716 Ninth St

36.008442, -78.921955

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Sanborn map of Ninth St., 1937

716 Ninth Street was initially part of the Erwin Mills mill village, part of the housing built to the east of the mill extending east to Broad Street. A mill house (720 Ninth St.) stood on the later site of the commercial building.

By the late 1940s, the two mill houses at 714 and 720 Ninth St. had been demolished. Cheek's Dry Cleaners had been built at the corner of the alleyway and Ninth St., but the remainder of the land associated with the two houses remained vacant.

Sanborn Map, 1950, showing Cheek's Dry Cleaners and vacant land between it and O'Briant's restaurant.

Looking southeast, 1950. A vacant lot is visible to the south of Cheek's Dry Cleaners (With billboards facing north, just to the north of O'Briant's)
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

716 Ninth St. appears to have been built between 1965 and 1968, initially housing the "Keypunch Institute of Durham" and "Public Finance Corp No. 1." I don't know that I've ever found two business names that were both so very odd and boring-sounding at the same time.

By 1975, the building housed Carolina Copy Center and Office Supply, which remained at the location into the 1990s.

Someone else can probably recount better than me the various businesses that have been here since the mid 1990s. Blue Corn opened here sometime in the late 1990s, I think. They've since taken over the former bookstore space. I can't remember whether the northernmost bay is where High Strung, and before that, the last incarnation of Poindexter's was - ?

716 Ninth St., 04.05.09

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I do believe that this was the last Poindexter's location, which of course became Schoolkids for a while after they bought out Poindexter's. (I believe that was the High Strung location.) There may have been something there in after Schoolkids but before High Strung moved from the space up next to Cosmic Cantina and 9th St. Dance, but I can't remember.

The other two bays which are now Blue Corn were both originally open, and were Ravena's used bookstore and restaurant, owned by John Browner. When he decided to get out of the restaurant business, he partitioned the space and turned the restaurant side over to Blue Corn, and rechristened the bookstore Books on Ninth. A couple of years ago when he decided to close the bookstore and move to Germany, Blue Corn took over that space too.

High Strung is, of course, in its third location, in the middle bay of the old Revco on Broad St., between Watts Grocery and Broad St. Cafe.

I should also add that I think that Gadow Guitars still has its luthier facility in the basement of this building.

Yes Micheal, Gadow Guitars is located in the basement of what is now "Hunkey Dory" and Blue Corn

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