Central Carolina Farmer's Exchange - New Feed Mill

35.996528, -78.888521

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(Photo by Gary Kueber)

The modern CCFX feed mill was built on the site of the former Durham Gas Company in 1965 - either replacing or supplementing the capacity of the old feed mill operation behind (to the north of) 801 GIlbert.

The gas plant had been located on the site previously - since 1905. An early picture of the gas plant, below:

(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The Durham Gas Company was formed in 1888 by George Watts and Julian Carr, and would later become the Durham Light and Power Company. The Durham Traction Company and Durham Light and Power split the electricity and gas franchises, with L&P taking the gas franchise in 1905. The company built the Gilbert St. plant shortly thereafter, constructing a facility able to hold 40,000 cubic feet of gas.

The company was absorbed by Carolina Power and Light in 1911. In 1928, the company was sold to Southern Cities Utility Company, headed by Charles Whetstone of Philadelphia. The company was then renamed the Durham Gas Company. In 1934, the Public Service Company of North Carolina (PSNC) took over the company and franchise.

In 1946, the company purchased the former Durham Sun Building on East Main Street for their offices. By 1953, the plant on Gilbert Street had expanded to a capacity of 1.09 million cubic feet of gas.

Looking north. Holloway St. is in the foreground, and the John O'Daniel Hosiery Mill and Durham Gas Company are just to the north, separated by the railroad tracks, 1950s.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Shot of the gas plant from the tracks, looking northeast across Gilbert St., 1952
(Courtesy Bob Blake)

Plans were already afoot in 1953 for the Gilbert St. plant to become a temporary storage station for gas piped in from afar.

Sometime soon thereafter, the Central Carolina Farmers Exchange purchased the facility and site for its expanding grain/feed production operation. They tore down the former gas plant and built a new facility in 1965. The feed production facility was still in operation in 2007, run by Southern States.

Looking north from Gilbert St., 2007 (Photo by Gary Kueber)

As of spring of 2009, the Southern States facility was for sale. I was curious to see whether someone has the creativity to find an adaptive reuse for this building.

As it turns out, someone with that kind of vision did purchase the building - Al Frega, who has been doing great metalwork in Durham for years. Al located his studio down the street in the old stables building in 1999.

After a long flirtation with the building by Counter Culture Coffee (which has been flirting with just about every semi-industrial building in the core of Durham for the past 5 years without ever pulling the trigger,) the building is as of 2013 being eyed by Triangle Brewing Company as the new location for their brewing operation and brewpub. (Unfortunately, Counter Culture wanted the massive, very cool silos torn down, so they are gone.)

I have a great optimism for this neighborhood - the potential of these former industrial areas has already been demonstrated in the Central Park area - it just takes some folks with vision.


(Photo by Gary Kueber)


(Photo by Gary Kueber)

I had no idea how cool the tower was inside until a tour by Al Frega in August of 2013. It has a 20 foot basement, and huge spaces, supported by massive concrete columns. Remaining feed chutes/piping add to the post-industrial vibe.

08.30.13 (G. Kueber)

08.30.13 (G. Kueber.) War of the Worlds?

08.30.13 (G. Kueber)

The top of the tower affords really interesting views of downtown - a different perspective than I'm used to.

08.30.13 (G. Kueber)


If I remember correctly, this used to be a Southern States Feed and I would go there to get supplies. Had a nice retail store, very clean and parking with a dock. This seems to be the same place. I know it was near Holloway Street. Seems everything just goes out of business. Process of life, I guess.

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