Immaculate Conception (first)

35.997139, -78.913746

Year built
Year demolished
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Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was established in its current location on Chapel Hill Street in 1905, on land donated by William T. O'Brien, the mechanic who made the Bonsack cigarette machine work for J.B. Duke, thereby creating the competitive advantage that allowed the astronomical growth of the compnay.

A church school was also estabished in 1909. The congregation continued to used these structures throughout the early part of the 20th century.

Looking north from West Chapel Hill St., probably 1940s.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

In 1957, this church was torn down

and replaced with this one:

Looking northeast, under construction.


Which is still in use today, although essentially replaced by larger structure beside it.


Looking north.

There was a house or parsonage on the site of this parking lot until at least the late 1970s.

Another view of this block of West Chapel Hill Street from the 1920s, looking east.

(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This shot is taken from the corner of Buchanan Blvd. and West Chapel Hill Street. Immaculate Conception is barely visible beyond a large tree on the left side.


Same view today.

The church expanded into the large building, just to the left in this shot. Rather unfortunately, this buildlng has a blank brick wall facing West Chapel Hill Street. Last year, the church, in partnership with Duke, opened the Emily K Center, which is one of several providers of services to neighborhood kids in the West End and Lyon Park.


I must admit to being disappointed in the site design for the center, simply because I think they came within a parking lot of hitting a home run. It's a great building, inside and out, and the corner was just a broken up parking lot and a hot dog stand before. But putting this big parking lot in front of the building was a mistake - the building should have been built up to the corner, where you could have actually seen it from the street. It could have created a great deal of life at this corner, which really needs it. The parking lot could have been shunted towards the north east (towards the Freeway and Burch), with much less effect.

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