706 Ninth Street

36.008031, -78.921929

Year built
Construction type
National Register
Building Type
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706 Ninth Street, 12.21.69
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

706 Ninth Street was built in ~1936; it initially housed the Andrews Furniture Company, followed by the West Durham Furniture Company. By the early 1960s, the building appears to have been vacant, but was soon reoccupied by Custom Interiors and the Neil Upholstery Co. In 1971, Godwin Dance School became a tenant





706 Ninth St., 1980

It was followed by Sandy's School of Dance in the late 1980s.

Sometime around ?1993, Francesca's Dessert Cafe moved around the corner from Perry St. (where the business started in 1985) and remained there until 2017 when rising rents forced out the then current management. The space is now occupied by a Starbucks.

Originally, Francesca's was supposed to open on Ninth St. in 1983 when founders Merryl Sloane and Sherry Kinlaw (a lesbian couple) first started the business, but financial struggles put their vision on hold until 1985 when they opened on Perry St.






706 Ninth Street, 04.05.09

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One of our daughters was taking lessons at Godwin's when she was three years old. That would have put them in the building in 1971.

In reply to by Rik (not verified)

Hello Rik!  Do you by chance have any photos of the space?  Would love to see it inside!  Thanks!  Kim

Shame the look of the windows has been lost. (Well, at least they're not white (or bricked over)!)

One HUGE improvement -- the power lines are gone from the street in front of the building. Looks like they may have been moved to the alley-way behind the building. It looks so much cleaner!

My first cousin took dance at Godwin's in the mid to late sixties so I agree that the studio was there much earlier than the eighties.

Neil Upholstery/Custom Interiors is listed at the address in 1970, so 1971 is likely the first year that Godwin was open.


Look Out!, a discount clothing store, was in the right side of this building for much of the 1990s and into this century. Francesca's was limited to the left side. When Look Out! closed this location, Francesca's took the whole space.

Nice to know Francesca's is still in business. Those ladies worked hard to make that indy business work. I have some fond memories of them on Perry St in the 80s. Still miss their ginger ice cream.

In reply to by wren (not verified)

Do you happen to remember those ladies' names? I have been searching high and low in the Durham County Register of Deeds, but I can't find any info on the old Perry St. location and the listing for the Ninth St. location only refers to the owner as "CFP Partnership"



UPDATE: I found an article in the Triangle's gem of a publication "The Newsletter," and two of the women were Merryl Sloane and Sherry Kinlaw! There's a reference to "a woman who knew how to make gelato," but she isn't named.

This was Andrews Furniture Company in the 1940's - 1960's. Owned and operated by Dink Andrews.

In reply to by Dink (not verified)

Hello Dink!  Do you by chance have photos of the interior space?  Would love to see them if you do!  Thanks!  Kim

As a pre-teen in the neighborhood in the late 80s/early 90s, Francesca's was THE place to go on a saturday night to feel adult and hip amongst all those mature looking older folks having coffee. Fond memories.

I am Olive godwin's grandson and I wish dearly that I had gotten lessons at her school because I am terrible at dancing...lol

In reply to by emmanuel seth godwin (not verified)

Hello Emanuel!  Would you by chance have photos of your grandmothers studio?  Would love to se me the interior space!  Thank you!  Kim

Hello!!  Would love to see any interior photos of this space!  Especially upstairs!  Any chance anyone could share??  Thank you!!

Any chance anyone has interior photos of this building? In particular, the 2nd floor space where the dance studios were located? Many thanks if so! 

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