The fourth and last of the main telephone exchange buildings established downtown, and the only one dedicated to the purpose, was the building at 104 Holloway St. The telephone exchange had begun on the southwest corner of Church and East Main Sts. in 1895, then moved to the First National Bank Building, then in 1904 to the northeast corner of N. Church St. and East Main St. Ongoing expansion of telephone service
led to the Interstate Telephone and Telegraph Co. building a new telephone exchange structure at 104 Holloway St. around 1920. In the clear-as-mud language from the 1953 Herald-Sun that describes the development of this building:
"The exchange was moved to its present location in 1920, occupying part of what is now but half of the present building. The second half of the present building was constructed in 1931."
I hope future readers find my writing about development easier to follow than this. In 1933, the nterstate Telephone and Telegraph Co. changed its name to the Durham Telephone Company.
Looking southwest, 1950s
Below, a view showing the windows on the east side, and the addition extending east from the rear of the building towards Trinity Methodist.
Looking west, 1953
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)
In 1953, it was noted that the Durham telephone company provided service to 29,300 stations from three exchange buildings in Durham. This building, the main exchange, housed 6600 lines of central office equipment, and a $0.5 million addition was about to add another 8800 lines. 104 Holloway housed general offices and the commercial department on the first floor, switching equipment (and the offices of the vice-president and repair department) on the second floor, and accounting, billing and information departments on the third floor.
And a blurry view from the other side, looking southeast, 1966.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
This shows a simple building with nice-appearing Italianate windows.
In 1967, General Telephone built an adjacent addition on the east side of the building, and, at sometime soon thereafter, the entire front of the original building was covered with the aforementioned yellow nastiness.
Looking west, 08.09.67
Looking southeast, 1975.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
(These dates don't quite add up unless they did two separate construction projects on the addition.)
Which is still on it today, in 2007.
This building is actually available on the commercial real estate market currently. They must expect some silly sum of money for Greenfire (which owns three adjacent buildings) not to have snapped it up. I contacted the company to find out the asking price. "We don't have an asking price" was the answer. Oh really. My bit of (free) real estate advice. 1) Peel off the yellow junk, and 2) you're not selling the Burj Dubai - get a price.
So Greenfire did eventually buy the building, and peeled off the nasty facade material, revealing the nice brick underneath.
104-106 City Hall Place, 04.14.08.
I've heard it mentioned as a part of their Rogers Alley re-development, which includes the Fire Station No. 1, Rogers Drug Store, and 107 East Parrish. I haven't heard anything in particular about intended use for this building, though.
Greenfire sold the building for $725,000 in 2013. It was purchased by "Durham Exchange, LLC," which is managed by a Richard M. West. As of Spring 2014, it is being renovated.
04.28.2015 (G. Kueber)
07.26.15 (G. Kueber)