754 Ninth St.

36.009592, -78.921918

Year built
late 1920s
Construction type
Building Type
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(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Built in the late 1920s, 754 initially housed Pender's Stores, which moved from next door (752 Ninth St.) By the late 1930s, Columbia Billard Parlor was located there. This became Pop's Billiard Parlor by the 1940s, and part of Southern Dry Cleaners, which expanded from next door at 756 Ninth, by the late 1940s.

It remained as such until the early 1980s, when it became the original home for the Ninth Street Bakery (yes, there is a reason it is named as such.)



By the late 1980s, Ninth Street Bakery had moved to 776 Ninth St., and Natural Wonders (a health food store?) took its place. This was followed by "Earth and Spirit."

Currently, the building houses Dain's Place.

754 Ninth St., 04.05.09



"Earth and Spirit," actually. Standard issue new age shop. At one point I had some chinese hand exercise balls from them.

For those who haven't tried them, Dain's has the best burgers in town! If you're not into sports, though, make sure you go when there isn't a game on or else you may not find a seat.

I believe Natural Wonders was a similar New Age store to Earth and Spirit. Earth and Spirit was either further down 9th Street, on a block that may have become non-commercial, or elsewhere in the neighborhood, and may have merged with Natural Wonders. (I think. My memories are vague on the point.)

Just curious, is anyone able to make out the words on the "Whit's Grill" sign? The bottom looks like "REFRESHMENTS" but not sure what's directly below the "Drink Coca-Cola"...

The Whit's Grill sign might say "Be Really Refreshed", one of Coke's slogans circa 1960.

Whit's was an interesting place at 4 AM, filled with Durham Herald (newspaper) carriers, Erwin Mills security guards, police officers, and Duke students.

FWIW, Natural Wonders and Earth and Spirit were one and the same. Natural Wonders changed its name when a national chain of the same name got popular. So they became "Earth and Spirit." Same merchandise, same owners. They concentrated mostly on crystals and stones, but also had a modest inventory of New Age books, magazines, and tchotkes.

As it happens, after several years, they have now reopened at Timberlyne S.C. in Chapel Hill.
- Beth

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