307-309 East Chapel Hill Street / "bargain Furniture"

35.997107, -78.901269

Cross Street
Year built
Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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Looking north on Corcoran Street, 1924

Ever wonder why Corcoran St. stopped at East Chapel Hill St. until the 2006-2007 link with Foster St.? Because Willie Mangum's farm was in the way when the streets were laid out.

Looking north-northwest from Corcoran St. ~1890s.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

By the early 20th century, Willie's farm had succumbed to development pressure, though.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The first three buildings in the 300 block of East Chapel Hill Street remain, outwardly, little changed from when they were first built in the 1910s. Although the shot above is really too blurry to make out much detail of the buildings on the northeast corner of Foster and E. Chapel Hill, this is their appearance in 1924, soon after the Washington Duke broke ground, looking northeast towards the Corcoran/East Chapel Hill/ Foster intersection.

Another partial view from later that year, looking northwest.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

This clearer view of the buildings looking north up Corcoran shows that the easternmost building was a Holland Furniture building, built in 1914. 
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Possibly a bit later shot shows a bit of the building, now Stockton-Hill Furniture.
(Courtesy Duke Archives, Wyat Dixon Collection)

By 1957, 307-309 housed Huntley's Furniture
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

And with a new logo in 1969

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

By the early 1980s, it had become Bargain Furniture.



The buildings in 2007, fairly well preserved, looking north from the former Corcoran St., now a plaza.

I keep hoping something interesting will happen with the building-of-a-thousand-furniture-stores. It's been vacant for awhile - the owner is listed as "Empire Alliance Properties" which seems to be the same address as Empire Properties, Raleigh developers who have done many of the buildings in their downtown. Wade Penny sold the building to this group in August 2005 for $442,000. I was in there around that time, and again last summer for the big-blue-circle gig, and it doesn't appear that any active renovation is going on. They have a good track record in Raleigh, so hopefully that means good things for this property. (They also own the two empty buildings just to the east, on the other side of E. Chapel Hill St., which I'll be profiling next week.)

Update 3/15/07:
I don't know if I missed this before, but Empire is preselling retail(first floor) and ofice upper floors of this building with a target date of Q4 2007 for the first floor and Q1 2008 for the upper.

07.26.15 (G. Kueber)


I recently happened upon an article in the Durham Central Junior High School newspaper (Junior Hi-Lights) dated 10/23/1940 that tells the story about Corcoran vs the farm. The article is titled "When Durham Was Young" (p.2)  and it says: "...when Corcoran was laid out, it was stopped there because of protests sent up from an old lady saying that should the street go straight through, it would go between her farm house and cow barn, and then she would have to cross the street to feed and milk her cows. The street, consequently, was stopped at the fence gate of her front yard."

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