117-121 East Parrish

35.995215, -78.899284

Year(s) modified
Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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117-119-121 East Parrish Street was contstructed during the late 1910s-early 1920s.

Looking northwest, 1924. 117-121 East Parrish is the lighter, 2-story building between Public Hardware and the May and Page corner building
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1951, 117 East Parrish was home to the "Good Food Shoppe"

is owned by Earl C. Winstead, a cafe man in Durham since 1918. They have a Grade A health rating and specialize in fried chicken and chicken stew, hot biscuits, etc., reasonably priced.

O'Brient's Music was a tenant of 121 East Parrish during the 1970s - and it seems that the "Durham Notion Company" - ? was a one-time tenant of 117-119. I have no idea how one sells notions.

Looking northwest, 1977.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

117-119 was demolished during the late 1970s for surface parking.

Looking northeast, 1983.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

During the 1980s, the front was stripped off of 121 East Parrish and a new one put on. It houses law offices today.

Windows are so important in determining how a building looks to a pedestrian on the street - these looked wrong to me, and it took me a minute to figure out why - it's the first floor windows. They just look too low to me, given the height of the door opening and the height of the first floor.


Notions are for sewing...thread, buttons, thimbles, needles, etc.

Ah! I see. Thank you Megan - I had no idea (resisted...bad...pun).


The sign seems to say, "Durham Notion Company Wholesale." Every department store used to have a "notions department," and since there were a lot of local department stores and clothing stores, I would imagine that Durham Notion Company supplied them.

I believe the O'Brient music store later moved elsewhere. Ms. O'Brient worked there for 50 years or so, and lives in my neighborhood -- she's lived here I believe about the same amount of time.

O'Brients Music Store moved into what became the commercial district of Chapel Hill Road, near the corner of CHR & Morehead Ave. The property (a nicely detailed older home) sold a few years back, but I haven't seen any life breathed back into it yet....

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