1113-1117 Broad Street (1131-1139 Broad)

36.016557, -78.919491

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1113-1117 Broad, late 1950s.
(Courtesy Barry Norman)

1113 Broad St. was a frame commercial structure built in the 1920 as Callahan's Drug Store. The Hospital Barber Shop shared space with Callahan's by the 1930s. By 1941, 1113 housed The Owl - which is listed as a "confrs" (confectioners.) I'm not sure if this means pastries or candies or both - perhaps someone can enlighten me.

In the mid-1940s, what is now 1115-1117 Broad was built adjacent to 1113. Oddly, the original address was 1131-1139 Broad, despite the fact that it was built mid-block, with lower number (1123) to the north. I was quite confused by the city directories for awhile.

1131 housed Moon's Beauty Salon and Gift Shop, 1135-7 the Broadway Food Center grocery, and 1139 the Broad St. Drug Company in 1948.

In 1952, 1113 had become The Owl confectioners and Repair Shop, a natural combination. 1131 still housed Moon's beauty salon, and Broad St. Drug Co. had taken over 1135-7. Glenn-Crabtree Hardware Co. was located at 1139.

By 1960, 1113, the ever-pliable Owl, had transformed into a record shop and beer shop. By 1965, it became Maitland's Top Hat Tavern. The Rolling Pin Bake Shop was located at 1115. 1137 housed the Broad Street Sport Shop, a pool hall.

By 1970, 1117 (1135) had become the Broad Street Appliance Center, and 1119 (1137) still housed the Broad Street Sport Shop.

In 1975, 1115 was H&R Block, 1117 was Kirby Distributing, and 1119 the Broad Street Sport Shop.

Looking north, 1988.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

In 1988, it appears the Top Hat Tavern was torn down. In 1990, the Broad Street Sport Shop became known as the Green Room, after being featured in the movie "Bull Durham," shot in ~1987.

As an aside, Durham has a pool hall culture/history that is largely forgotten at this point. I've hit on a few of these locations: The Union Sport Shop, the Duke Sport Shop, the Brass Rail, the Midway Sport Shop, Murray's Sport Shop, and I'm sure a multitude of others that I'm unaware of . A correspondent who went to Duke in the 1960s but spent more time in Durham becoming a serious pool player passed along these memories of the Duke Sport Shop at Five Points, and some commentary on the Broad Street Sport Shop:

"I spent many hundreds of hours in the Duke Sport Shop, but by the time I started playing pool (early 1965) it was right on West Main, just west of Five Points on the north side of the street. Tons of memories of that place:

---the catcalls you got from the peanut gallery every time you walked by with a woman, or if you were part of an anti-war march. They'd walk right up to the door and let you hear it loud and clear----but they never mentioned it later when you came in to play.
---the clock on the wall that ran backwards
---an old Mynah Bird who greeted the passage of about every ten seconds with a screeching cry of "YOUR MAMMY!!" The players got totally used to it after a while.
---the practice of salting the opening of your beer can to take away the tinny taste; and the habit of stuffing peanuts into the mouth of your Coke bottle to act as a filter of something or other (I never quite figured that one out)
---a rack "boy" who was actually a one armed man in his late 50's who was a dead ringer for Nikita Khrushchev. I still don't know how he could rack the balls so tightly with one hand.
---a local hustler named Tank, who was a Drew Carey lookalike who beat just about everybody but was rumored to cry at times if a road player cleaned him out
---the tobacco farmers who would blow much of the money they'd just made during the auction season, both at the Duke Sport Shop and at the Brass Rail
---and the highlight (to me) of the place, which was maybe the best snooker table in existence, 5 ft x 10 ft with pockets tight as a drum, and a nearly permanent five dollar ring game that anyone could join. If you could run out on that table, you could run out on any table in the world."

"Nice to know that The Green Room is still around. Bull Durham had to have rescued that place from the graveyard, since when it was in its original location across the street in the mid-80's (I was there a few times in 1984-85) it was the sorriest pool room in Durham. Terrible equipment, mediocre players and no action at all. The only reason that they chose it was obviously because at the time the movie was made it was the only pool room left in Durham. It was comical to see how they made it out to be the sort of place that actually had ever had more than five people in there---that seldom happened in real life, at least not before the movie made it into a minor tourist attraction."



In 1992, the Green Room moved across the street to 1108 Broad, where it remains a fixture as the last real pool hall in Durham.

1113 housed Altered Image Beauty Salon, 1115 the Mattress Outlet, 1117 "Special Flowers", 1117 1/2 Flippers Bar and Grill.

The entire span is owned by the adjacent Clements Funeral Home.

Looking northwest, 07.26.09

You've got me as to whether there are actually any operating businesses in here - it's incredible how moribund these storefronts are compared to the vibrant uses across the street. I don't think I'm assuming too much to think that Clements is only into this for the land/potential parking - and isn't exactly motivated to invest money to improve the appearance of these storefronts or attract interesting tenants. I'm beginning to think that there is some rule in effect in Durham - no active storefront can exist directly across the street from another active storefront. Except at Main 'Street' at Southpoint, of course.

I mentioned the waste of surface parking endemic to funeral homes and churches yesterday, and how damaging this was to the urban environment. We generally struggle with our addiction to immediately available and proximate parking in the urban environment as it is, but these high volume, low-duration uses are particularly problematic. Because parking is primarily a privately-delivered amenity, we end up with each private entity trying to solve its own parking problem, which is an inefficient use of land.

The best the public sector can typically do in practice is to eliminate ordinances mandating required parking, which is helpful in not oversizing private parking beyond what that business demands, but does little to size neighborhood/district parking for total neighborhood/district demand. Beyond publicly-provided parking, how do you get private entities to share their parking? It's unlikely that anyone is going to pay them for it unless land becomes expensive enough that each entity can't go around turning the lot next to them into surface parking.

I don't have a clear answer for this - we're terribly demanding of parking here, in my opinion. I can never believe complaints about having to parallel park and walk a block or two. If you're willing to do that, you'll never have too much trouble parking around Durham, in my experience. If everyone's parking would shrink by 40% at the same time, we'd all be fine, but individual businesses don't dare shrink their available parking too much, lest someone drive down the street to the competing Big Swath O' Asphalt Store.

I'd like to see some kind of incentive system for reducing parking - property tax reduction for ratios less than x/square feet or unit - or something similar. And perhaps entities that have a high probability for shared use - churches, schools, funeral homes, etc. - could trigger a shared use mandate of some kind. Ideas?


In November-December 2010, these buildings were demolished to better serve the needs of the deceased.

1113-1117 Broad, 01.09.11



Altered Image moved to 600 Foster Street in early 2009. They tell me that they've been having their best year ever since moving. (Disclosure: I get my hair cut there.)

I can honestly say that the Green Room has been, over the years, a place I spent some time. The interior was never in the best of shape, but they were the only bar in Durham to serve Pabst for a long time, and on any given night there is the most eclectic mix of people you could ever want to see assembled in one place.

Those store fronts always look 1/2 way through a renovation project....but the job never ends....and no one ever moves in.

Was that older location for the Green Room really used in Bull Durham? The rooms don't look the same in comparison...

The main bar scene (where Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) gets punched by Ebby "Nuke" Laloosh (Tim Robbins)) was filmed in a bar in LA. Later in the film there's a montage sequence where they show a number of scenes in and around Durham and a shot of the original Green Room is in that montage.

The Owl was a music store they sold records and sheet music. Next door was the Rolling Pin Bakery had the best pastries.

Ah yes, where he's sitting against the wall in one of those "typical Green Room Seats." Thanks for clearing that up. I think many if not most people think the scene where Costner gets punched is at the Green Room.

OK so if the Top Hat was torn down in 1988, why was it in the pic taken in 1990?

My error. Thanks.

The Broad Street Sports Shop was closed and had just been sold to Joe Wilson when it was used for the filming of Bull Durham. Joe's father was "Blackie" Wilson, who had a barber shop on Broad Street. Joe took over the pool hall, cleaned it up, recovered the tables, and made it a place where everyone felt welcome (even women, like me...) without losing the history of the place.
Tank O'Brien was a wonderful man and a regular at the Green Room. He passed away a few years ago.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The person you mentioned is Tank O'Briant. I just had a frigid adult beverage with him about a week ago. I will tell him, when I see him, that he is looking good for a person that passed away a few years ago. I think you may have mistaken him for Harold Caldwell, another player in the area who passed away a number of years ago.

The Top Hat scared me when I was at NCSSM, but made me happy by the time I was a little bit older. Their sliders were to die for (in more ways than one). Beer was necessary, but sometimes they carded.

The Green Room was a remarkable place -- the first I'd ever seen where foot tracks had carved through two or three layers of linoleum around each table.

I went there once in 1990 with my then-girlfriend, my best friend and his girlfriend. It was fun for a while until I started worrying that the regulars were not happy we were there.

So it goes.

I didn't realize that -any- of the Durham Green Room had made it into Bull Durham.

It looks like the gutting of these buildings has started to take place.

Any updates on the gutting? I've not been over that way since Erik's posting ...

Erik said...It looks like the gutting of these buildings has started to take place.
December 13, 2010 10:20 AM

The buildings have been demolished from street-level up, but they've left the basements and cleaned up all the debris. The basement walls and support columns appear to be reinforced concrete. Perhaps they're planning to construct something on top rather than turn the lots into more surface parking.

I hope someone saved the bar and back wall of the TopHat. If I remember right, after over 30 years since I was in there, it was really nice.

Blackie's Barbershop on Guess Road was a fixture for me in the Sixties. Sam Daniels still cuts my hair. ~ Bob Link

This story is wrong!!!  My grandfather Louis E "Peanut" Whitman was the owner of Broad st Sport Shop.  It was the home of the snooker table, not the Duke shop.  It was brought over from England and was a real snooker table. No, it wasn't a fancy place b/c it was a real pool hall.  It wasn't open on Sunday's.  In the time I remember, it closed at 7pm b/c my papa owned it and that is as late as he wanted to work. End of story.  As a recovering alcoholic he did not serve alcohol but you could buy at the Top Hat and bring down. The mynah bird in your story was actually a parrot named Pete that I grew up with and he said a lot of things but really only liked my papa and my dad.  My papa had a way with animals and people for that matter.  It was like Durham, a gritty place, but it was a great place for real pool players.  The story is right, it was over by the late 80's. My papa was tired and almost blind from 30 plus years of glaucoma.  It is a tribute to the Duke eye center that he still had some vision. He was a decorated WWII Veteran and he did not tolerate racism, eliteism or hate of any kind.  The only people not welcome at Broad Street were anyone with association with the Klan.  Yes, the Klan was alive and well in Durham then.  He sold the pool hall to Joe for a song to help him out b/c my dad didn't want the place.  Joe was a Duke student when my papa met him and he got in over his head in a high dollar card game that was held around back and down the stairs in a hidden room.  My papa saved his but from getting killed and he worked off the debt in the pool room and they became good friends.  Even blind my papa could beat anyone in pool, anyone form anywhere and everyone knew it.  He worked for Joe at the Green room mainly just hanging around right up until the week he went to have surger for gastric cancer at the Durham VA.  He never left. He had a HUGE funeral at Clements and he will never be forgotten by those that really matter.  There is a great article written around 2002 in the Urban Hiker that gets it right, the article is titled "Rack em Larry" Larry is my dad and that is what Pete the parrot would say at the end of every game.  There is alson an article in the Durham Sun called "right here in river city" and that is from the eighties before my papa sold the place.  Both are very accurate.  When reading the newspaper article recently it was so accurate and vivid I was transported to the smell and feel of the place.  Get the real facts. 

Mary - sounds like you have some great information, but your reaction is mostly confusing and overwrought. It's a simple recollection from someone who went to Duke in the 1960s - perhaps some is wrong, perhaps some is right - if you can clarify, it's all good. If you could supply the articles you mention, (or better yet, type them in and contribute them to the site,) I'll happily get that information in here. It would be more helpful than just saying "get the real facts."



What happened after the buildings were demolished several years back? Is it a parking lot now?  Seems like quite a shame

The buildings were demolished from street-level up, but they left the basements.  Someone (Clements?) constructed a new building on the footprint several months ago, apparently retaining the basements.  The new building has "Clements" on a sign over the door, but I don't know if Clements is the owner or just the occupant.


Played many games of pool in Durham in the 60,s and 70,s. There was Carolina Sport Shop around the corner from Brass Rail . It was the largest one in Durham at the time and was home to the one armed "rack guy' .The Duke Sport Shop on Main was home to a very good snooker table , that was ruled by Larry Oakley , the best snooker player at the time . Lots of guys playing Keno for money was a hot item .The Broad st Sport Shop was a good place to play then as well , just smaller than the other two. Mike Wynne(sp?)was the all around best player then , mostly 9 ball and straight pool.

In the mid 1960s the Durham Model Raceway was here for a while. The first slot car racing tracks I had ever seen.

In the mid 1960s the Durham Model Raceway was here for a while. The first slot car racing tracks I had ever seen.

The duke sport shop was on Morgan street down at five points. Sometimes when I went downtown (in1965 and 1966) I would walk by the duke sport shop. Many times tank O’Brien was inside shooting pool. I remember the windows on that place were always filthy dirty. Tank was in my high school class at durham high. The word was never shoot pool with tank for my money. The last time I saw tank was at our class reunion in 2016, sadly he passed away recently. As for Harold Caldwell, the first time I saw him was in 1962 at Carr junior high. He was a big husky guy. The last time I saw him was in 1967 before I went overseas, at the village lanes bowling alley at wellons village. He had no way home so I took him there. I remember the slot car store on broad street where I ran a slot car but wasn’t any good. Another pool room in durham was the brass rail which was around the corner from the main post office on chapel hill street. Some general info.

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