Ej Parrish Warehouse (first)

35.995343, -78.900134

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
Building Type
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In 1879 EJ Parrish (the first man to auction tobacco in Durham) built a tobacco warehouse on the southeast corner of Mangum St. and the eponymous Parrish St.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

No records exist of the exact location of the warehouse, but I do know that it was on the "western portion of the site", which would imply that the above view is from Mangum St. The Conestoga wagons were used to haul the tobacco to the warehouse for auction.

By the 1880s, this warehouse had burned, and Parrish built a new warehouse on the north side of the street. Julian Carr owned the site and constructed the 3-story Parrish Building soon thereafter.

Looking northeast from Corcoran St. ~1900
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Above, the Parrish Building, ~1920s, looking northeast.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Multiple businesses used the building during the first part of the 20th century - the first offices of the Golden Belt Hosiery Company, the first location of First National Bank, and Durham's first movie theater - the Dreamland theater.

In 1918, the building became the headquarters of the Duke Power Company. Soon thereafter, the building was remodeled.

Looking southeast.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

It lost some of its late 19th century ornamentation and, it appears, received the stucco treatment.

Looking southeast, 1930s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking southeast, 1940.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The Duke Power Company had quite the electrified Xmas display. I guess they sold appliances as well, from the looks of the window displays.

Looking east.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

I find the anti-window fetish of the 1950s-1960s truly bizarre, and this was the typical approach. I can only imagine that it was an attempt to save energy, but it seems sort of baffling to me.

Parrish Building after the demolition of the buildings to its south, on East Main St., 04.05.68
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

In 1972, Duke Power constructed the building just to the south of this site - I guess the bricked in windows still weren't modern enough. This building was torn down soon thereafter.


Looking southeast, 1972, after construction of the new Duke Power building.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Looking east, 1973.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Oddly enough, it was replaced several years later with a somewhat similar building - which seems to echo some of the elements of the original building. I believe that it contains law offices.

Looking southeast, 2007.

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