Old Hill Building

35.996069, -78.902843

Year built
Architectural style
Construction type
Local historic district
National Register
Building Type
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One of the earliest masonry structures built in what is now the core of downtown, west of Corcoran St. was the Armory Building, built ~1895.

Looking east on West Main St., 1900. Two two-story buildings are on the right side of the street - the more elaborate of the two, with the flanking square turrets projecting from the second floor, is the armory building.

A partial view looking west on West Main, 1905. A small portion of the Armory Building is visible.

Through 1902, the structure is labeled as "Corporation Stable and Armory Hall (2nd)". In 1907, the Durham Steam Laundry and Model Laundry appear to have taken over the first floor, although the Armory Hall is still located on the 2nd floor.

1905 picture of the Model Laundry in the Armory Building.

By 1913, the Armory had moved to the newly constructed 3-story 301 West Main St. building constructed to the east, and it appears that the Armory Building was either decapitated or replaced by two story structures.

A small glimpse of the two-story commercial structure just to the west of 301 W. Main, at 309 West Main St. This may have either replaced part of the Armory Building, or represented a reworked facade.

In 1925, John Sprunt Hill commissioned architects Atwood and Nash to construct a Georgian Revival office building in place of the replacement/modified two-story structures where the Armory Building had been located.

The elegant structure is ornamented with cartouches that contain Hill's monogram.

Tilley's department store was a long-time tenant, throughout the mid-20th century. The CD Kenny building/Sears is barely visible just to the east in the above picture, taken late 1920s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

1950s view of the structure, looking east on West Main St.
(Courtesy Duke University)

A second long-time tenant, The Young Men's Shop, was located here through the 1960s and 1970s.

Old Hill building, 1978.

In the late 1970s, the Young Men's Shop closed, and the facade was remodeled to house a Revco drugstore.


(Courtesy Durham County Library)


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In recent years, the facade was restored.

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On this page is a 1950's view looking east on Main st. One of the stores on the right is "Charles". In the picture I am submitting my grandmother and mother are seen walking down Main St. in front of the Charles store. This picture is probably late 1930s. It was common for photographers to take your picture on the street in hopes of selling you the prints.Myrtle and Mary shop.jpg

Rik - the picture you've submitted is actually in a different block - they are walking in front of the old, old Kress building, which was pretty radically remodeled in the late 1940s and became Lerner Shops:


The picture is taken looking east - you can see part of the Wheelan Drugs sign in the background (105 West Main.)

The CD Kenney / Old Sears / Charles Store, btw, is in this entry:



Thanks for the correction. The "Charles" threw me off.

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