Albans' Esso

36.017225, -78.911623

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
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The intersection of W. Club, Buchanan Blvd., and Guess Road used to be a bit messier (although undoubtedly quieter) than it is today. I'm not sure why it evolved in this way, since Buchanan used to be called Guess Road, but by the mid 20th century, Buchanan continued straight north of West Club, while Guess curved across W. Club to meet Watts St.

Prior to the mid-1940s, a single story house sat in the triangle formed by Buchanan, Guess, and W. Club - the residence of Ms. Josephine Walters. By the late 1940s, this house had been replaced by a service station. By the mid-1950s, it was Bill Albans' Esso.


Looking northwest - houses on N. Buchanan Blvd. north of West Club are visible behind the station., 11.12.54
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Looking southwest - the house on the southwest corner of West Club and North Buchanan is visible in the background, 11.12.54.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

1960 Bird's Eye view, looking northwest
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

The intersection was still like this in 1972 - sometime between then and the late 1980s, the curve of Guess between, um, Guess and Watts was closed, and the service station was torn down and converted to the almighty asphalt.

SIte of Albans Esso, looking west, 05.23.10

Former path of Guess Road, looking southeast towards Watts St. (you can see the nearly buried curb.)

Former path of Guess Road, in orange.

Find this spot on a Google Map.



Gary -

I've wondered about the odd set of curbs and curb cuts behind the Biscuitville on W. Club. Thanks for providing the explanation!

That Biscuitville picture brings back old memories. It changed over in the 70's to biscuits, prior to that it was a pizza parlor, prior to that...? Neither the location or the layout has changed in 35+ years. I eat there every time I go back home. Now that's a landmark.

At least the parking lot gets used by TROSA as a fantastic Christmas tree lot during the holidays.

I'm not quite sure what its purpose is the rest of the year.

This is interesting - I grew up a couple blocks south of this location and can remember when the stretch of Guess Rd. that angled between club and Buchanan was still there (through the 1960s.) But I had forgotten that it ever ran south of Club Blvd. I can also recall the building just to the East of the intersection of Guess and Buchanan. It was also there through the 1960s.

I started driving around Durham (legally) at the beginning of the 70's (and we're not going to discuss the driving that was done prior). At that time, Guess Road ended at Club Blvd., with Alban's on the west and the Shell station on the east. I'm nearly positive the southern extension of Guess Rd. was already closed. To continue into downtown, one made a left onto Club and then a quick right onto Buchanan. Or took Gregson Street.

Northgate wasn't yet a mall; just a strip shopping center. Thalhimer's was the glittering anchor store, but the busiest places were Rose's (discount store, are they still in business?) and Durham Sporting Goods, where wide-eyed youngsters could watch older kids race slotcars. This was, of course, just a branch of DSG, as the main store was still thriving downtown.

Thalhimer's (or whatever it is now -- Hechts?) continues to surprise. I saw last summer on my trip through Durham that it has moved again -- its' third location in this same shopping center.

In the photo from ~1960, I am surprised to see that huge home to the north, on what would have been the northern extension of Buchanan. Any info on that??

Thanks, Gary, for all that you do!

Dang, where's the "edit" button when you need one? :) "To continue into downtown, one made a left onto Club and then a quick right onto Buchanan" should be RIGHT on Club and LEFT on Buchanan.

I have to admit, even now as I'm giving driving directions and tell hubby to turn left, he'll ask me, "Do you mean THIS left (pointing out the driver's-side window) or the OTHER left?" Yeah, I get them backwards just that often.

Don't forget Kerr Sport Shop, which was in the basement of Kerr Drugs in the Northgate Strip Mall.


I'll post on that house and Northgate in the next ~ 2 weeks.


Mallie Paschall had a Sinclair station on the lot Biscuitville sits on. This was over 45 years ago. Mr. Paschall was nice he would help fix bike tires for the kids in the neighborhood.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Was the Sinclair Station called Alban’s Sinclair Station, by chance ? 

Alban’s Sinclair Station Durham NC. Thank you

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