705 Fayetteville / The Electric Theater

35.986194, -78.897253

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Year demolished
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A row of 2-story commercial structures were built at the northern peak of the 'triangle' formed by the acute angle of the intersection of Fayetteville and Whitted Sts. These seem to have housed barber shops at 701 and 703 Fayetteville; 705 Fayetteville was the Electric Theater, a vaudeville and movie theater opened in 1913 by FK Watkins, the 'Movie King'.

1913 Sanborn map of the 700 block of Fayetteville (the 600 block in this map, renumbered by the 1920s.)

By 1915, this theater was renamed the Rex Theater. To date, I've not found a picture of the theater. By ~1920, the Rex had moved to 522 East Pettigrew St. Shortly thereafter, 701, 703, and 705 Fayetteville were torn down for the People's Service Station.

Partial view of the new 701 Fayetteville at the left edge of the picture, mid-1920s
(Courtesy Duke University Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Scanned by Digital Durham)

The People's Service Station at 701 Fayetteville was established between 1920 and 1923, likely the earliest service station on Fayetteville St. By the 1930s, it had become the Bull City Service Station, which it remained throughout the mid-twentieth century, at some point becoming an Esso station.

701 Fayetteville, looking southeast, 1962.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

701 Fayetteville, looking east, ~1970. You can see most of the surrounding structures have been demolished, and the Fayette Place housing project has been constructed to the east.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

This structure was torn down ~1970. It is the backyard of a house now.

Site of 701 Fayetteville, looking southeast, 10.05.08. You can see the roofs of the former Fayette Place housing project in the background.

Find this spot on a Google Map.



I wonder if the current site occupants know they have contaminated soil from the old gas tanks in their backyard?!?

Great post... cool building; too bad it's gone...

These last few weeks of posts detailing the complete and rapid destruction of Hayti really turn my stomach! If those buildings had been let stand for 20 more years, Hayti might have been revitalized into a thriving urban neighborhood. What a shame.


I'm not sure by your comment if you believe this theater to be the same as the Wonderland; it is not. The Wonderland was located on East Pettigrew St. Click here to read a writeup of the Wonderland on this site.


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