117 East Main Street

35.994761, -78.899938

Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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Looking northeast from the south side of the 100 block of East Main St., 1890s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The first brick structures on the north side of the 100 block of East Main St. were built during late 1880s-early 1890s, including the midblock structures of 113-119 E. Main. 119 East Main notably included the Rawls Store, which later became the Rawls-Knight department store.

By the 1910s, the Rawls-Knight store had moved to 114 West Main St. and 119 East Main was occupied by the Royal Cafe, a popular establishment ("For Ladies and Gents".)

Looking northwest, ~1915. The Uptown movie theater is at the right. I can only make out "Poteat" on the facade of 117 E. Main, and haven't been able to correlate that with a business yet.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In the early 1920s, 113-117 East Main was torn down and replaced with two new structures. 113-115 East Main was built in a style similar to others of the period in downtown Durham - a brick facade with small stone inlays - still present on buildings at Five Points and on West Chapel Hill St.

Looking northwest, 1924.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In 1928, 119 East Main was the location of the O'Briant Music Store. By 1934, it was the Everybody Shoe Store.

Looking northwest, late 1930s

Looking west, northwest, 1940 (nothing like a movie title to help me pin down a date.)
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

1940-44: Claire Dress Shop
1952: The Style Shop
1957: The Style Shoe Co.
1960: The Style Shop

In the 1960s, all of the structures in this block on both the east and west side of these buildings were torn down, leaving an island of three structures.

Looking northwest, 2007.

These buildings are a great contribution to a walkable streetscape - there are just too few of them left in this block.


119 East Main


117 E. Main got a piece on WRAL. I can't put the link on because it triggers the spam filter but if you go to wral's web site and search for Bar Lusconi, you can find it

"Bar Lusconi: The coolest bar you've probably never noticed"

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