123 East Main St.

35.994641, -78.899721

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Looking northwest, 1905.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

A 1905 view shows the growth of Yearby's drugstore at 123 East Main, which would become the first gasoline dealer in the city; pumps were generally set up at the edge of the sidewalk; I don't know where the tanks were contained. (Possibly in the under-sidewalk basements?)

The Interior of Yearby's, ~1905.

The view below only shows Yearby's "Cut Rate Drugs" sign.

Looking northwest - the Trust building and Geer building are visible in the distance. The theater building is at the right. The ticket window and early movie posters (they acutally look like cloth) are visible.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This theater would receive a complete Art Deco redo in the 1930s. It was called the Uptown Theater.

Looking west-northwest, 1940. 
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

In April, 1969, fire broke out on this end of the block - I don't know in which building, but it eventually spread to at least 3 of the buildings.


Looking northwest, 1969.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

The fire decimated these buildings, leaving only shells.

Looking northwest, 1969.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking northwest, 04.19.69.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

The Uptown theater, the side of which appears in the above photo, does not appear badly damaged by the fire. But whether or not it was, it too was torn down soon after these three.

Looking northwest, ~1970
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The vacated space became a surface parking lot which it remains.

Looking northwest, 2007.

This is one of the many sites in downtown that screams infill. It is owned by, I believe, a law firm on Parrish St., which uses it as parking for their business, so it is unlikely to be redeveloped soon (unless they do it themselves.)

I had planned this post prior to the fire at the Snow Building yesterday, but, as I said in that post, we can't assume that if we 'only knock down X buildings' that the generously spared ones will survive. As NIS requests $1.2 million solely for demolition in the upcoming budget, will there be anything left of our historic, but more impoverished neighborhoods once the ravages of time and nature have taken their toll as well?

35.994629 -78.899643


I'll believe artistic license for the 1880s engraving, as the engraver also took license with the spelling of Durham on the Globe's sign. Maybe the "pocket watch" in the 1890s picture was due to a visit by Flavor Flav's granddad. :)

(Sorry -- snappy smartass comments are about all I'm capable of at the moment.)

Hey Joe

It is possible (hopefully?) with the sign, but the megawatch is definitely in that picture. Perhaps Pappy Flav went back on tour, considering how quickly it disappeared.


Cut Rate Drugs on the corner; seems like times haven't changed a bit.

What was that you said about architectural indigestion?

Tums. Need tums. Lots of them.

You don't say what started the fire.

There was a place that had opened briefly, maybe two buildings down from the Uptown Theater called 'Hazel's Kitchen'?. That night the fire was started by the deep fryers accidently left on in the restaurant, I heard at the time.

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