5520 Old Chapel Hill Rd.

35.945472, -78.998806

Chapel Hill
Cross Street
Year built
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I wasn't sure whether this great little building was in Chapel Hill or in Durham. The answer is yes. Durham County, Town of Chapel Hill.


My mother rented this place in the late 80's. It was a nice little studio apartment with small kitchen. Not sure what it was before that but I remember my grandmother knowing the owner's. They were an older family in the neighborhood. Nice to see the building still stands. Across from what used to be White Oak Stables but all that was torn down and those apartments/buildings put in on White Oak Road.

The store in the picture was originally a 1920's Sinclair Station. Sold to Gulf sometime in the 20's. It remained a Gulf Station and small grocery store until 1940. The service station closed before, or at the onset on World War Two. WD Sizemore continued it's operation as a small grocery. I purchased the property from Sizemore. Having lived beside it for many years. To the right of the old station is another structure. As I removed the old siding; I discovered signage indicating it was a BBQ / Chicken restaurant in the 1920's-30's.  As a boy, Jack Cheek remembers it as a pool hall in the 40's-50's. Behind both structures was a big black bear cage. Moonshine from East Lake was sold here. Kept in a cistern just up the road. What is called North White Oak was originally Mt. Moriah Road.  The woods were full of liquor bottles. Both buildings have been stabilized. I remember there were two more stores just like this one just up the road over the Orange County line. On the south side of the road.  All three stores had black bears, according to Sizemore. This was a main highway, east/west. It would be beautiful with the old signage.................   Never going to happen in Chapel Hill!

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