., 1926

An industry-wide downturn in demand for textiles, particularly cotton hosiery, badly damaged the textile industry in Durham - the Durham Hosiery Mill No. 1, the Commonwealth Cotton Mfg, the John O'Daniel Hosiery Mill, and this mill went out of business during the late 1920s-1940. Given that Erwins were in control of both mills, I am unsure as to why they let the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co. flounder, while Erwin Mills did not. Perhaps DCMC would have benefitted from having "Erwin" attached to is name.

By 1937, the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company was out of business - the site was sold to the Durham Box Corporation.


Aerial of the complex, looking west - undated, but likely 1940s. The legend is, unfortunately, not available. However, per the Sanborn Map from 1937: 1) Water Tower, 2) Reservoir, 3) Reservoir, 4) Dye House, 5) Cotton Warehouses, 6) Weave House ("Carpr Shop in basement), 7) Boiler Room, 8) Speeder Room, 9) Main Mill, 10) Finishing and Shipping, 11) RR siding, 12) RR siding, 13) NC RR.
You can see the the belfry on top of the tower has been removed.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Chamber of Commerce collection)


Looking northwest from the rear of the complex, likely 1940s.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Chamber of Commerce collection)

By the late 1940s, the Mead Container Corporation bought the buildings.


Former Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company, used by Mead Container Corporation, looking southeast, 1950s.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

Very unfortunately, in 1955 they demolished the main, original building and tower, as well as the smokestack. (And built nothing in its place.)


Smokestack and main building, looking west-northwest, 03.14.55.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

durhamcottonmfg_1979.jpg

1979

durhamcottonmfg_close_1979.jpg

1979

In 1979, the buildings were sold to Southchem (a chemical company,) which renovated the weaving and carding buildings, warehouse, and part of the original boiler room building. In 2001, the facility became part of the Brenntag chemical company through a merger; the company continues to utilize the complex today.


Looking southeast at the former carding and weaving buildings, 01.01.09.


This hole in the middle of the complex is the former site of the main building and tower - 01.01.09.


Satellite image, 2007. I've numbered the still extant buildings to correspond to the buildings in the 1940s image above.

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.979415,-78.880264

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DurhamLumberCo_1910.jpeg/sites/default/files/images/2011_5/DeltaGypsum_050811.jpg

DURHAM LUMBER COMPANY / DELTA GYPSUM

410
,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:19pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 52.4388" N, 78° 52' 52.6404" W

Comments

410
,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

DurhamLumberCo_1910.jpeg
Durham Lumber Company, 1910

The land south of the Cheek Farm, adjacent to the North Carolina Railroad Tracks was owned and operated by the Durham Lumber Company - when this was initially established, I'm not sure. By 1904, the land belonged to WT Carrington, who ran an eponymous lumber company on the same site - by 1909 this reverted to the Durham Lumber Company.

From Durham Illustrated, 1910 with boostery language unexpurgated:

"Among the lumber manufacturers of North Carolina, one which holds a prominent position among the leaders is the Durham Lumber Company, Incorporated. This company, which was incorporated in June 1909, is the direct successor to the business of the WT Carrington Lumber Co., which had been in existence for about five years, they having succeeded the old Durham Lumber Company. The present company has an authorized capital stock of 5,000 and does an enormous business in the manufacture of lumber, sash, doors, blinds, and general builder's supplies. They have large mills and yards in East Durham, their main building being of two stories, 50 x 150 feet in dimensions and with saw-mill in connection. They employ a staff of about eighty-five expert men and assistants, and not only supply builders and contractors throughout this district, but also ship a great deal of their manufactured goods to the Northern States. They make a speciality of band-sawed North Carolina pine and hardwood lumber, and have their plant completely equipped with modern mill machinery. The officers of the company are all gentlemen well known in local circles as men of the utmost integrity and splendid business ability. The President is Chas. A. Gribble, who was connected with the building business in Ohio for Some years before coming to Durham. The vice-presdient is James B. Mason, cashier of the Citizens National Bank, and vice-president of the Commonwealth Cotton Manufacturing Co. The Secretary-Treasurer is Dillard C. Mitchell, a most capable man for his important position. He has had long experience in the lumber industry, and is an acknowledged authority on all matters pertaining thereto."

The site has remained industrial throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Delta Gypsum currently calls it home; the site is owned by Jeth Corporation of Oxford, NC.


05.08.11

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.981233,-78.881289

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BRIGHT TOBACCO CO / WL ROBINSON TOBACCO CO

1604
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925-1935
/ Demolished in
1999
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 08/17/2011 - 7:12pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 53.5584" N, 78° 53' 6.6804" W

Comments

1604
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925-1935
/ Demolished in
1999
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

 


1937 Sanborn Map
(Copyright Sanborn Map Company)

The Bright Tobacco Company - a redrying/wholesale company (much like the Venable Tobacco Company) appears to have been established in the 1600 block of East Pettgrew Street by the late 1920s/early 1930s.

In 1935, the company became the WL Robinson Tobacco Company, which also dried, pressed, stored, and sold tobacco to manufacturers. By 1951 they were "one of the top ten employers of labor in Durham and also one of the larger tobacco buyers in this section." Much like the Venable Tobacco Company, WL Robinson would redry, process/press, and store tobacco in hogsheads for sale to end manufacturers. In 1951, their warehouses had a "capacity of about 10,000 hogsheads" and their payroll "between 5 and 6 million dollars a year."

Robinson evidently started work with the American Tobacco Company before striking out on his own. He lived on Chelsea Circle in Hope Valley during the 1950s.


WL Robinson Company, 1951
(From "Durham and Her People")


1950 Sanborn map
(Copyright Sanborn Map Company)


1959 Aerial photo of the complex.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

By 1972, the tobacco company was out of business. It appears that a glass manufacturer took over the plant.

The buildings were still present in 1994, but had all been torn down (with the exception of one later building) by 1999. This building has recently been converted to the "Durham Green Flea Market" - I haven't been by, but it's evidently in operation on Saturdays and Sundays.


Site of the Bright/Robinson Tobacco Company / Green Flea market, 01.01.09

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.981544,-78.885189

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Henderson CTimes.pngScreen Shot 2012-11-20 at 2.37.09 PM.pngHenderson Arial.pnghumphrey_0.jpg

1401 HUMPHREY STREET/GLENN ALLEY

1401
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1900-1917
/ Demolished in
1994
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Fred and Mary Henderson owned a grocery store at this address for over 4 decades. 

 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:51am by Karen

Location

United States
35° 58' 55.0128" N, 78° 53' 14.4348" W
US

Comments

1401
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1900-1917
/ Demolished in
1994
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

 

Henderson CTimes.png

W. Fred Henderson ran at grocery store out of this address for many decades, becoming one of the area's leading businessmen, according to this Carolina Times caption, by offering delivery service for his grocery store.  In earlier records the business is listed as a confecction shop, so I imagine they gradually added other items to sell. 

Walker Frederick Henderson ran this store with his wife Mary and his sister Roxie. They lived behind the store at 309 Henderson Alley (aka Amber Place), seen in this Sanborn map:

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 2.37.09 PM.png

 

According to Mary's obituary, she and her husband were members of White Rock Baptist Church. They owned the grocery store for more than 4 decades, but moved to a different nearby address in the late 1940s. 

With both the grocery store and the home since demolished, there is now a large vacant lot left, which has become an area of contention among residents, an extension if you will of the problems that had already arisen from the pedestrian bridge. Read more about the EPAs project to beautify this lot in the article  here

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COMMONWEALTH / MORVEN COTTON MILL

221
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1884-1888
/ Demolished in
1930s-2010
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Fri, 02/03/2012 - 9:07am by gary

Location

35° 59' 2.8032" N, 78° 53' 17.268" W

Comments

221
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1884-1888
/ Demolished in
1930s-2010
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

commonwealth_1895.jpg
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The buildings that would become the Commonwealth Cotton Mill were built in 1884 as the Durham Bobbin and Shuttle Mill - a supplier of wooden parts for other cotton and wool mills - by John C. Angier, Alvis H. Stokes, Samuel T. Morgan, Eugene Morehead, James Blacknall, and Julian Carr. Richard Wright and Dr. J.L. Warkins purchased the factory in 1888 installed a mansard roof.

Per Jean Anderson:

The business did not thrive, and Wright sold it in 1891 to a Rhode Island firm that came in, "dismantled it" and carried off the machinery. 

The buidlings were repurposed as a textile mill. According to the Architectural Inventory, the plant appears to have begun producing textiles prior to 1891, with majority ownership by Carr and Wright. (I'm not sure how the transition from the Rhode Island Co. "dismantling" to this ownership occurred. However, the mill was not very successful at the outset, and Brodie Duke bought out Carr and Wright for less than the face value of their shares in 1892.

By 1895, the mill employed 140 people. Brodie Duke had declared bankruptcy in the Panic of 1893, and Ben Duke took over controlling interest in the company. He spent ,000 enlarging the complex and added a 4 story tower to the building; quite similar to that at the Pearl Cotton Mill. The business was, per Ben Duke, quite successful. An expanded office building on the west side of the complex was built around 1900.


Commonwealth Cotton Company, looking northeast from the railroad tracks, 1906.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

While the company was evidently still quite successful in 1910, it ceased operations in 1913 - for reasons unknown.

In 1922, the complex was taken over by the Morven Cotton Mills Company.


Morven Cotton Mill, 1926

The Morven Cotton Mill proved as star-crossed as the previous ventures, closing by the 1930s. The 1937 Sanborn Maps indicate an abandoned structure and a site used as a junkyard.


Map of area, 1937.

John Schelp related the story to me told by John Loudermilk - that he used to have to make deliveries to Holman Place, later Morven's Alley, directly to the north of the complex. Evidently the street and houses were company owned (a common practice for the textile mills) and the place was a den of iniquity - one the police did not come to. This, evidently, was the inspiration for the song "Tobacco Road."

The fascinating thing about this complex of structures is that, well, nothing happened to it. It just continued to slowly decay over decades of non-use. By the 1970s, the tower had collapsed, and the main building was in ruins. The office building was still realtively intact.


Commonwealth / Morvern Mills, 1970s.

Today, there is little trace of the original mill complex.


Looking north from the railroad tracks, near Pettigrew and Alston, 2007.

Unless you look closely.


Remnants of the main building, 2007.

I have to say that I have always loved ruins - probably explains a lot. But the fact that these are hidden in the trees is sort of magical to me.

The area immediately to the north of this is still a junkyard of sorts - hard to tell whether it's a junkyard, or just a big pile of stuff people have thrown here.

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durhambuggyco_1910.jpg1400Angier_sb_1937.jpgdurhambuggyco_1930s.jpgDurhamBuggyCo_051511.jpg

DURHAM BUGGY COMPANY / NEWPORT LUMBER COMPANY

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1906
Businesses: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

Manufacturer of the "Bull" and "Durham" buggies, repurposed as a lumber company when buggies were replaced by automobiles. Long destroyed.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 07/12/2011 - 10:28pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 1.7484" N, 78° 53' 13.9884" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1906
Businesses: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

 

durhambuggyco_1910.jpgDurham Buggy Company, 1910

 

 

From <i>Durham Illustrated</i>, 1910

 

<i>Durham is looked to by people of the Southern States for many of their manufactured articles, and the output of the Durham factories stands high in comparison with that of other points. One well known concern of this city which does much to build up this reputation is the Durham Buggy Co., Inc., makers of the famed "Bull" and "Durham" buggies. This company was organized and incorporated in 1906, with a capital stock of 5,000.00. They built a complete factory in the east end of the city and began the making of buggies and carriages. The main building of the plant is three stories in height and 60 by 160 feet in dimensions. In connection with this building is a one-story blacksmith shop and a two-story stock-room. The entire plant is equipped vvith most modern wood and iron working machinery, and employment is given to a staff of fifty expert mechanics and assistants. The output of this plant is about five thousand buggies a year, and these are sold throughout the entire country, principally in the Southern States, where the "Bull" and "Durham" buggies are well known as goods properly made, of first- class materials. Those are the two points absolutely insisted upon in this factory- quality of material and the best of workmanship. This accounts for the lasting durability and the general satisfaction given to all customers, and for the steady increase in the demand made by the public for the "Bull" and "Durham" buggies. The officers of the company are: President, Sidney W. Minor; Vice-President, Frank L. Fuller; Secretary-Treasurer, William T. Minor; General Manager, H. H. Goodall. these gentlemen are all weIl known in local circles as business men of large interests and with the prosperity of Durham at heart. They are strong believers in her future growth as a manufacturing center and are doing their share towards her advancement by building up such an important industry as the Durham Buggy Company. </i>

 

By 1937, the Newport Lumber Company had displaced the Durham Buggy Company, evidently utilizing the same buildings.

 

1400Angier_sb_1937.jpg1937 Sanborn

 

durhambuggyco_1930s.jpg

 

Durham Buggy Company Buildings - Newport Lumber Co, 1940s

 

DurhamBuggyCo_051511.jpgSIte of Durham Buggy Company, 05.15.11

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ruthhosierymill_birdseye_1937.jpgRuthHosiery_sb_1937.jpgruthhosieryaerial_1950s.jpgruthhosiery_sb_1950.jpgsoutherncoachmill_050811.jpg

RUTH HOSIERY MILL / UNIVERSITY HOSIERY MILL

,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 06/21/2011 - 7:30pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 0.4632" N, 78° 53' 20.1984" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

 

ruthhosierymill_birdseye_1937.jpgRuth Hosiery Mill, looking west, late 1930s.

 

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

 

The Ruth Hosiery Mill started at some point between 1923 and 1937; it appears that there was a frame structure to the south, and a later steel frame/brick curtain wall structure built to the north on East Pettigrew. By 1937, the northern structure was being used as a bottling plant.

 

RuthHosiery_sb_1937.jpg1937. Just to the west is the <a href="">North State Knitting Mill / Georgetown Silk Mill / Gann Hosiery Mill</a>

 

 

By the 1940s, the property was being used by University Hosiery Mill, but they were out of business by 1950. 

 

ruthhosieryaerial_1950s.jpg

Aerial ~1950 - a partial view of the buildings at the lower left. 

 

(Courtesy <a href="http://www.herald-sun.com">The Herald-Sun Newspaper</a>)

 

ruthhosiery_sb_1950.jpg

Sanborn, 1950.

 

 

At some point, the southern structure was demolished. By the 1970s, the northern building was being used by Southern Coach, a bus company.

 

The building and property were acquired by the Triangle Transit Authority in the early 2000s for a train station serving Alston Avenue. They own the property to the west (the former Gann Hosiery Mill site) as well, so they would need to build something that deals with the grade separation between the two properties, and between East Pettigrew and South Alston. Although I was surprised to find walkways behind this property that led both down to South Alston and between the back of this property and the freeway back to the R. Kelly Bryant bridge.

 

The need for something large enough to make that transition feasible and given Triangle Transit's <a href="http://endangereddurham.blogspot.com/2008/03/graybar-electric.html">poor performance on the historic preservation / adapative reuse front</a> likely means that this building will come down at some point in the future when it becomes inconvenient. From the satellite view, it appears that the roof already has issues that will allow for a "we have to tear it down before it hurts someone" rationale. 

 

Hopefully when it happens, it will be because we have a train and a station, rather than just creating another vacant lot in the city.

 

southerncoachmill_050811.jpg05.08.11

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/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/northstate_1924.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/gannhosierymills_NW_late1940s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/gannmachineshop_1953.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/GannHosiery_NE_1960s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/GannHosiery_E_1960s.jpg

NORTH STATE KNITTING MILLS / GANN HOSIERY MILLS

1300
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
/ Demolished in
1970s
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 06/26/2013 - 1:58pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 0.6468" N, 78° 53' 22.11" W

Comments

1300
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1915
/ Demolished in
1970s
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Looking southeast from the north side of East Pettigrew St. at South Alston Ave, (prior to the construction of the East Pettigrew overpass,) 1924.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The North State Knitting Mill was established between 1911 and 1915. In 1915, WF Carr is noted to be president, WJ Berry vice-president, and CM Carr secretary of the company.

In 1918, Julian Carr is noted as president. It's unclear whether the mill was always a branch of the Durham Hosiery Mills, or became one early on. By 1918, the mill's capacity had increased from 85 to 450 machines, capable of producing 2500 pair of white socks per day.

By 1935, it appears that the original business was defunct, but that same year, the buildings became the Georgetown Silk Mills. I believe this was run by JR Gann and AC Lowe - in 1944 JR Gann, AC Lowe, WW Gann, and Helen Gann incorporated Gann Hosiery Mills, which became the operating name of the organization. JR Gann had been an employee of the mill (as a mechanic) for 10 years prior to organizing the business.


Looking northwest at the Gann Hosiery Mills, late 1940s
(Courtesy The Herald Sun Newspaper)

By 1950 the mills produced 120,000 pairs of socks per week and employed 150 people. The book "Durham and Her People" states: "Mr. Gann is frank to say that the success of his firm is largely due to the many loyal employees who have been with him since the organization of the firm."


Gann Hosiery Mill and Machine Shop, 1953.
(Courtesy The Herald Sun)

It appears that, by 1968, the hosiery mills were no longer in business


Gann Hosiery Mills, looking northeast from Gann St. and South Alston Ave. (East Pettigrew St. is the overpass over S. Alston) late 1960s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


Looking east from Gann St., across South Alston, late 1960s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


Looking south from the East Pettigrew St. overpass at the Durham Freeway under construction, 04.08.69
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The hosiery mill buildings were, unfortunately, torn down by the early 1970s. The site is currently occupied by a large metal/concrete building that houses a tattoo parlor.


Looking northeast at the site of the mill from Gann St. and South Alston Ave., 03.28.08

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.983513,-78.889475

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_11/PureStation_EMainAlston.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_11/GasStation_Alston_EMain_1950s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_11/millpark_mainandalston_1970.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_11/millpark_2007.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_11/pureoilalston_100210.jpg

MILL PARK PURE OIL GAS STATION

101
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1929
/ Modified in
1950s
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 09/12/2012 - 8:43pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 13.074" N, 78° 53' 15.9504" W

Comments

101
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1929
/ Modified in
1950s
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Mill Park service station, ~1950.
(Courtesy Wayne Henderson)

As I mentioned when discussing the Pure Oil Station at Morgan and N. Mangum, a sudden explosion of gas stations in residential neighborhoods during the 1920s met some resistance from neighbors - perhaps a bit aghast that every house on a corner was being torn down for another gas station.

Pure Oil's attempt to make this more palatable was to make the gas stations, ostensibly, look like little houses. One of the few remaining examples of one of these stations in Durham- one of the stucco and blue ceramic roof style rather than the Tudor style - is the former Mill Park Gas Station, located at the southeast corner of E. Main and S. Alston Ave.

The gas station was built in 1929 at the intersection of the Edgemont neighborhood and East Durham - it was a gas station through the 1970s. It was renovated once in the 1950s, and had an awning added sometime after 1965.


Looking southeast from E. Main St. and S. Alston., 1950s.


Looking northeast, 1970s

It later lost its awning, and pumps, and is now an auto repair shop.


Looking southeast, 2007.


10.02.10

millpark_091212.jpg

09.12.12. - After a good coat of paint.

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YARBROUGH MILLS / WRIGHT MACHINERY COMPANY

915
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925
/ Modified in
1940s
,
1970s-1990s
People: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sun, 11/10/2013 - 8:14pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 42.7344" N, 78° 53' 4.1028" W

Comments

915
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1925
/ Modified in
1940s
,
1970s-1990s
People: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Yarbrough Mill, ~1925 - looking northwest from Calvin St.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The Yarbrough Mill, a hosiery mill, was established on Calvin St., near Holloway St. around 1925. There is very little extant detail about the origin or operation of the mill.


Yarbrough Mills interior, undated, but mid to late 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

By 1929, the mill was out of business. In 1930, the building was taken over by Richard Wright's Automatic Tobacco Packing Machine Company.

Richard H. Wright, at one time associated with the Dukes' ambitions to monopolize the tobacco industry before the relationship soured, had continued to work to secure control of tobacco production and packaging machinery, even after dissolution of the partnership with the Dukes. After working to secure the rights to the Bonsack cigarette machine, and securing North American rights to a tobacco package wrapping machine from the Rose Bros. of Gainesborough, England, he established the Wright Automatic Tobacco Packing Machine Company to produce packaging and wrapping machinery. One source notes that the company was established by the 1890s; however, it does not appear to have been a physical operation until 1930. After establishment of the factory on Calvin St., it was noted to be "one of the pioneers in the South in the manufacture of automatic packaging machinery." (I'm not sure that there were copious packing machinery manufacturing companies in the south contending for this title.)

The name of the company was soon changed to Wright's Automatic Machinery Company. During World War II, the company, again renamed as Wright Machinery Company, worked with the Sperry Corporation to manufacture "gun-fire control instruments for the US Navy." The large plant at Holloway St. was constructed for this, and employment peaking at more than 1000 people during the war. One previous commenter has posited that is the plant manufactured triggering mechanisms for bombs during the war. The plant received "four of the coveted Nacy 'E' awards for efficiency" during the war.


Bird's eye view of the entire plant, looking northwest from above Holloway and Calvin St. Goose Creek winds along the western edge of the plant.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

By the 1950s, the company was run in part by Richard Wright's nephew, a vice-president - also named Richard H. Wright. After the war, the plant had returned to manufacturing packing and wrapping machinery.


Undated, but 1950s view of the rear of the new building - looking southwest.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection - Chamber of Commerce Collection)

Strikes occurred at the plant in 1956.


Looking southwest at the 1940s building.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Looking northwest at the original Yarbrough Mills building.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Looking southwest at the 1940s building.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The company was still active at the Calvin & Holloway location into the mid 1960s.


Looking east from near Goose creek, between the two buildings, 1966.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Interior shot of the plant, 1966
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

In 1969, the Wright company moved to Camden Avenue. The building was occupied by former wartime partner Sperry-Rand Electronics Corporation into the 1980s. In the 1990s, the building was occupied by Honeywell, Inc. Sometime between ~1970 and 1994, the original Yarbrough Mills building on Calvin St. was demolished.

It is currently owned by "Yarboro & Hesee Warehouses, LLC". The city agreed in November 2008 to lease ~16,000 square feet of space in the warehouse for the District One police substation, which will include both the District One staff, and the community services division.


Looking northwest from Calvin and Holloway at the front of the 1940s structure, 01.11.09. Some very large Magnolia trees that once graced the front of the building have been removed recently.


Looking northwest from Calvin St. at the former location of the older, Yarbrough Mills building.

This location is a vast improvement over the previous location, a sorry shopping center on Holloway St., east of 70. It may have provided office space, but did not contribute to a sense of community commitment to the inner neighborhoods of Edgemont/Cleveland-Holloway, and East Durham. The proximity to Housing Authority, City, and private investments - as well as adjacency to Long Meadow Park - is a strong positive move by the city and the police department.

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1102-1104 HOLLOWAY STREET

1102-1104
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1920-1930
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:18pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 39.5232" N, 78° 52' 54.138" W

Comments

1102-1104
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1920-1930
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 

 

 

1102-1104HollowaySt_100210.jpg
1102-1104 Holloway Street, 10.02.10

1102-1104 Holloway appears to have been built between 1923 and 1928. In 1928, "B's Home Cash Grocery" is a business located at this address. In 1934, it is referred to as "Beck's Cash Grocery."

In 1941, 1102 had converted to a part of the Purity Stores grocery chain, and 1104 was Pop's Place, confectionery. These remained as such through the 1940 and 1950s. In 1960, 1102 had become S&D Grocery, and 1104 Steven's Grill

I'm not sure when 1104 became Paschall's Grill (also known as Paschall's Cafe.) I'd have to imagine the mid-to-late 1960s or early 1970s, though. I can't say I've stopped to eat at Paschall's, but a few reviews online suggest it represents part of the old lineage of authentic Durham eating establishments - similar to King's, or, on the east side of town, Andrew's Kountry Kitchen, or the departed Parker's. I welcome the reminisces of others!

(Below in italics is from the 2004 National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)

One-story brick flat-roofed commercial building with 2 stores. The brick is laid in common bond. The facade features comer piers of stacked brick that create a pilaster effect. Both storefronts are original, with a recessed center door, plate glass display windows, and a transom concealed by metal. An additional storefront is located on the west rear elevation. 1930 CD: B's Home Cash Gro. 1940-1955: Pop's Place confr and Purity Stores gros. Current tenants: Aggressive Christian Church and Paschall's Grill.

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35.994249,-78.881764

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501 NORTH DRIVER ST. / RC ROLLINS STORE

501
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1923
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Fri, 10/26/2012 - 5:23pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 25.7676" N, 78° 52' 43.5036" W

Comments

501
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1923
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 


RC Rollins House and Store, 1980

Per the 1980 Historic Inventory

In 1923, RC Rollins, a contractor who built many houses in East Durham between 1900 and 1941, built this large two-story frame house with a hipped roof as his own residence. The porch, which originally was wraparound, is supported by large box posts with molding on brick plinths, the sole decorative element of the house. The year after building his house, Rollins constructed the small gable-front commercial building with false parapets in his side yard at the corner. Rollins' wife, Josie, ran a grocery here for many years. [As of 1980] Rollins' daughter lived in the house, which had been converted to apartments; she continued to operate the store, which was the oldest surviving grocery in this area of East Durham [at the time.]

The little store later became a haven for drug and crime problems in the 1990s-2000s before shutting down within the last 3 years.

Both the house and the store were on the real estate market for awhile last year. I tend to serially fall in love with various old houses that come on the market, but I was particularly enamored with a house that had its own little corner store. I have no idea what I would have done with it, but I'd have my own corner store!


RC Rollins House and store, 10.02.10

(Below in italics is from the 2004 East Durham National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)

Rollins Store. 1-story front-gabled store with a parapeted facade, a center door and flanking 6-over-6 sash windows. The store is covered with weatherboard and has exposed rafter tails. R.C. Rollins, whose residence is next door at 503 N. Driver St., built the store in his side yard in 1923. His wife Josie ran the grocery store for many years, and their daughter operated it afterwards. [Roberts, Durham A&HI, 98]

 

 

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318 SOUTH DRIVER STREET - FIDELITY BANK EAST DURHAM BRANCH

318
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1921
Architect/Designers: 
,
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 06/25/2012 - 8:26pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 56.1108" N, 78° 52' 41.0448" W

Comments

318
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1921
Architect/Designers: 
,
Businesses: 
Architectural style: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Fidelity Bank, East Durham, 1920s. Note the streetcar tracks making the curve from Angier Ave to S. Driver St.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection)

The Fidelity Bank (as I recently learned, that was pronounced Fie-delity,) first established by Washington Duke, Benjamin Duke, MA Angier, and George Watts in 1887, and later the anchor tenant in the Geer Building, expanded with its first two branches in the early 1920s - a West Durham branch and an East Durham Branch. Both branches were neoclassical in design, and similar in massing, although different form and materials were used in each. The Historic Inventory statesthat Durham architects Rose and Rose designed both branches. As the East Durham branch clearly notes, it was built in 1921.

The East Durham branch, however, was not originally a Fidelity branch, but the new location of the People's Bank (as you can see on the facade above,) which, prior to 1921, had been located at 463 South Driver St. - the corner of South Driver and the NC railroad tracks. I am unsure as to when it was acquired by Fidelity, although it was the People's Bank in 1923.


Fidelity Bank and the remainder of the 300 block of South Driver, 1945
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

In 1956, Wachovia Bank of Winston-Salem acquired and absorbed Fidelity. While the West Durham branch became a Wachovia, the bank constructed a new 'modern' branch in East Durham, complete with drive-thru, one block to the east on Angier Avenue and South Guthrie.

The former bank branch would go through a series of tenants in the ensuing years. Consolidated Insurance Company made its home there in the 1960s; the Knight Electric Company by the 1970s.


Former East Durham Fidelity branch, 1980

This is one of my favorite buildings in Durham - how I wish it would find its way back to a retail adaptive reuse that maximized the effect of the beautiful architecture.


Fidelity Bank branch and the remainder of the 300 block of South Driver, March 2007


10.02.10 (stupid pole...)

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35.982253,-78.878068

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402 SOUTH DRIVER

402
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1910s
/ Modified in
1920s
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Prominent, architecturally significant 2-story brick commercial building located at the comer of Angier Ave., with a diagonal entrance facing the intersection. The building has housed many businesses, including the Boone Drug Store, CM Headache Powders, Dr. Shuler's office, and the Seagroves grocery.

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 08/04/2012 - 7:22pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 55.4052" N, 78° 52' 41.0592" W
US

Comments

402
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1910s
/ Modified in
1920s
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


402 South Driver, March 2007.

A little tour to East Durham today after, sadly, a serious fire caused major damage to an important piece of architecture for the future of East Durham

The early history of 402 South Driver, the building on the southwest corner of Angier Avenue and South Driver St., is a bit unclear. It appears that the portion of the building facing on South Driver Street was probably built in the 1910s, and the storefront appearance on the corner and Angier Avenue side (2026 Angier Avenue) likely added in the 1920s.

By the late 1920s, 402 S. Driver housed Boone's Drug, perhaps a branch of DL Boone's drugstore of the same name located downtown at N. Mangum and Orange Sts. The physician office of James Shuler was located upstairs, along with CM Headache Powders.

By the 1940s, the drugstore had become Carswell Drug; Dr. Shuler's office was still located upstairs, along with Tracy Beasley's watch repair shop. Abernathy and Batten Barber Shop was located on the Angier Avenue side of the building.

By the late 1950s, the drugstore had become Sullivan's Pharmacy

Of late, the building had held the Atlantic Food Mart. On March 20, 2009, a serious fire started in the upstairs of the building. The building appears to have sustained some serious damage.


402 South Driver, 03.21.09.

Although repairable, the lack of significant funds invested in the rehabilitation of this building to date do not bode well for an even more expensive rehab at this point. I can't stress enough (or an adequate number of times) how essential I believe the preservation of these buildings at Angier and Driver St. are to the future of East Durham. This building, and the old Fidelity Bank building across Angier Avenue, are the architectural jewels of the intersection.

The broader point is that it seems to be a fallacy among public officials (and to a lesser extent, the private sector) that the stock of historic buildings is stable, with the exception of the building they've decided to tear down. This, and the numerous buildings destroyed over the history of Durham by various calamities should make clear the 'natural' attrition of buildings. Even if we were to stop tearing historic buildings down, we would continue to lose structures due to ice, hurricanes, fire, subsidence, and the like.

(Below in italics is from the 2004 East Durham National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)

Former Seagroves Grocery.

Prominent, architecturally significant 2-story brick commercial building located at the comer of Angier Ave., with a diagonal entrance facing the intersection. The east elevation facing Driver St. has conmon bond brick, segmentally-arched windows and a corbeled cornice. In contrast, the north elevation facing Angier Ave. has a stylish dark red brick veneer with a flat parapet with a geometric design of raised and contrasting brick. Windows have original 1-over-1 sashes. Apparently both facades are original and reflect the greater importance of Angier Ave. as a transportation corridor. At 2026 Angier Ave., on the north side, is an original store that has been a barber shop for many years. An original 1-story rear wingcontains 2 stores (2024 and 2022 Angier Ave.) The parapets feature the same brickwork as the main block, although storefronts are replacements. The 1913 Sanborn Map shows a house on this site.
1930 CD: Boone Drug Co. at No. 402; Lindsay P. Seagroves Grocery at No. 404. 1940 CD: Carswell Drugs and Andrews' Meat Market. Dr. Shuler had offices on the 2nd floor. 

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35.982057,-78.878072

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306-310 SOUTH DRIVER

306-310
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1930-1940
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 10/17/2012 - 8:54pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 57.3384" N, 78° 52' 40.7352" W

Comments

306-310
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1930-1940
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


306-312 South Driver, 1945

306-312 South Driver was built in the 1930s. 306 S. Driver was the location of the East Durham US Post Office branch (note the flag); 308 housed the National 5 cent to Store, and 310 housed Pender's Stores, a grocery. The East Durham Post office had originally been located in the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co., then in the rear of 463 South Driver, moving to this location in the 1930s, when the business district had clearly shifted northward to Angier and Driver.

By 1944, 308 housed the Crutchfield Market, and 310 was vacant. By 1955, 308-310 housed the Model Food Store. The Post Office and Model Food Store remained in place through 1966, when it moved to a new building at 2126 Angier Avenue (~2 blocks away.)

By 1980, 306-310 was occupied by the Triangle Flea Market.


306-312 South Driver, 1980


306 South Driver, the former USPO, 1980


306-312 South Driver, 10.02.10

(Below in italics is from the 2004 East Durham National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)

1-story brick commercial building with 3 storefronts, each with a shallow gabled pediment with center brick buttress and flanking brick pilasters. 308 and 310 have recessed double wood doors that are apparently original, with flanking dislay windows with tiled wainscots. 306 has 2 flush doors and a wooden wainscot. All storefronts have boarded transoms. 1937 SM. 1945 CD: U.S. Post Office at No. 306. Crutchfield Grocery at No. 308-310.

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35.982594,-78.877982

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2100 ANGIER AVENUE / CRABTREE PHARMACY

2100
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1914-1925
/ Modified in
1950s
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:57pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 54.804" N, 78° 52' 40.1772" W

Comments

2100
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1914-1925
/ Modified in
1950s
Construction type: 
,
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

One of the earliest businesses established in the Angier-Driver business district of East Durham, Crabtree Pharmacy, was started in 1904 by R.A. Crabtree, C.A. Crabtree, H.C. Barbee, and Viola Young.


The Crabtree family, 1895
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The original building was a frame structure on the southeast corner of Angier Avenue and South Driver with a wood awning extending out over the sidewalk.


Looking northwest from the building at the streetcar making the left turn from Angier onto Driver, 1910s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

In 1910, James (Robert) King, who had grown up in Durham and worked at the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company and Golden Belt before attending pharmacy school at "Page's School of Pharmacy" in Greensboro. He joined Crabtree in 1910. In 1921, he purchased an interest in the business, and later became the sole owner.

Sometime between 1913 and the late 1920s, (the historic inventory states 1925) the original frame building was replaced by the current structure.

In 1946, James King's son Alfred H. King purchased half the business, and in 1948 his son James King, Jr. purchased the remaining half.

In 1951, the pharmacy was described as "one of the old-line drugstores.... a modern store, rendering a complete pharmaceutical service, with fountain, drugs, and sundries, as well as other items handled by the modern drugstore." It was particularly known for its "milkshakes and orangeades."


Looking south, 05.28.63 with Crabtree Pharmacy on the right.
The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

In a 1999 Herald-Sun article, Dallas Jones reminisced about the pharmacies of East Durham:

""We had two [drugstores]. That was our entertainment," he said with a straight face. "We'd take our date to Crabtree Pharmacy or Carswell Drug Store and buy a Coke or cherry ice. They had milk shakes and banana splits. Sometimes we'd get a pack of Dubs crackers. You don't see them anymore. When we didn't have a date, we'd hang around the drugstore anyway, sometimes the Baptist church. We'd sit on the concrete wall and sing together."

At some point in the 1950s, a metal facade was placed on the exterior.

Whit Haney, a Florida native, bought Crabtree Pharmacy in 1989. He was still operating it in 1994, but I can't find any reference as to when it closed down.

After a decade+ of abandonment, Joe Bushfan, who had made the unlikely transition from security-to-the-stars to Angier-Avenue-hot-dog-vendor-that-nobody-was-gonna-mess-with executed a vision, along with Dan Hill and other supporters, to revitalize this corner. Reaping the benefit of the work that Preservation Durham did a decade ago to get East Durham on the National Register of Historic Places, Bushfan and backers took advantage of historic tax credits as well as city grant funding to help finance the project.


2100 Angier Avenue, 10.02.10

The result spans 2100-2104 Angier Avenue; the former Pharmacy is the crown jewel. As Joe's Diner, it serves a variety of diner-typical food and moderate-to-immense hot dogs. The interior reflects the finishes of the old pharmacy - tile floors, old cabinets, pressed tin ceiling, etc. It's an incredibly important renovation. That being said, I can't ignore the fact that I can't stand the metal facade elements added to the building and wish they'd been removed - I know sometimes NPS / the State Historic Preservation Office get goofy about preserving 'evolution' of a property; I get it, from a historical perspective. But insensitive/incompatible design elements are just that. To be clear, I don't know whose choice/decision it was to retain this vs. going back to the original 1920s facade.

And yes, much less important than just seeing the building revitalized.

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35.98189,-78.877827

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2108 ANGIER AVENUE

2108
,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 07/18/2011 - 8:44am by gary

Location

35° 58' 54.4872" N, 78° 52' 38.9028" W

Comments

2108
,
Durham
NC
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 


2108 Angier, 1980

Andrews Grill, as it was originally called, opened around 1950. The Andrews family ran the Andrews Market, a grocery store, at 2104 and, later 2102 Angier Avenue. In the late 1940s, one of the sons built a small restaurant building mid-block at 2108 Angier and opened the Andrews Grill. For reasons unknown, the restaurant became Smith's Grill during the mid 1950s, but then Andrews Kountry Kitchen in ~1960

I'm going to reprint this article, by David Newton, from the Durham News, 09.22.07, which gives some nice historical context and sense of vibrancy as recently as 2007.

The searing summer heat has killed the lunch trade at Andrew's Kountry Kitchen. So for right now, Gary Andrews, 77, cook, waiter and owner, is waiting out the heat by serving breakfast only. But the banter is still alive and well.

"If I was to pay you, how much would I owe you?" asks Bobby Elliott, 71, a tire salesman who has countered stomach problems with a grilled cheese sandwich and iced tea.

"How much you got?" shoots back the genial Andrews.

"Not enough for putting up with you," replies Elliott, who hands over .30.

Home cooking has been served up from this 2108 Angier Ave. address in East Durham since the early 1950s.

Elliott has been a customer for the past four years due to the food and "the people, the crowd," he says. "It's like one old, big family. Don't make no difference who it is. Don't make any difference if it's a cop or a crook."

One of the cops is Durham County sheriff's Deputy M.O. Hill, who has dropped by about once a week since he became a deputy 11 years ago. Hill, 43, is a country boy whose family's past trips to town included a stop at this intersection of Driver Street and Angier Avenue.

"This is how East Durham used to be," Hill says, sitting beneath a wall plaque that declares Andrews an honorary Durham County sheriff.

The Kountry Kitchen is in a grated community -- an area where most storefronts are boarded up or protected with steel grating. Samuel & Sons Barbershop next door hangs discount clothing out front. Angier Avenue Baptist Church is across the street.

Forty years ago the intersection was a vibrant neighborhood business district for East Durham's working class. Two drugstores, several restaurants, a bank, a post office, several barbershops and a hardware store kept the area ginning.

"One reason I've survived is live and let live," says Andrews, the father of four grown children. At one stage, three down-and-out families used the restaurant as their living room. Thank them for the heavy Elvis selection on the jukebox.

"Everybody has a good time," Andrews says of the all-in-the-family atmosphere. "It's a mixture of different races. It's more like a family. Everybody gets along."

The six dark four-person, plastic-covered booths are taped against the cracks of age. Three two-chair tables line a wall. Yellow, flaking newspapers are behind glass: General Julian S. Carr's death in 1924; final plans for the "New Duke University," 1927; the deaths of Kennedy, Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

The Andrews name has been on the strip since the '30s, when his uncle Ralph ran Andrews Grocery. After World War II, the uncle's three sons operated the grocer until the early '50s, when they split up. One brother, Walter, built the current concrete block building and opened a restaurant.

As a kid Andrews was in and out of the grocery store and then worked at the restaurant. He kept his hand in at the restaurant during a 33-year career as a telephone repairman and installer. In 1970, he bought the building and in 1974 hired someone to run the restaurant during the day. He closed up at 9 p.m. and was back the next day at 6 a.m. to help set up before hustling off to the phone company.

In 1990, he retired from the phone company and donned an apron full-time. Several years ago he stopped the evening hours and is now open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Thank Hilda Williams for the fast service. "I've never seen somebody like it when it comes to cooking," he says of his employee of 20 years.

Andrews, now a bit creaky, knows the tradition can't go on forever. The city hasn't done much to keep the strip alive, he says. A case of eggs -- 30 dozen -- jumped from last year to this year. Dumpster service has climbed from to 1 a month.

"I'll absorb some of it," he says.

He recites the litany of change without self-pity.

Last year, his wife went into a rest home, and he had to close for two months to deal with his back and gall bladder problems. But he has no intention of closing.

"Not that I can see, unless I fall out," he says.

"This gives me something to do ... . This gives me good entertainment."

It appears that Andrews passed away in July of 2008. Immediately thereafter, it seems that new management began running the restaurant, but it appears to be closed now. There is a sign in the window noting "Tootie's Grill Coming Soon," but it doesn't appear to be.

2108Angier_100210.jpeg
2108 Angier Ave, 10.02.10

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35.981802,-78.877473

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2201 ANGIER AVENUE

2201
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1930s
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 07/18/2011 - 9:32pm by gary

Location

35° 58' 53.5044" N, 78° 52' 33.5892" W

Comments

2201
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1930s
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

gasstation_angierandguthrie.jpeg
2201 Angier, March 2007

The East Durham Service Station was built in the early 1930s; I've seen another station almost identical to it in Savannah, GA, so my guess is that it was not an uncommon plan.

The city directories continue to list the East Durham Service Station at least through the 1960s. I don't know how long it has been abandoned, but I can say that it has certainly been at least 5-6 years.


2201 Angier Avenue, 10.02.10

Owned by MM Fowler of the Family Fare oil/gas empire, the station does not have a bright future, although it does appear that a coat of paint was put on the wonderful dentil moulding sometime in the last 3 years. It is, hands down, one of my favorite buildings in Durham. Amazing how much character gas stations used to have, in contrast with what they've become. I can envision a multitude of cool adaptive re-uses of this building; I hope that one happens for it someday.

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.981529,-78.875997

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/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/VirginiaCarolinaFert_1920s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/VA-CarolinaFertilizer_Sanborn_1913.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/VA-Carolina_1920s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/VCFertilizerCo_aerial_W_1940s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2009_1/tobacco_VCFertilizer.jpg

DURHAM / VIRGINIA-CAROLINA CHEMICAL / FERTILIZER COMPANY

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1895
/ Demolished in
1972-1990
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 10/05/2013 - 9:43am by gary

Location

35° 58' 38.6976" N, 78° 52' 18.246" W

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Built in
1895
/ Demolished in
1972-1990
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company, looking northeast, ~1920
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Samuel Tate Morgan, in partnership with Eugene Morehead, and Louis (Lewis) Carr, established the Durham Fertilizer Company around 1881; he hit upon using a waste product of the tobacco production process - the stems - to make fertilizer. On September 12, 1895, he formed the Virgina-Carolina Chemical (Fertilizer) Company, which was headquartered in Richmond, VA. The Durham plant was located on Angier Avenue (the Macadam Road) - east of East Durham.


1913 Sanborn Map Sanborn Map.
(Copyright Sanborn Map Company)


Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company, looking northeast, ~1930
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Chamber of Commerce Collection)


Aerial looking west towards downtown, ~1940. The main railroad line is to the left of the plant and Angier Ave. to the right.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

By 1953, this plant, described as "the big red frame and brick plant on Angier Ave." was one of 36 V-C plants located in the southeast. I don't have a great deal of additional information about the Durham plant and its operations through the mid-20th century. Their tasty process is described thusly in 1953:

"The first step in the work here is the manufacturing of sulphuric acid which in turn is used to make super-phosphate, a major ingredient in commercial fertilizers. For the acid work there are huge containers, partly surrounded by vats that give the plant an air of a melodramatic movie."

"After the sulphuric acid comes the actual making of super-phosphate. The acid is mixed with phosphate rock shipped here from the company's mining operations. There was a pile of super-phosphate weighing about 3,000 tons at the plant recently."

"Then, with materials brought from all over the United States, the plant here mixes various grades of fertilizers, an exacting work that [plant manager WM Caldwell] described as 'mixing prescriptions on a terrific scale.'"

"Fertilizers made at the plant run from fish pond fertilizer to tobacco fertilizer, general crop and pasture fertilizer. It is shipped to a surrounding area of about 100 miles."


(Courtesy University of North Carolina)

The company was listed in the Fortune 500 from 1957 to 1963. The papers for the company seem to terminate at 1965, though I don't know the cause of death.

The plant itself seems to have still been around in 1972. Sometime later, likely in the 1970s or 1980s, the plant appears to have been demolished and replaced with another industrial center. It appears, from the multiple listings at that address, that the present-day building provides space for numerous tenants.


Site of the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company, 01.01.09.

(Photo by Gary Kueber)

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