115 West Main Street

35.995247, -78.901359

Year built
Year(s) modified
Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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The building at 115 West Main St. was the first location of the Kress department store in Durham. This highly detailed Queen Anne structure was likely built contemporaneously with 111 West Main (in 1893) given the similarity in ornament.

Looking east-southeast at the south side of the 100 block of West Main St., ~1913.
(Courtesy The University of North Carolina)

In 1933, Kress constructed a larger, Art Deco building at the southwest corner of Main and Mangum Streets and moved out of this structure.

115 West Main St., late 1930s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

I don't know when it received the flat-front treatment, but by 1965, Lerner Shops had covered/removed all of that ornament from the front of the building.


Early 1960s (Courtesy Louise Hall Collection, Durham County Library)

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

A few years later, the store had gone dark.

Early 1970s
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

It has been remodeled yet again, retaining the large window on the western part of the facade from the "Lerner Shops" days.

Hard to know if there is any semblance of the original facade still under that exterior. It clearly is the same old building from a view of the rear.

From left to right, 117, 115, and 111 West Main from the rear.

Maybe some adventuresome person will pull off the front of this someday and we'll get a look.


Gary, I'm nearly positive that Lerner's was still in business through at least 1972. I remember shopping there after I was old enough to drive myself downtown and shop. Belks, Lerner's, Baldwins, and another little shop called Stewart's were my regular hunting grounds. After Belks defected to SouthSquare, many of the smaller shops died.

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