The Cary Lumber Company was established in 1894 and moved to Durham ~1900, originally locating at 101-107 West Chapel Hill St. at Five Points. In 1913, the company moved to the 'edge of town' near Milton Avenue and the railroad tracks to "get out of the congested area."
The company built a sizable complex of buildings, including a mill and large dry kiln.
Cary Lumber complex, 1937
Throughout the 20th century, the company continued to purchase timber lands in North Carolina to log and brought felled trees to Durham. The company was run by several generations of the Satterfield family.
The woodworking warehouse, looking southeast from Milton Ave. (S. Buchanan Blvd.), ~1930.
(Courtesy Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, Chamber of Commerce Collection)
Cary Lumber Office, from Milton Ave/Buchanan Blvd., probably facing northeast, likely 1950s
(Courtesy Robby Delius)
Aerial view, 1959. The office building is closer to the railroad tracks, the woodworking warehouse is the longer north-south oriented building.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)
Bird's Eye aerial view, looking east, 1950s.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)
The main office for the company stood on the west side of the street, on the northwest corner of Milton and Spring St. (now Rome Avenue.)
Looking northwest, 1950s. I'm quite amused by the big virgin cypress log with a sign pointing out all of the historic events it lived through in its 1100 years before being felled and placed in the front yard of a lumber company office with a toy house on top of it.
(Courtesy the Forest History Society)
Cary Lumber shut down in 1956 and the buildings became a Lowes in 1957. Lowes was here until the late 1960s. By the late 1970s, the buildings, including a tobacco warehouse to the southeast, had been acquired by Duke University.
The northernmost frame structures, late 1970s - looking southeast.
The northernmost buildings were demolished at some point after the warehouses were purchased by Duke University. By the 1990s, part of the facility had become the Duke Surplus store. This venture later moved to the former Center theater at Lakewood Shopping Center, and the Lumber Company buildings became part of the Duke Transit complex.
Former Cary Lumber Company warehouse, 03.18.08
Site of the Cary Lumber Company Office, 07.19.08
There's a cool building behind the bricked in windows of the warehouse, as well as what appears to be a currently-enclosed monitor roof. In keeping with my sentiment about the Smith warehouse next-door, I'd like to see a higher-and-better use of this land and the buildings between the railroad tracks and the freeway through this area, particularly to reconnect West Pettigrew near the Center for Documentary Studies with West Pettigrew just west of South Gregson St. In an area where the connectivity between neighborhoods is severely limited by the freeway, creating a usable and pleasant corridor between West Durham and West End, near the CDS, and West End and Brightleaf/West Downtown - from Buchanan to S. Duke would diminish the present barriers.
As of 2014-15, Triangle Transit had rather shamelessly shunted the proposed Durham-Chapel Hill light rail through the middle of this warehouse (and no, I don't mean in a cool depot kind of way.) Who knows if that will happen, but TT seems rather intent on demolishing historic buildings along their path. (I'm still not over the dumbness of the Graybar building demolition.)
07.26.15 (G. Kueber)