500 Block E. Main

35.9916, -78.894348

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Looking north, 1910s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The last of the 'original' fire stations downtown, fire station no. 3 was constructed in 1911, housing a steamer engine and a hose wagon. The 500 block of East Main St. (between Dillard and Elizabeth streets) was constructed as a wide, divided street with a median - but only for one block. The fire station was constructed at the point the street narrowed back to 2, undivided lanes, moving east, at the Elizabeth St. intersection.

Sanborn map of the station and surrounding area, 1913.
(Copyright Sanborn Map Co.)

Looking north, 1920.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking north, 1930s?
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The divided portion of the street was narrowed sometime in the late 1910s or early 1920s, and the reclaimed road was accorded to the property on the north side of the street. Houses and an apartment building were built along the new frontage.

Fire Company #3, 1950s
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

In April 1953, the station was moved eastward to South Driver and East Main Sts.By 1962, the building was being used as "Hurley's Garage."

Here is a view of the block, moving east to west (right to left).

527 East Main, the old fire station building.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

525 East Main.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

523 East Main.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

To the left/west of this structure were the Franklin Court Apartments, which I've previously profiled.

Fire Station 3, ~1969
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

523 East Main, ~1969.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Around 1969, these structures were torn down by the city using urban renewal funds. The land became part of the Oldham Towers / Liberty St. Apartments public housing complex, which it still is today. Fire station no. 3 is now located on Miami Blvd.

Looking northwest, 2007.


Woah, that place looks so different now. i never would have believed that this is what it looked like a long time ago.

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