124 East Main

35.994427, -78.899882

Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The 100 block of East Main St. was, along with 100 West Main St., the earliest retail focus in Durham. Generally, in the development of Durham, early frame structures were supplanted by brick structures, and frame structures were then constructed further to the east and west, later supplanted.. etc., etc. The brick structures in the 100 block of East Main were the 'first generation', built during the 1880s

No one, distinct, business occupied most of these structures. Rather, a parade of dozens of different businesses utilized the space - a quick glance at a Chamber of Commerce publication from 1924 shows the Martha Washington Tea Room (122), Hibberd's Florist (118), and The Durham Shoe Store (124) among the retailers.

In 1919, 124 housed the Durham Shoe Co., by 1923, Lipman and Berman, Inc. with the Durham Barber College upstairs.

By 1927, the City Sandwich Shop and "Jake and Mike's Place" were tenants. The City Sandwich Shop would remain a tenant for the next ~50 years.

The south side of the 100 block of East Main St., looking west-southwest, 1927. The banner draped over 124 East Main is advertising "McFadden's Flats" at the Paris Theater across the street, which would later become the Uptown Theater. The City Sandwich Shop occupies the first floor.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

in 1934, the upstairs housed Joseph's Jos Hosiery; in 1940, Lias Ayash photography; 

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

124 East Main to the left in the picture above, with the large sign for the City Sandwich Shop.


Two strange trends befell this block, which I still don't understand completely. First, removal of the upper stories of buildings. Second, a strong enough desire to change the front facade that you would remove the entire existing brick facade.

Looking southwest, 1947.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)


The new facade(s), devoid of any offending protuberances, 02.01.48

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

In 1951, "Durham and Her People" writes about the City Sandwich Shop

CITY SANDWICH SHOP, 124 E. Main St., is owned and operated by Mack Daniels, who was born in Turkey but came to the U.S. on December 7, 1913 and to Durham in 1917. The cafe, air-conditioned and modern, is one of the older Main St. restaurants.

In 1952, the upstairs housed the Jarvis Uniform Shop.

First floor facades, with the infamous planters being installed- early 1970s. (DCL)


1970s - still the City Sandwich Shop, with a photographer back upstairs.

(Courtesy the Norman Williams Collection)

Above, the view of these buildings in 2007 - 120-124 with a 1960s era modern facade. Looking southwest, 2007.

And the view southeast, 2007


124 East Main - the leftmost bay / set of windows, painted white. The upper floor has been converted to a renovated  condominium.

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