315 West Main St. / Kronheimer's

35.996246, -78.903099

Year built
Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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Kronheimer's department store, around 1913.
(From "Images of America: Durham" by Steve Massengill)

Benjamin Franklin Kronheimer built the building at 315 West Main St. between 1898 and 1902 as a department store, which he operated throughout the early part of the 20th century.


Taken looking west from the Trust building, 1905. Kronheimer's is to the left.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

This building remained a retail establishment throughout the mid 20th century. Here, in the early 1960s, it houses "Raylass."

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This series of Ralph Rogers shots shows the 'undoing' of the 1960s era facades, after the streetscape work that created what we are undoing right now (which included the installation of the large concrete planters/trees.)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

And the building today, 2007.

I don't know when Raylass closed, but the front facade has been nicely restored at the ground floor. Unfortunately, the front facade of this building is shuttered. Not so the Ramseur/parking lot side, though.


Looking north from the Loop. Just had to take this at night. I've always wondered why "Teasers" isn't on Culture Crawl...

A nighclub of some sort has operated out of the basement of this building since at least the early 1980s. Thanks to 'kat' who reminded me that this was called 42nd Street, and subsequently the Power Company. I know it has gone though a few other iterations since then, each targeting a different clientele. The incarnation before "Teasers Men's Club" got a few people shot in the Ramseur St. parking lot, which shut that version down and resulted in the current establishment, which I notice rarely gets promoted by DDI or DCVB as part of the downtown renaissance....


I have to say I liked the lushness of the tree/planter configuration in the 70s. I hope we're able to have something like that in the current incarnation on main street.


Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that I wasn't pleased when they started tearing out all of the street trees. I'm glad that they are reinstalling some. I have to say that it is nice to see the building facades more clearly, though.


"The Power Company": I remember it well. Circa 1988 I reinvented myself as a clove-cigarette-smoking, black-turtleneck-wearing, GQ-reading pseudo intellectual for my sophomore year at Duke (complete with WXDU radio show -- I did Friday afternoon jazz). My nerd friends and I picked up a couple of artsy girls from the "Langauge Dorm" in Edens and went into big scary downtown Durham for a night on the town. We thought we were so cool.

"Adult Entertainment" is still entertainment, and regardless of your feminist credentials Teasers still brings people into downtown. I haven't been in there yet ("Pure Gold" in Cary is more my style), but I like to imagine the club full of shot-callers and their hos ordering $300 bottles of Cristal. I'm sure the reality is a lot more grim.

For the record I only go to strip clubs when one of my NY friends insist. What happens in Durham stays in Durham, unless of course you're on the lacrosse team.

I wish Teasers would do something with the front rather than shuttering it. It's another long blank space, just like most of Chapel Hill St. Was it shuttered during the Power Company days?

It was the same during the Power Company days. I'd like it if they would open up to the Main St. side - they're one of the most longstanding businesses downtown. Despite the palpitations it would cause the downtown feel-good troops, I'd take the 'activity' on Main St. over the current configuration.


Teasers is a very fun place and as a feminist patron I take offense at your description of the female workers and patrons as 'hos'.

Perhaps you should check it out. If money is an issue, clip the coupon out of the Indy and go on a Wednesday night.


I guess your comment is directed at another commenter, but thanks for the tip on the Indy - I've always wanted to check the place out.


Wow, this is really an amazing compilation of stuff Durham! We lived here in the 60's & 70's and some of your pictures really bring back the memories. Regarding the "Jordan" building on West Main, you have a photo of a pharmacy and "Martin"-something from the mid-60's. That would be "Martin Jewelry Company", my grandfather's store. Thanks for putting this together...best wishes in preserving Bull City - Jeff

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