703 West Trinity

36.005268, -78.902945

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This building has been marketed on and off for the past 3 years. I haven't researched it myself, but the real estate listing calls the building a "former railroad hotel in the 1930s." Perhaps - I usually find the history in real estate listings to be egregiously wrong (even when they use my photos,) so consider it a possibility.




Woods Grocery
703 W. Trinity Ave.

Built by local entrepreneur Joseph S. Woods and his wife, Lou Ella (Walker) Woods, in 1924, this grocery store served the Pearl Mill Village district for decades until its conversion into an apartment house in the early 1960s. The property was the site of the Pearl Mills Methodist Church before that structure was torn down and its congregation merged with Gregson Street Methodist Church. Pearl Cotton Mills was started by Brodie L. Duke in 1892, and operated under his family’s enterprise, Erwin Cotton Mills, until 1968. Today, the Pearl Mill Village historic district, which lies directly across the street, is the only intact remnant of one of Durham’s four primary mills and is a testament to Durham’s history as a major textile producing center. Although the mill itself may have had a store, Woods Grocery is the only documented store to have served the district until a small commercial corridor opened on nearby Foster St. in the 1930s. The structure appears to have contained a grocery on the bottom floor and rooms for rent on the top floor. After the passing of her husband in 1934, Mrs. Woods, who lived around the corner, kept the grocery running until just before her own death in 1963, at which point the property was passed to her daughter, Nancy, and became the Woods Apartments. In 1990, the property was sold again and became the Watson Inn. It is currently held for sale by 701 Trinity LLC next to the site of the Trinity Lofts.

Original owners:
Joseph S. Woods (b. 9 Sept. 1867, d. 19 Jun. 1934), Lou Ella (Walker) (b. 27 Sept. 1880, Apex, NC; d. 3 Apr. 1963, Durham, NC). Married May 15, 1909. Buried Mapleview Cemetery. Daughters: Nancy G. (b. 1910) and Louise (b. 1914). J.S. Woods was secretary of the board of the Eno Valley Credit Union. He started out as a grocery clerk before opening his own grocery in 1905 at 808 Foster St.. He owned numerous properties in Durham. Mrs. Woods resided in the family home at 814 Foster St. until 1963.

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