505 South Duke Street / Bb&t

35.995022, -78.90844

Cross Street
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505 South Duke Street - 1970s.

The urban renewal 'study area' in Durham was quite large, encompassing essentially the entirety of downtown. While structures taken by urban renewal within the area of the current 'Loop' were selective, few structures were spared in the remainder of the 'study area.'

On the western side of downtown, Duke St. represented the urban renewal border. Structures on the east side of the street were taken, while the western side was not. I'm going to look at this western edge of the urban renewal zone by blocks, starting with the 500 block of South Duke St.

This block is currently a BB&T building - one of my least favorite buildings in downtown because of the huge amount of wasteful surface parking surrounding the entire building. Prior to urban renewal, this block was residential. I don't know much history of these structures, so I will primarily just document them, moving north to south, from Jackson to the orginal location of Yancey St. All of these pictures are appraisal photos for urban renewal taken in 1963.


501 S. Duke - The building at the back of the Duke Mansion property (perhaps a caretaker's house/servant's quarters?) is visible to the left in this picture, taken of the southeast corner of Duke and Jackson.


507 S. Duke


509 S. Duke - Some commercial infill had already occurred along this corridor - this was an insurance office.


513 S. Duke


515 S. Duke


517 S. Duke


519 S. Duke

I find this last picture particularly poignant - the two boys play on their front lawn while the photographer shoots a picture to decide how much their house is worth in order to tear it down. I mean, imagine how excited the folks at 513 S. Duke were to see this sign go up in front of their house.

(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

This land sat vacant for some period prior to construction of the office building that currently houses BB&T, sometime during the 1970s

(Courtesy NC Mutual Archives)



there looks like what appears to be a "chimney stack" in the middle of the (northwest) cloverleaf of the intersection of 147 and Chapel Hill...perhaps you can figure out what house it once belonged to!

Keep up the good work!

Can't recall which on Gary, but this building was a savings and loan. Perhaps Durham Federal, or First Federal? Someone with better Durham history knowledge please speak up.

This was originally the Roberts Building, if my memory serves me. Bobby Roberts, Bryant Roberts and Paul Roberts are three brothers who have built a huge number of fairly inexpensive, houses, apartments, and condos all over Durham. Bobby went to prison for a few years in the late 1970's or early 1980's for some financial skullduggery involving a savings and loan. I believe that Bobby built this before he was convicted, and if I remember correctly, lost it after filing for bankruptcy following his conviction.



I think you may be thinking of the SouthBank building downtown, which was First Federal. You can see it here.



No, I'm pretty sure this was a savings and loan prior to it being BB&T. BB&T acquired the assets of a Durham based S&L about 15-18 or so year ago, if I recall correctly. Whether BB&T acquired it from the original S&L, I'm not certain.

PS Thanks John for sharing with us some background info about the vinyl box champions of Durham, and the Tuscaloosa Forest landscapers. What a positive contribution they've made to architectural beauty of our fair city.


This building was the Roberts Building, then became the Security Federal Savings and Loan Building, and after Security Federal merged with BB&T became it the BB&T Building.


Can anyone tell me how big the BB&T Building is? How many floors? thanks

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