Preservation Durham Civil Rights Legacy walking tour

Preservation Durham Civil Rights Legacy walking tour


Preservation Durham offers free walking tours, leaving from the Farmers' Market on Foster Street, on Saturdays at 10am from April through November.

On the 2nd Saturday of each month a tour guide presents the Civil Rights Legacy walking tour.  This tour was first offered on November 17, 2002 and since then thousands of Durhamites and visitors alike have learned about the history of civil rights in Durham.

The tour gives voice to the rich stories of people, who lived through these tumultuous times.  The tour experience include excerpts from:
  -oral history interviews with local citizens,
  -articles in newspapers and other print material of the time, and the
  -retrospective reflections from a 2002 conference sponsored by Preservation Durham.

Including different perspectives aims to dispel stereotypes.  In addition, Preservation Durham invites your comments to this ongoing dialogue about race relations in Durham.

During the 1950s, through the 1970s, Durham witnessed
  -Protest marches
  -Sit-ins
  -Negotiations behind the scenes, and
  -Unlikely friendships.

In Durham, four waves of protest activities stand out:

-June, 1957,
  when seven Negroes sat at a whites-only table at the Royal Ice Cream Parlor. They were arrested for trespassing.

-February, 1960,
  when Durham students flocked downtown to sit-in at lunch counters, one week after the sit-ins in Greensboro.

-May, 1963,
  during three days of mass demonstrations, protesters crowded downtown - marching, picketing, and boycotting the businesses and restaurants that were still segregated.

-April, 1968,
  when the assassination of Martin Luther King set off three different responses in Durham:  
  1- Arson, police patrols and curfews.
  2- A silent vigil by students at Duke University, and
  3- the Black Solidarity Committee’s Boycott of downtown businesses, for seven months, from July to February, the selective buying boycott resulted in business losses of nearly a million dollars in sales.  The Black community was steadfastly organized for change.

The story of Durham’s schools spans the entire period, with court-ordered desegregation in 1970 and a community forum the next summer.

The tour concludes with the bittersweet memories of Durham participants.

Durham’s story is dynamic -- considerably different from the deep South and even unique within North Carolina.

The following Open Durham entries reflect stops along the tour route, or are locations within Durham referred to by the Preservation Durham tour guide.

...

cityhighschool.jpeg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/cityhighschool_morris.jpgcityhighschool_1910.jpeg/sites/default/files/images/2007_1/cityhighschool_front_pcard.jpgcityhall_1940.jpeg

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)

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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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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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NORTH CAROLINA MUTUAL / MECHANICS AND FARMERS

116
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1906
/ Demolished in
1921
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 07/23/2011 - 7:24pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 45.726" N, 78° 54' 3.0132" W

Comments

116
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1906
/ Demolished in
1921
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.


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)

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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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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ROYAL ICE CREAM / CHARLIE DUNHAM'S / UNION INDEPENDENT SCHOOL

1000
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
2006
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 06/01/2013 - 9:54am by gary

Location

United States
36° 0' 2.2644" N, 78° 53' 36.5172" W
US

Comments

1000
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
2006
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The Union Missionary Baptist church has destroyed an important piece of African-American history by destroying the former Royal Ice Cream Parlor, the site of very early sit-ins, even before Greensboro.

Back in the 1950s, this building was the Royal Ice Cream parlor, a segregated business. From a timeline sent to me:

"1957 June 23 Asbury Methodist Minister Moore leads a group of six other blacks (three women, three men) into segregated Royal Ice Cream Parlor, where they sat down in the white section. They are arrested and Moore turns to young Durham lawyer Floyd McKissick. The case is appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Durham’s black Ministerial Alliance initially opposed Moore’s “radical” efforts, as did the city wide political organization the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, or DCNA. Participants in the sit-in included: Mary Elizabeth Clyburn, Rev. Douglas Elaine Moore, Claude Edward Glenn, Jesse Willard Gray, Vivian Elaine Jones, Melvin Haywood Willis, and Virginia Lee Williams."

The Royal Ice Cream parlor continued to be a focus for anti-segregation protest, such as this one on ,1962.

RoyalIceCream_1962.jpeg
Looking northeast from the corner of Dowd and Roxboro.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

And protesters continued to face the small-minded attitudes of the smug and self-centered.
RoyalIceCream_2_1962.jpeg
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Royal Ice Cream eventually shut down - I wonder if it refused to integrate.

In recent years, the building was Charlie Dunham's, a market.


1000 N. Roxoboro in recent years (DC Tax Office)

Inexplicably, Union Missionary Baptist, a predominantly African-American congregation across Dowd St., tore this building down on August 9, 2006.


1000 N. Roxboro, August 9, 2006

(Photo copyright G. Kueber)

This bolsters my theory that while faith communities have, in the past, brought together the community at large, at present they are one of the preeminent threats to history and architectural preservation. In an effort to attract more patrons, inner city churches aggressively expand surface parking, to the detriment of the neighborhood and irreplaceable historical sites. Union Missionary Baptist has acquired large amounts of property around their buildings, including many houses. If you are a fan of the continued existence of any of these houses, please contact the church, the planning commission, city council, etc.


Property holdings of church outlined in red, including now-demolished buildings at the northeast corner of N. Roxboro and Dowd.


Church with demolished building (Photo copyright G. Kueber)

Me with the demolition site, August 2006

(Photo by Herald-Sun; this post garnered the very first publicity for Endangered Durham, and the photo is from the accompanying article.)

Edit 2008

Since I first posted this, the history of the Royal Ice Cream sit-in, almost completely ignored when I first wrote this, became big news with the dawning of the 50th anniversary in 2007. Unfortunately, the building - which could have become a classroom with power in its walls - did not survive to see the day. While on 12/17/07, the State (belatedly) approved a historic marker to mark the site, it seems a partly hollow victory to me. For what better evidence of the mutability and adaptability of buildings is there than affixing a civil rights historic marker to a building once sullied with "Colored" and "White" signs over separate entrances? What greater victory is there than repurposing a venue that symbolized inequality to pay hommage to the bravery of the people who fought back?

The demolition of the building has gone entirely unmentioned in the run-up to the marker, but here's to not forgetting any misguided actions.

Update: 10.22.10

The proposed school for the site has been constructed; I am sure that it is a boon for the neighborhood to have additional neighborhood school options, so kudos for getting a school built on the site. The architecture is terrible, but to be fair, I haven't seen a school built in the last 10 years that isn't architecturally abysmal - something between mini-mall and self-storage suburban seems to be the motif.


Royal Ice Cream Parlor site / Union Independent School, 10.22.10

(Photo copyright G. Kueber)

The architecture again makes clear to me - with its setbacks and drives, its blind side to N. Roxboro, the uselessness and squandered opportunity with the demolition of Royal Ice Cream. You can see the historic marker in the photo below. Great. I'm glad there is something, but markers for things that aren't there anymore - and we so recently had an opportunity to save (i.e. in the last 60 years) - are simply depressing to me. Particularly given the the entire Royal Ice Cream building could fit in the corner landscaping and driveway.

I wish I better understood this decision without the blame being placed on construction or architecture - where I know better. Integrating - pun intended - this building into the site would have been feasible if the desire to do so was present. Is/was it a decision of spite? Was it a desire to obliterate reminders of that era - to forget the history where this happened by erasing it off the face of the earth? Was the assertion of power by an African-American church over a building where a doctrine of white supremacy was practiced a form of you-don't-have=power-over-me-anymore?

That's the only explanation that rings true to me - and if that is the case, I can understand the psychology, although I wish a less visceral response had prevailed. Decisions to preserve places where people were denigrated, tortured, or killed are not easy ones - but so very necessary. It becomes so easy to believe, without tangible evidence - that such things never could have happened - or to believe that no person is capable of such things -but particularly that it would be so normal is what is so disturbing to me - that people could walk by separate entrances labelled "Black" and "White" without stopping in their tracks.

And that is what is missing in a historic marker - context. That sense of how normal this became, and how normal such indecencies could (some might say, with the human track record, inevitably will) become again. That chill up your spine from seeing the signs, seeing the physical segregation of space - that is what brings home the reality. I will never forget drinking from a water fountain in Charity Hospital in New Orleans as a 24 year old medical student; the walls were marble, the fountain one of those old porcelain fountains with chrome fixtures mounted straight to the wall. I'd drunk from this fountain perhaps a dozen times before - it was near the main entry. For some reason, on this occasion, I lifted my eyes while stooped over at the fountain, and saw the wall directly in front of me. There, on the marble - so faint that you wouldn't see it from a distance, was the outline of the word "Colored," once painted on the wall but then long removed.

I'll never forget the feeling that I had upon seeing that - akin to "Oh my God, this really happened - here." Seems silly on some level - I knew that it had happened; I learned it in school. But seeing it was a different thing all together - it happened in the world that I inhabit - and, by implication, could happen again. That isn't to say that racism wasn't and isn't present, but such racism certainly didn't, and doesn't have mainstream acceptance.

That is what the kids in this school could have seen and felt - and interpreted for themselves. They've been denied that opportunity by the anger of an earlier generation.

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_3/kress_1970s.jpgmarkhamstore.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_3/101WestMain_1890s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_3/mainwestfrommangum_1905.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_3/mangumfromtracks_1905.jpg

S.H. KRESS - SW CORNER MAIN AND MANGUM

101
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1932
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 07/21/2011 - 4:42am by gary

Location

35° 59' 41.7912" N, 78° 54' 3.33" W

Comments

101
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1932
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

Kress Building, 1970s 

The John L. Markham Cash Store, located at the southwest corner of Main and Mangum Sts., was the first commercial brick structure in Durham, built sometime prior to 1881.

markhamstore.jpg
(From "Durham: A Pictorial History" by Joel Kostyu)


Looking southwest from Mangum and Main, 1890s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

This structure was demolished sometime prior to 1895 and replaced by a larger, three-story structure that housed the Sneed-Markham-Taylor clothes store on the first floor, a printery on the second floor, and the Knights of Pythias, uh, lodge/temple/meeting hall on the third floor.


Looking west from Mangum St. down Main St., 1905. The SMT building is the first on the left side.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


A view from the railroad tracks north on Mangum St., 1905. The side of the SMT building is on the left.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

A view from the Washington Duke Hotel, looking southeast. The SMT building is on the left (west of Mangum St.) and the Wheelan Drug Company is on the right. The Greek Revival Citizens Bank is across Mangum St. on the far left.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In 1932, the Kress Co. moved east from their previous location at 113 West Main St. to this location. They demolished the SMT building and constructed a beautifully embellished Art Deco structure, in keeping with the style of many of their buildings errected during this era in other parts of the country. This example has more of what I would describe at art nouveau-influenced details - flora, foliage - within an art deco framework.

Below, looking southeast from Main St., late 1930s

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Below, looking southwest from Main and Mangum, late 1930s

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The view below shows part of the facade, obstructed by the Walgreens building, looking south from Parrish St.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

After urban renewal removed the buildings along Mangum between Parrish and Main as well as the structures immediately behind the Kress building, the building stood alone with along the western side of Mangum St.

Kress continued to operate into the 1970s.

KressBaldwin_1974.jpg
(Courtesy Norman Williams Collection)

But the store closed sometime in the late 1970s and was converted to office space - which involved removal of portions of the interior detail.

Most recently, the structure was purchased by Greenfire and has been renovated as condominium space, which are still for sale - at 0,000 to 0,000 a pop.


Looking south from Main St., 2007.

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/sites/default/files/images/2008_10/whiterock_original.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_10/whiterockbaptist_1912.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_10/WhiteRock_1922.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_10/whiterock_1924.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_10/WhiteRockBaptist_1950.jpg

WHITE ROCK BAPTIST CHURCH

602
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1893-1896
/ Modified in
1910
/ Demolished in
1967
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 01/02/2013 - 2:44pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 14.046" N, 78° 53' 49.9776" W

Comments

602
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1893-1896
/ Modified in
1910
/ Demolished in
1967
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

White Rock Baptist Church figures in the earliest origins of Hayti, organized in 1866 in the home of Mrs. Margaret Faucette, following a series of house-to-house prayer meetings. These meetings became services conducted by the Reverend Zuck Horton. Following his pastorate, Reverend Samuel Hunt, the second pastor, held services for what was then known as the "First Baptist Church" in a cotton gin on Elm Street and in a warehouse on Peabody Street.

On March 13, 1877, the first building site was purchased at a cost of .00 at the corner of East Pettigrew Street and Coleman Alley on land deeded from Cornelius Jordan to the "trustees of the Colored Missionary Baptist Church." The first structure was erected under the third pastor, Reverend Frederick Wilkins (1879-1881). When the building was completed, it was named “White Rock Baptist Church” because of the large white flint rock in the front yard.

In 1881-1884, the Reverend T. W. H. Woodward, became the fourth pastor and, subsequently, Reverend B. K. Butler became the fifth pastor. He left after the first year and organized the Mount Vernon Baptist Church of Durham.

The first brick building was erected on the corner of Fayetteville Street and Mobile Avenue during the ministry of the sixth pastor. Reverend A. P. Easton (1886-1897). The cornerstone for this structure was laid in 1893, and the structure was completed three years later. Sources vary as to the seating capacity of this first church, but it could have held between 350 and 1000 people. Eaton left the church in 1898 to form St. John's Baptist church - located originally on Dunstan St. and later on Fayetteville St. on part of the later site of Speight's Service Station.


The first brick White Rock Church, from "End of An Era" by Dorothy Phelps

Raleigh Minister Augustus Shepard, father of Dr. James E. Shepard and Dr. Charles Shepard, became the eighth pastor of church, serving from 1901 until his death in 1911. In 1910, the church was remodeled and a wing called the Baraca Room added to the Mobile Avenue side of the sanctuary. This annex provided seating capacity for 250. In the basement, a kitchen and classrooms were added. The North Wall of the main sanctuary was removed, expanding the seating capacity to 800, including the balcony. In 1911, the renovation was completed, with a new church facade, a library, public baths, an elevated floor in the main sanctuary, and the installation of a pipe organ, at a cost of ,000 to ,000.


White Rock Baptist during renovation, 1910.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Digital Durham)

Durham’s first African-American doctor, Dr. Aaron M. Moore, gave property to the church for a future Sunday school building. In 1913, he established a library in the church basement, which in 1916 moved to the corner of East Pettigrew and Fayetteville St., become the "Durham Colored Library" - the forerunner of what is now Stanford L. Warren Public Library.

From 1913 to 1919, Dr. E. M. Brawley served as the ninth pastor. Dr. James Kirkland of Darlington, SC became the tenth pastor and served 1919-1924. Among his achievements were the replacement of the original pipe organ and the construction of a modern parsonage at 1219 Fayetteville Street.


White Rock, 1922
(From "Milestones Along the Color Line" - scanned by Digital Durham)


White Rock, 1924

Dr. Miles Mark Fisher became White Rock’s thirteenth pastor on January 1, 1933, having come from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Huntington, West Virginia following receipt of Master's and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. Dr. Fisher brought a new sensibility to the pastorate of White Rock and, per Anderson, unseated much of the the staid and conservative NC Mutual leadership that had dominated the church for many years. He created an afternoon supervised play program for children of the community. During his years, the church sponsored a nursery school for children of low-income families (1939-1942), a health clinic, and a training program for early African-American employees of the city Recreation Department. The first African-American Boy Scout troop in Durham, Troop 55 was invited to White Rock in 1935 when they had no meeting place. Cub Pack 55 was organized in 1944, the Explorer Post in 1954, and the Girl Scouts in 1951. He made the church available for Tobacco Labor Unions, he created softball leagues; Judge Mamie Dowd Walker was quoted as saying that Fisher's programs had done "more than anything else to decrease juvenile delinquency...in the community."


White Rock, 1950s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


White Rock Baptist, 1950s
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

Dr.MLK_GordonCarey_RevDouglasMooreRaceMeeting_1_021660.jpg

 

"Dr. MLK, GordonCarey, RevDouglasMoore Race Meeting, 02.16.60"

Dr.MLK_GordonCarey_RevDouglasMooreRaceMeeting_2_021660.jpg

"Dr. MLK, GordonCarey, RevDouglasMoore Race Meeting, 02.16.60"

Dr.MLK_GordonCarey_RevDouglasMooreRaceMeeting_3_021660.jpg

"Dr. MLK, GordonCarey, RevDouglasMoore Race Meeting, 02.16.60"

The Reverend Lorenzo Augustus Lynch, a native of Oak City, NC, was elected as White Rock Baptist Church’s fourteenth pastor on June 25, 1965.


White Rock, 1965.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

When it became clear that White Rock would be demolished by urban renewal and stood near the path of the Durham Freeway, Lynch helmed the planning, fund-raising, and construction of the new church building, located at 3400 Fayetteville Street, on a six-acre tract of land at a cost of more than one million.

The church at 602 Fayetteville St. was destroyed in 1967.


Looking east over the freeway crossing over S. Roxboro, 09.12.67. White Rock is still visible at the edge of the freeway clearance in the distance.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Below, White Rock and Dr. Aaron Moore's house, with the Freeway encroaching. This is the only color picture I've ever seen of the church.

whiterockbaptist_color.jpg


Looking east from the S. Roxboro crossing, 02.26.68 - White Rock is gone.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Looking west from near the site of White Rock, 02.07.69.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Looking east from the NC Mutual building at the Fayetteville/Freeway intersection ~1970.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

While the building was under construction, the congregation worshipped at B. N. Duke Auditorium, on the campus of North Carolina Central University and at St. Joseph’s A. M. E. Church. The congregation occupied the new church on October 10, 1971. [This post relies heavily on church history from the White Rock Baptist Church website]

The former site of the church would sit atop the present-day eastbound on-ramp to the Durham Freeway.


Site of White Rock Baptist, looking west, 10.05.08
 

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/sites/default/files/images/2007_5/courthouse_1921.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_5/FirstCountyCourthouse_SW.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_5/oldcourtchurch_1890.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_5/firstcourthouse_SE_1900s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2007_5/OriginalCountyCourthouse_SEfromEMain.jpg

DURHAM COUNTY COURTHOUSE (SECOND)

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1916
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
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Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Mon, 06/25/2012 - 3:18pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 37.9824" N, 78° 53' 57.2568" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1916
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Looking southwest, ~1920.
(Courtesy Duke Archives).
After Durham County was established by vote of the state legislature in 1881, the first courthouse (and everything else related to the business of the new county) was located in rented space in Stokes Hall, on the northeast corner of Corcoran and West Main St.

The county was soon cramped for space, and by 1883 had begun to plan for additional space. The county erected a small jail and, at county expense, a mayor's office on the southeast corner of Church St. and East Main St, on land donated by Julian Carr and EJ Parrish. (The building may have been the house that was already on the land - sources differ.)

Evidently, prisoners were soon singing and calling to passersby - an early complaint, dating at least to 1885, was voiced when a woman wrote the city complaining of the "profanity and lascivious language." As a result (and at her suggestion), a 10 foot high fence was erected around the property.

By 1889, the county hired Byron Pugin, who had built the Day house on Ramseur St., BN Duke's 'Terrace', the Parrish building, and other early structures to design the courthouse. The initiation of construction was a major event - EJ Parrish's light infantry, the fire hose companies (both African-American and white), all of the movers and shakers, and, of course, the Masons, who performed the "ritual anointing of the cornerstone with oil, wine, and fruits of the field" per Anderson. A convict crew performed the excavation and much of the construction labor, and the brick for the structure was evidently "fired at the County poorhouse."


First County courthouse, looking south-southwest from East Main St.
(Courtesy Duke RBMC - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

The County courthouse had the distinction of having the first sewer pipe in Durham - which carried its effluent down to the tributaries of Third Fork Creek on Pine St. (now Roxboro) south of the railroad tracks. The other rather ignominious distinction of the first courthouse is the fact that two legal hangings took place in its courtyard - one for a man murdering his wife, and the other for "first degree burglary")


Looking east from the corner of Church and East Main, with the first courthouse on the right, 1890s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives).


Looking southeast from East Main St.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Duke RBMC - Wyatt Dixon Collection)

By the mid-1910s, space was again at a premium, and the county issued bonds in the amount of 6,466.76 to build a new courthouse. A new neoclassical structure was design by Milburn and Heister to replace the older courthouse on the site. In 1916, another groundbreaking ceremony was held, in which the contents of the original building's cornerstone were placed in the new cornerstone (along with additional items) and the cornerstone was again anointed by the Masons.


Looking southwest, ~1920.
(Courtesy Duke Archives).


Looking southeast, ~1920
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The jail was located on the top floor of the structure, from which point the prisoners would shout at people passing on the street.


Looking southeast from the northeast corner of Church and East Main., 1940s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

countycourthouse_1960.jpg

County Courthouse, ~1960 (Courtesy Herald-Sun)

By the 1960s, the perpetual question of space had reared its head again, and, after the city destroyed the buildings in the block across the street, the county set about building a brand new courthouse (which as we later learned, was purportedly too small from the moment it was occupied.)

DurhamCountyCourthouse_1974_0.jpg

Durham County Courthouse, from the cleared 200 block of East Main Street looking south, 1974

(Courtesy Norman Williams Collection)


Looking southeast, 1970s

In 1978, that courthouse was completed, and, perhaps because it really was too small to contain the various necessary offices, the 1916 courthouse was retained, and it continues to hold various county offices today. The prisoners no longer shout from the top floor, but I'm still hopeful we can get that effect for the patrons of our new Performing Arts Center.


Looking southwest, 2007.

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hojo_chblvd_1959.jpgHoJo_CHB_pcard_1963.jpghowardjohnson_protest_1962.jpghojo_protest2_1962.jpg

HOWARD JOHNSON'S - CHAPEL HILL BOULEVARD

,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
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In tours

Last updated

  • Thu, 09/15/2011 - 8:03pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 58' 11.6292" N, 78° 57' 33.7824" W
US

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

hojo_chblvd_1959.jpg

1959

 

HoJo_CHB_pcard_1963.jpg

Howard Johnson's, Chapel Hill Boulevard, 1963

howardjohnson_protest_1962.jpg

hojo_protest2_1962.jpg

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/sites/default/files/images/2008_11/600-700Fayetteville_S_1922.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_11/stjoseph_interior_1911.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_11/stjosephs_drawing_1922.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_11/800Fayetteville_N_1944.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_11/stjosephs_aerial_1940s.jpg

ST. JOSEPH'S AME CHURCH / HAYTI HERITAGE CENTER

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1891
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

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Last updated

  • Mon, 07/31/2017 - 3:20pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 8.8512" N, 78° 53' 52.3968" W

Comments

,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1891
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 


The spire of St. Joseph's visible ~2 blocks away on the right, 1922.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Scanned by Digital Durham)

In 1868 Edian Markham, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) missionary and former slave, came into Durham and with five others established an AME church, purchasing property currently occupied by the present-day Hayti Heritage Center from Minerva Fowler. The first place of worship was a 'Brush Arbor' - four posts were anchored in the ground surrounded at the top with four boards covered with branches forming the roof and an earthen floor. As winter approached the small congregation replaced the original arbor with a log structure. This log structure seems to have served as the first school of any kind for African-Americans in Durham - the "Freedmen's School."

The church was originally called Union Bethel church, after the original AME church established in Philadelphia in 1787. Rev. Markham left Durham in 1870; within a short time, the log structure was replaced by a frame structure under the leadership of Rev. George Hunter, and that structure was replaced by another frame building by Rev. WD Cook.

In 1890, under the leadership of Rev. Andrew Chambers, a fund-raising campaign was begun. The African-American community gave generously to the church - most notably John Merrick. The fund-raising efforts also extended to the white community; both Washington Duke and Julian Carr made contributions to the construction of the church. Architect Samuel Leary was likely connected with the congregation and the commission by Washington Duke; Leary ostensibly came to Durham from Philadelphia to design and build structures for the Dukes, but designed several important structures during his brief Durham career. Leary, whose house still stands on Cleveland St., designed the original Washington Duke building at Duke (burned), the original Fire Station #1, the First (white) Graded School (later Morehead School), and the Foushee House (now Camelot Academy on Proctor St.) It has never been confirmed whether he designed any of the still-extant Italianate brick tobacco warehouses from the 1890s-1900s. There is some speculation that the collapse of the original tower of the Washington Duke Building doomed Leary's career; regardless, after furious work during the 1890s, Leary appears to have left Durham - I've come across no further record of any subsequent work.

The cornerstone for the St. Joseph's AME church, which bears Leary's name, was laid in 1891. The bricks for the building came from the Richard Fitzgerald brickyard. The historic inventory describes the structure as "a highly eclectic work, combining the dense massing of Richardsonian Romanesque with elements culled from Gothic Revival and, to a lesser extent, from the Neo-Classical movement."

W.E.B. Dubois stated, “never in all my travels have I seen a church as great as St. Joseph’s.”

An ornate pipe organ built by the W.H. Reisner Manufacturing Company, Inc., was purchased with donations by John O'Daniel, John Merrick, WG Pearson, James Weaver, Agnes Saterfield, and Rev. JE Jackson.

I've copied the following description of the interior from the Hayti Heritage Center website

"The pressed tin ceiling is painted a brilliant turquoise accented by gold on an off-white background. Large coffers formed by bands of reeding with plaited ribbon shape the squares. Identically trimmed diamond shapes fill each square and floral bosses decorate the intersections for the coffers. The margins are filled with guilloche molding intertwined with avillan crosses."

"Hanging dramatically over the center aisles is a two-tiered Art Nouveau chandelier. A buttercup shape encircles the stem of an opalescent glass light fixture. Falling in open quatrefoils form the base of each tier are pendant drops. High on the left wall are two very large electric fans that were installed by a Black electrician, E.N. Toole, during the 1930’s. The pews have scrolled arms above flat-paneled lancet arches. A second story wooden gallery supported by six slender columns begins on each side of the center aisle."

"Twenty-four stained glass windows enhance the beauty and dignity of this former sanctuary. Most are memorials to individuals who made outstanding financial contributions and/or gave dedicated service to St. Joseph’s Church."

"A window facing old Fayetteville Street at the front entrance keeps alive the memory of Edian Markham, the organizer. To the right, Moses Tablet memorializes Rev. George Hunter, the first builder of Union Bethel frame church. In the center facing old Fayetteville Street is the image of 'our friend' Washington Duke."


St. Joseph's AME interior, 1911.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Scanned by Digital Durham)

Atop the spire of the building is a vévé, a voodoo symbol of Erzulie, the lwa of love, representing the diasporic connection between the Hayti neighborhood and Haiti, the world's first black-led republic.

Below a drawing from "Milestones Along the Color Line" of a proposed annex in 1922 - the proportions of the original church are incorrect, which makes this drawing look somewhat strange.


(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Scanned by Digital Durham)

I don't have much detail regarding the congregation through the mid-20th century, however, the church, along with White Rock Baptist, was at the center of African-American spiritual life in Hayti.


Looking north from the 900 block of Fayetteville St., 1944.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


Bird's Eye view of St. Joseph's, looking northwest, 1940s.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)


Looking northeast, 1950s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

stjosephs_color_1960s.jpg

St. Joseph's, 1965.


St. Joseph's Annex, 1970s

(Courtesy Duke University)

Along with the remainder of Hayti, St. Joseph's was slated to be demolished by Urban Renewal. The congregation moved south on Fayetteville St. to their present location: 2521 Fayetteville St.


1970s view of the front of St. Joseph's.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Efforts to save the structure catalyzed the formation of the St. Joseph's Historic Foundation, incorporated in 1975 "with the intention of preserving the embellished old sanctuary and adapting it for cultural and civic events." St. Joseph's was placed on the National Register in August, 1976, and demolition was averted. The building hosted concerts and events "everybody from jazz saxophonist/ 'Round Midnight' star Dexter Gordon to local punk bands in the 1970s, '80s and '90s."

In 1996, voters approved million in bond money to revitalize the old church structure as a true performance hall, attached to the Hayti Heritage Center, which documents and celebrates the city's African-American history.

The building closed in fall 1999 for a facelift and restoration, with a design by Durham's Freelon Group. The slate roof was removed, and the trusses supporting the ceiling were removed and restored. A middle section was added to the upper balcony, giving the restored sanctuary a new capacity of 450 people. The building reopened in 2001.


Original St. Joseph's AME / Hayti Heritage Center, 09.04.08
09.04.08


The spire/vévé
10.05.08


Original St. Joseph's AME / Hayti Heritage Center, looking southwest, 10.05.08

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35.985792 -78.897888

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BILTMORE HOTEL/GRILL/DRUGSTORE

330-332
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1929
/ Demolished in
1977
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
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,

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In tours

Last updated

  • Tue, 01/14/2014 - 9:05pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 28.716" N, 78° 53' 53.3904" W

Comments

330-332
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1929
/ Demolished in
1977
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 


Looking southeast at the Regal Theater and the Biltmore, 1946
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Although Dorothy Phelps' book opines the the Biltmore Hotel was built in 1923 by Dr. Clyde Donnell, it seems likely, based on the city directories, that the hotel was built in ~1929. Dr. Donnell's 1951 biography makes copious mention of his various endeavors, but no mention of the Biltmore - an unlikely omission. So the beginnings of the Biltmore are a bit unclear, but it was decidedly the pre-eminent hotel in Hayti, and in the segregated era, one of the pre-eminent hotels catering to African-Americans in the southeast.


Biltmore Hotel, likely 1930s.
(Courtesy John Schelp)

Another version of this postcard has writing on the right side of the card which reads:

"The Biltmore Hotel, Durham, NC. Half block from Union Station. America's Finest Colored Hotel. All out side [sic] rooms. Running hot and cold water in each room. The last word in comfort. 'Do It the Biltmore Way'. Atlas Barbee, Manager."

Ms. Phelps describes the typical scene at the Biltmore:

"Artists, educators, and just visitors who came to see the 'big name bands' and Hayti would stay at this 30 room hotel when they came to town. 'It was the only such facility opened to Negroes,' according to Amelia Thorpe. 'Children would gather near the Biltmore to gape at the buses and famous people.'"

The Biltmore featured a drugstore and grill/coffee shop on the ground floor (the drugstore to the left when facing the front of the building, and the grill/coffee shop to the right.)


Biltmore, Regal Theater, and the Donut Shop, 1940s.

In the 1940s, the hotel was managed by Lathrop 'Lath' Alston and James Baylor; in 1944, Lath Alston purchased the hotel with Pedro Ward, who ran the dining room. Alston described the hotel as:

"one of the largest institutions of its kind in the South, catering exclusively to Negro patrons. It has twenty rooms with ample baths, a dining room serving an unexcelled cuisine and is operated on the European plan. Mr. Alston is a well and favorably known promoter of musicals, bands, etc. He enjoys a reputation as one of the big-time dance promoters in the South."
(I tend to believe the 20 room description rather than the 30 room further above.)

Below, an excerpt from "Negro Durham Marches On" about the Biltmore - 1949.

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

And a brief bit of film on East Pettigrew, looking west towards the Biltmore ~1947.

York Garrett was running the Biltmore Drugstore by the 1940s, which was renamed "Garrett's Biltmore Drugstore."


Looking southwest, 1950s.

Hayti began to fade over the course of the 1950s; the progressive end of segregation meant less exclusive patronage of Hayti stores and businesses, and visitors to town could stay at hotels outside of Hayti. The general economic flight of the 1960s affected the African-American community as well as the white community. Those with means to do so began to move to suburban areas.

The language to describe Hayti in the 1950s is remarkably similar to the language used to describe structures in our historic neighborhoods today - 'blighted' 'obsolete' structures. The "What Is Urban Renewal?" public information pamphlet from ~1960 describes urban renewal as follows:

"1) The use of code enforcement and public improvements in order to prevent good areas from becoming blighted. 2) The removal of spots of blight and the rehabilitation of structures that can be saved. 3) The clearance and redevelopment of slum areas that cannot be saved."

Should sound familiar to those who follow the policies of our city administration.

Views of Hayti from the 1960s do not show a thriving area, but rather an area that was beginning to see economic difficulty - beautiful structures like the Biltmore looking more faded than fashionable.


Looking west on East Pettigrew Street, late 1960s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Structures to the east of Ramsey Street were torn down by the late 1960s. The Biltmore and surrounding buildings survived into the 1970s.


Biltmore and surrounding structures, early 1970s.

The use of the Biltmore seems to have, um, declined a bit by the 1970s. To recount the story one local told me.

"In the early 1970s, I was working to erect the radio tower for WAFR radio in a building two doors down from the Biltmore [ed note: WAFR was in the Donut Shop building]. We got permission from Dr. Garrett to tie our tower guy wire to the roof of the Biltmore Hotel."

"We went into the hotel and went upstairs - and it became very clear that we were in a whorehouse. Prostitutes, all white, were on the beds of the rooms, wearing only negligées, and there were several very large Black men who were looking at us as if to say 'what the hell are you doing here?'"

"I was 23 years old, and had never encountered anything like this before. We had to go back every day for two weeks and go through the rooms to get to the roof ladder, which was in the closet of one of the rooms."

Soon the Regal and the Donut shop buildings had been demolished, and the Biltmore was one of a few survivors.


Mid-1970s view of the Biltmore. The drugstore remains open while the hotel is boarded up.

1977 (Photo by George Pyne via Milo Pyne)


January 1977 view of the Biltmore from across the railroad tracks. Joel Kostyu wrote, in a rather odd passage accompanying this picture

"Biltmore Hotel reflects the change in the integrated south. Separate black hotels are no longer needed, so the old Biltmore will be demolished. It is reported that it will be torn down brick by brick and that these bricks will be cleaned by unemployed youth and resold." (From "Durham: a Pictorial History" by J. Kostyu)

Great. Wonder how that worked out?

The Biltmore was torn down in 1977. The spot has been some form of parking lot since that time.


Looking south at the site of the Biltmore, 09.04.08. The building extended from approximately the middle of the driveway left to the fire hydrant (notice the fire hydrant in the historical photos.)
 

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REGAL THEATER

324-328
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1927
/ Modified in
~1940s
/ Demolished in
~1975
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 06/11/2014 - 10:01pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 29.094" N, 78° 53' 53.8692" W

Comments

324-328
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1927
/ Modified in
~1940s
/ Demolished in
~1975
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


Regal Theater, late 1930s or early 1940s.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The Regal Theater was built in 1927 by George Washington Logan - providing a variety of entertainment, including musical performances by the likes of Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and others. By the 1930s, it seems that the theater had become predominantly a movie theater.


MGM Lion on a tour stop in front of the Regal, 1931.


MGM Lion on a tour stop in front of the Regal, 1931.


The Biltmore Hotel, Regal Theater, and Donut Shop, 1940s. The Regal has been remodeled to include two storefronts as well. The left storefront housed the Regal Barber Shop.


The Regal Theater at night, 1947.


The Regal Interior.


Regal Theater - 1940s.

Below, an excerpt from "Negro Durham Marches On" - 1949.

The later life of the Regal is a bit hard to piece together, as the city directories paint a fairly confusing picture. It does appear that the Regal existed in some form until at least 1968 - whether at this location or down the street.

This location housed the "Your Own Thing Theater" beginning in July 1969.

Photo from Carolina Times, July 26, 1969. Caption reads: "Early arrivals of 'first nighters' at the gala opening of 'Your Own Thing,' Durham's first and only theater devoted exclusively to the revival and presentation of the arts of black people."

Ervin L. of radio station WSRC was master of ceremonies at the opening night of Your Own Thing Theater.

An article in the July 26, 1969, Carolina Times covered the theater's opening:

The July 16 opening of the former Regal Theater, this time with a new name, new purposes, and under new management, marked the beginning of what promises to offer excitingly different entertainment for theater goers of Durham and the surrounding community. "Your Own Thing," as the new theater is called, opened last Wednesday evening to an enthusiastic audience which included fans ranging in age from "eight to eighty." The entertainment bill featured many local musicians including the "Lee Darvis" combo, as well as the famous Donald Bird modern jazz group imported from New York City, especially for the theater’s premier opening...

According to Miss Karen E. Rux, a 1969 graduate of North Carolina Central University and the director of "Your Own Thing Theater," the presentation marked the beginning effort to bring to the Durham community, a spirited revival of the black arts which have been existing somewhat "incognito."...

Tentative plans include daily classes, workshops, all phases of dramatic productions, and films to be shown at 1, 3, and 7 p.m. The theater will be run for a year on present funds received through an agency of O.E.O. Although the present building has been made available until urban renewal necessitates its razing, long range plans hope for the construction of a new theater building...

 

The theater, notably, was bombed on June 22, 1970.


Theater after bombing, 06.22.70


Theater after bombing, 06.22.70

The building appears to have been torn down by ~1975. The site has been some form of parking lot since that time.


Site of the Regal Theater, looking south from the railroad tracks, 08.20.08. The theater would have been located on part of the driveway and part of the landscaping to the right of the driveway.

35.991415,-78.898297

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DONUT SHOP

336
,
Durham
NC
/ Demolished in
mid-1970s
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 07/23/2011 - 7:46pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 29.3388" N, 78° 53' 54.2184" W

Comments

336
,
Durham
NC
/ Demolished in
mid-1970s
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The building at 336 East Pettigrew Street was the location of "The Donut Shop" (also called "The Do-Nut Shop") - a popular mid-20th century restaurant and meeting place for the Hayti community. The restaurant was founded in 1946 by W.G. Pearson, II and his wife, Jessie Logan after Pearson returned to Durham from service in World War II. Per a 1951 writeup, the restaurant was "hailed as 'The South's Finest Eating Establishment'." The restaurant featured private dining rooms and a banquet room, known as "The Jade Room."


The Donut Shop, rightmost of the three buildings.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Interior of the Donut Shop, 1950s.

Below, an excerpt from "Negro Durham Marches On" about the Donut Shop, 1949.


Looking south from E. Pettigrew St., 1950s.

It isn't clear when the Donut Shop, as a business, closed. By 1971, the upper floors were home to WAFR, an African-American-oriented public radio station. A fascinating June 1973 article in Ebony profiled the station as a "strong, unifying force in Durham's black [sic] community...."

The building appears to have been torn down in the mid-1970s. It has been some form of parking lot since that time.


Looking southwest from the same vantage point as the three building shot above, 09.20.07. The Donut Shop would be approximately behind the telephone pole.

Below, a video I made by superimposing an aerial view of Hayti in 1959 on 2007 satellite imagery and fading the 1959 aerial in and out.


35.991483,-78.898394

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102-104 WEST MAIN ST. - THE ANGIER CORNER

102-104
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1880-1895
/ Demolished in
1970
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 09/14/2011 - 6:35pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 42.846" N, 78° 54' 2.5308" W

Comments

102-104
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1880-1895
/ Demolished in
1970
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

The intersection of Main St. and Mangum St. could be considered the center of Durham. Except for the rather odd Chapel Hill St., Main St. forms the dividing line between "North" and "South" streets, and Mangum St. the dividing line between "East" and "West" streets.

It is at this intersection that Durham as a mercantile entity began, perhaps before "Durham" per se. Main St. through downtown was, prior to the Civil War, a part of the Raleigh Road - connecting Raleigh with Hillsborough (along the general east to west path of US 70, Angier Ave, Ramseur, Main St., Hillsborough Rd., US. 70.) By the time the railroad depot was built at the current intersection of Corcoran St. and the railroad, there was one store in Durham proper - an establishment at the current northwest corner of Mangum and Main Sts., operated by M.A. Angier. This store was, appropriately enough, called Angier's General Store, and the corner Angier's Corner. It was also the location of the first post office in Durham (inside the store) when it was moved from Prattsburg (which was near Fayettville Rd. and Ramseur.)

After the Civil War, other stores were opened, and two saloons occupied the eastern corners of Mangum St. and Main. In 1878, Eugene Morehead, son of Governor John M. Morehead (from whose name the Morehead Scholarship program at UNC derives) came to Durham as an agent of the Department of Internal Revenue, but soon began his own bank, the first bank in Durham, called the Morehead Bank.

Above, the northwest corner of Main St. and Mangum St., 1884. Angier's General Store is on the right, the Morehead Bank on the left.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Morehead soon partnered with Gerald Watts to run the bank, and Gerald's son George Watts would, with Morehead, establish "Morehead Hill" (because Morehead won the coin toss) around 1881. In 1889, Eugene Morehead died, and the bank became the Morehead Banking Company, with William Willard as president.

By the 1890s, the wood frame structures along Main St. were being replaced with brick structures. New storefronts were constructed at the northwest corner of Main and Mangum.
The Morehead Banking Company moved to 105 East Main St. where in 1905, it would become the Citizens Bank.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Above, West Main Street, looking west from Mangum St. in 1905. The building on the left (south) side of the street is the present location of the Kress Building. The first two buildings on the right side were located at the former site of Angier's store and the Morehead Bank. These buildings would be 102-104 and 106-110 West Main, respectively.

By 1899 102 West Main was occupied by the Haywood King drugstore.


The interior of the drugstore, likely 1910s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1906, King sold his interest in the drugstore to DL Boone, and the drugstore became Haywood-Boone. The storefronts at 104, 106, 108, and 110 West Main were occupied by a variety of businesses, for instance, 104 by the Markaham-Rogers clothing store, 110 by Snider-Fletcher Jewelers

It appears that when the fire of 1914 decimated the north side of the 100 block of West Main St., these buildings survived. While every other building in the block was replaced, the facades of these buildings appear to quite similar (102-104 has been altered on the front somewhat, but is the same building).


Above, after the fire of 1914. 106-110 West Main is at the right edge of the frame, 102-104 is not visible.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


Above, the view northwest from Mangum St., 1930s (after 1933).
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1937, Haywood and Boone sold this store to Walgreens, and moved to Mangum, Parrish, and Orange Streets. Walgreens operated here throughout the mid-20th century. Per John Schelp, who interviewed John Loudermilk, this was the store where Loudermilk picked up a candy bar (for his East Durham girlfriend - there evidently were a few) and flowers were on sale - inspiring him to write the song "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" in 1956.


Looking west from the 100 block of East Main, ~1960.
(Courtesy John Schelp)


West Main from Mangum St., 1962.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)


The Walgreens store in 1963, looking northwest from Main and Mangum.

The stores at 106-110 West Main were beginning to look rather vacant by 1966.


106-110 West Main in 1966.

These buildings were taken around 1970 by the city as part of the Federal Urban Renewal program (along with the building behind 102-104 West Main on Parrish, to be profiled soon). They sat vacant for some time...


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

... before being torn down in the early 1970s.

Sometime after this, the vacant lots were landscaped as park space, which it remains today.

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CENTER THEATER

313
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Demolished in
1967
Architectural style: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Wed, 11/07/2012 - 9:15pm by gary

Location

United States
35° 59' 49.7184" N, 78° 54' 3.3588" W
US

Comments

313
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Demolished in
1967
Architectural style: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

The Center Theater replaced half of an earlier structure, which half was replaced again 29 years later - moving from Mansard to Modern to Launch Vehicle.

The building at 313-315 East Chapel Hill Street was constructed around 1907 as the Corcoran Hotel, but did not survive for long due to stiff competition from the other downtown hotels. It became Mercy Hosptial, then the Durham Business School.


From the Washington Duke Hotel, looking northeast, likely mid-1920s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives, Wyatt Dixon Collection)


From the corner of Corcoran and East Chapel Hill St., looking northeast. Probably a little bit later than the above picture, but before 1934, when the Post Office was built.
(Courtesy Duke Archives, Wyatt Dixon Collection)

The entrance

(Courtesy Duke Archives, Wyatt Dixon Collection)

The business school appears to have closed by the 1930s. The "Tip-Top Tavern" was located on the first floor during this era.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

As seen from the east, looking west from Rigsbee, mid-1930s.

(Courtesy University of North Carolina / North Carolina Collection)

In the 1938, the 313 half of the building was torn down and replaced with a art deco/moderne movie theater known as the Center Theatre, built by general contractor George W. Kane.


Looking east, Foster St. in the foreground. The Center Theater is under construction, and 315 E. Chapel Hill perists to its east.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Below, the completed Center Theater and 315 East Chapel Hill, 1940. This is the only picture I've seen with a complete Center Theater and an unmodified 315 East Chapel Hill.


(Courtesy Library of Congress)

Below, a closer picture of the Center from about 1948, going by the movie title.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In 1951, 315 East Chapel Hill St. was 'modernized' by removing the mansard roof, parging the exterior of the building, replacing the windows, and other changes that fundamentally changed the character of the building.

Above - being 'updated' for the demanding standards of the 1950s, 02.22.51
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Above, the Center Theater and 315 E. Chapel Hill from the Washington Duke Hotel, looking northeast, mid-1950s
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Like all downtown movie theaters, the Center was segregated.  As a result, it was a focus of civil rights protests, like the one pictured below.


Looking east, 03.10.61
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Looking east, 03.10.61
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

By the mid-1960s, this incarnation of the Center Theater was reaching the end of its lifespan, short of 30 years old. I'm not sure if it ever de-segregated at this location.


(Courtesy The Herald Sun)

Above and below, the Center Theatre around 1965, again by the movie titles, looking northeast from Corcoran, near Chapel Hill St.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

centertheater_fromccb_1960s.jpg

By 1966, the Center theater moved to Lakewood Shopping Center. The building was sold to the next-door neighbor, Home Savings and Loan, which demolished the theater.


Demolishing the theater, looking north, 01.09.67
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


Demolishing the theater, looking south, 03.30.67
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

centertheaterdemo_color.jpg


Demolishing the theater, looking northeast, 03.30.67
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The building which replaced it, the Home Savings Bank, is what you get when you combine modernism with whimsical.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


The Home Savings and Loan Building, 01.30.69
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

The same building today, now the Mutual Community Savings Bank

While I feel like I should dislike this building because of unclear openings for doors and windows, on most days I can't help but like it. Unlike a lot of stolid modernism, this just seems sort of irrepressibly geeky, in that Revenge of the Nerds/Napoleon Dynamite kind of way.

The building immediately to the east of the bank remains the original 315 East Chapel Hill St., albeit radically transformed. Visible around the window frames is brick, underneath the parged concrete exterior (on the sides.) Not much other clue to its origins, except for the general size and massing (minus the mansard roof.)

Looking northwest from East Chapel Hill St., 2007.

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CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL / DURHAM HIGH SCHOOL / DURHAM SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

401
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1922
/ Modified in
1995
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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  • Fri, 05/23/2014 - 7:56am by gary

Location

36° 0' 11.6064" N, 78° 54' 22.8276" W

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401
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1922
/ Modified in
1995
Architect/Designers: 
,
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

Durham High School

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Brodie Duke's house, 1883.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Brodie Duke, the eldest of Washington Duke's children, was the first of the Duke clan to recognize the potential of Durham in expanding tobacco production and transport.

Brodie was born in 1846, the second child of Washington Duke and Mary Caroline Clinton. His mother died when he was 1. Washington Duke remarried, to Artelia Roney and had 3 children, Mary, Ben and James. In 1858, both the eldest child, Sidney, and Artelia died.

Brodie thus became the oldest surviving child, and the only surviving child of his mother. He served - possibly impressed into service - as a scrawny youth in the Confederacy, stationed at the Confederate prison in Salisbury, NC. At the end of the war, he tried farming shares with his uncle William Duke, as Washington Duke and his remaining children began to create their own small manufacturing venture.

Always a bit of an outsider to the machinations of the rest of the Duke family, Brodie struck out on his own from his father's business. Brodie was the first of the Dukes to move to Durham; he purchased a frame building on Main Street to set up his own business in 1869. He lived upstairs and manufactured tobacco downstairs, calling his brands "Semper Idem" and developing the soon to be famous "Duke of Durham." It was evidently during this time that he first succumbed to what would become a lifelong battle with alcoholism.

In 1874, the remainder of the Dukes saw the opportunity presented by Durham - Washington Duke sold his farm and moved to Durham, building a frame tobacco manufacturing building on West Main St. - this building had separate partitions - one for Brodie Duke's business, and the other for Washington Duke's - although they initially had a 'mutual assistance' arrangement where each would sell the other's products. Brodie built his own tobacco warehouse - located at present-day Liggett and Corporation Streets around 1878. Around this same time, he joined with his father and the other sons to form W. Duke and Sons Tobacco Co. Sometime during 1870s, Brodie married his first wife, Martha McMannen, daughter of John McMannen (who developed the houses on McMannen Street.) Brodie Duke, although he owned shares in W. Duke and Sons, was not engaged in the day to day operations of the business - I get the feeling that the remainder of the family preferred it that way.

Brodie, perhaps by virtue of being first on the Durham scene, but perhaps because he didn't remain as completely engaged in building a tobacco empire as his father and two half-brothers, Ben and Buck, accumulated a great deal of land on the west side of Durham, including most of what would become Trinity Park. He built his own estate on a 15 acre plot of land sometime prior to 1883, just one block west of his tobacco factory. The street we now know as "Duke St." is so named because it initially led to (and ended at) his house and land.

He also built mercantile establishments and office buildings downtown - which did not fare so well. The first, near Main and Church Sts., was destroyed in a large Durham fire in 1881. Another, the five story brick office builing called the "Brodie Duke Building" in the 100 block of West Main St., was where a disastrous 1914 fire started that destroyed the entire block.

Brodie's life seemed to be a series of such advancements and reversals - he bought the Bennett Place in 1890 and built a shell around the outside to try to preserve it - so that he could try to sell it to the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. He had no takers. He invested heavily in cotton textiles- including the Commonwealth Cotton Company and in establishing the Pearl Cotton Mill just northeast of his estate in 1892.

In 1891-2 he traveled to Illinois to receive the "Keeley Cure" - for alcoholism - and returned ostensibly sober. By 1893, he had declared bankruptcy, the mills were taken over by his brother Ben, and Brodie fell back into a pattern of "indulging in whiskey and women."

However, this did not stem his contributions to the development of much of what we think of as 'historic Durham' today. Having amassed large quantities of land extending from Trinity College through present-day Old North Durham and Duke Park (one source notes his acquisition of "150 acres at an acre",) Duke awaited the establishment of a successful streetcar system to develop his land. The planned trolley extension into future Trinity Park, known as the Dummy Street Railway, failed before it could get off the ground. However, after Richard Wright successfully started the Durham Light and Traction Company in 1901, Duke began subdividing land and selling off parcels in Trinity Park and North Durham. Duke initially named the streets in Trinity such that Gregson St. was named "Hated St." Thus, his antipathy for George Watts - who as a strict Presbyterian no doubt disapproved greatly of Brodie Duke's lifestyle - was expressed each time a person read a map or traveled east-west. The streets would read (depending on the direction of travel) "Duke - Hated - Watts".


1901 plat map of Trinity Park, showing Duke's house and "Hated Street."
(Many thanks to HW for sending this along)

Brodie was divorced from his second wife by 1904 (a quite unusual occurrence at the time,) and while on a multi-day bender in New York City during his younger brother Buck Duke's wedding, ended up married to his third wife (to whom he had also given several promissory notes and various prenuptial promises- for how much cash isn't stated.) The Duke family lawyers obtained a warrant for Brodie's commitment to a sanitarium, pleading a temporary insanity due to intoxication. He managed to successfully sue for divorce on the grounds that he had no recollection of the series of events. The brothers were not at all close after Brodie's 'night(s) in New York' and subsequent events.

Brodie had to put his wealth in the care of trustees during this event, and appears to have laid just a bit lower over the next several years. Despite his wayward ways, he seemed to evince some of the same streak of civic and educational generosity that possessed the remainder of his family. In 1886, he had donated the land for the Main Street Methodist Church. In 1910, Duke donated two lots of land for the King's Daughters Home on Buchanan Blvd. with a 0 "nest egg", and evidently named the intersecting street Gloria, "because of the glory of being able to aid such a cause" - that cause being the the provision of shelter and care to elderly women. He also donated the land that became (Brodie) Duke Park.

Also in 1910, Brodie married his fourth wife, Wylanta Rochelle. As Robert Durden puts it, Duke would pass by the Rochelle family home on his walk downtown and stop by the front porch to argue with the Rochelle patriarch, who was a Democrat (Brodie, like all the Dukes, was a staunch Republican - although these were quite different categories than present-day.) The fact that Wylanta Rochelle was 40 years his junior was probably of less concern to the rest of the Duke family than simply ensuring that the groom (and bride) had actually made a sober commitment.

BLDuke+Wife_Cad_1912.jpg
Wylanta Rochelle and Brodie Duke in the back of his Cadillac, 1912.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

He died on February 2, 1919; per Robert Durden in "The Dukes of Durham", Brodie died unreconciled with his half-brothers, and neither attended his funeral, a ceremony held in his home - although Ben Duke was quite ill at the time.

The city high school (for whites) on Morris St. had become quite crowded, and the availability of Duke's land presented the opportunity to develop a new high school with ample facilities.

 

In 1922, construction was completed on the new high school building, built just to the north of Brodie Duke's former house. The school was designed by Milburn & Heister, a firm responsible for many of Durham's most impressive civic buildings; the company was engaged at the same time in transforming the former high school into a new City Hall.

(Photos from the DHS Messenger)

The Durham High School Messenger wrote in 1923:

"THE year 1923 will forever be assocjated with the 'new building.' Few of us can remember when a new high school building was not discussed but it has been - the good fortune of the present class to see that discussion gloriously materialized. The student body was transferred to the new high school building November 20, 1922 and of the impressions associated with that memorable day perhaps Senior gratitude and pride were -most conspicuous.

We were so delighted at the provision which has been made for our work and our play in this, a new domain. To have one's own locker! and an honest- to-goodness library; and just to drift into a modern cafeteria provided for us . alone; a -chameleon-like auditorium, first an auditorium, then a gymnasium, and . ,. then neither but a theater where school plays could at last be satisfactorily pro- duced; last but not least, a sure-enough swimming pool.

The class of '23 especially thanks the school board for enabling it to graduate from the most modern high school in North Carolina." ..

Pictures of the brand new school below, all from the 1923 Durham Messsenger, via the DigitalNC project.

The area around the school continued to grow from semi-rural to urban - with industry to the south and east and residential to the north and west.


The completed Central High School (soon known as Durham High) and Brodie Duke's house, 1926.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


Postcard of Durham High School
(Courtesy John Schelp)

1924 (from the Durham High School Messenger, via Milo Pyne)

By 1928, a newly centralized Junior High School, named for Julian Carr, was completed at the southern extent of Duke's former estate, facing Morgan Street. The school was designed by George W. Carr.


Julian Carr Junior High, 1930.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


Looking west-northwest from downtown at the completed Junior High, High School, and Brodie Duke's house.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection / Digital Durham)

Duke's house remained on the school site for at least 6-7 years after construction of the high school. There was evidently a large fish pond in back of the house that the students would mine for biology class specimens. Likely sometime around 1930, the former house was torn down and a home economics building was constructed near its former location.


Looking northwest across the Liggett-Myers complex to the Carr Junior High and Central High School, ~1930. The Brodie Duke house may still be standing in this picture - I can't decide.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


A view of the high school from near Trinity Avenue, date unknown, but likely mid-1930s to 1940. A bit of the home ec building is visible at the left edge of the frame. Duke's house is certainly gone by this time.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Below, a ~4 minute excerpt from H. Lee Waters' films of Durham, showing the high school and junior high, lots of student shots, and some interesting views of the surrounding streetscape - late 1930s or 1940.

(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

A gymnasium was added to the north end of the campus sometime in the 1940s.


Looking south from ~ W. Trinity Avenue at the full extent of the high school and junior high campus - the gymnasium is at the northeast corner of the campus - early 1950s.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper

Below, Carr Junior High in the 1950s.

Carr Junior High, 1950s, looking northwest.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper

In 1953, the home ec building was evidently moved to make way for a new auditorium building. I don't think the home ec building exists anymore (unless it's hidden behind some building and I missed it.) So I presume that although it was moved, it was later torn down.


Preparing to move the home ec building, 06.30.53.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper

The Durham city schools began a slow, slow march to integration by admitting the first African-American students as transfers to Durham High and Carr Junior High in 1959. The process was a transfer policy - in which students could apply for transfer to other schools, but race could supposedly not be used as a deciding factor - rather than a true integration policy. Can you imagine how brave this first handful of students must have been to enter previously all-white schools?

The resistance of the school board to desegregation slowly ebbed over the 1960s, as the trickle of transfers became a stream. Per Jean Anderson, white flight and a sudden proliferation of private/parochial schools pushed the shift even further, such that when court-ordered integration finally occurred in 1970-71, the district's population was majority African-American.

Carr Junior High closed in 1975, and that building became part of Durham High. In 1993, Durham High School ceased to exist as a traditional high school, and in 1995 re-opened as a magnet school, Durham School of the Arts, graduating its first senior class in 2000.


The former Carr Junior High, looking north, 12.09.07. (Photo by Gary Kueber)


The former Durham High School, looking west, 12.09.07. (Photo by Gary Kueber)


Area of Brodie Duke's House, 05.25.08 (Photo by Gary Kueber)


The old gymnasium at the northeast corner of the campus, looking southwest, 12.09.07. (Photo by Gary Kueber)
 

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