Phillips 66 / Broad Street Diner / Mad Hatter

36.006353, -78.920111

Cross Street
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Bird's Eye view looking west the Erwin Field at Broad and West Main Streets, ~1940.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

One of the early community assets created by the Erwin Cotton Mills and its principal, William Erwin, was the Erwin field, which hosted the Erwin Auditorium baseball team.

Looking east from 8th (Iredell) and West Main Sts., May 1938, showing a partial view of the batting cage.
(Courtesy Duke Forest Collection)

Looking northeast from 8th (Iredell) and West Main Sts., May 1938, showing a view of the batting cage.
(Courtesy Duke Forest Collection)

Below, images of the baseball team from the mid 20th century at the field.

(Courtesy Old West Durham Neighborhood Assoc.)

(Courtesy Old West Durham Neighborhood Assoc.)

In 1953, Erwin Mills converted the former Monkey Bottom lowlands to the south into a new Erwin Field; the field at West Main and Broad Streets was soon converted into a commercial development - a new A&P supermarket set back from Broad Street with what was, at the time, a massive surface parking lot in front, and a Phillips 66 gas station at the corner of Broad and West Main Sts.

Looking south on Broad Street from near Perry St., 08.27.58. The gas station is visible in the background.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

In the 1950s and 1960s, high school and college students would make a drive-in circuit that, in this little area, included Top's and the Blue Light.

The character of this corner changed considerably with the connection of Broad Street and Swift Avenue in 1964; neither crossed the tracks prior to that point, and Swift Avenue met the tracks at a point farther east than where Broad St. did

Looking south on Broad Street near its intersection with West Main St., 02.12.64.

Looking northwest from where Swift Avenue met West Pettigrew St., 02.12.64.

Below, the Phillips 66 station and "Ginos" looking west, after the connection of Broad and Swift, 03.10.70

The former Phillips 66 gas station was also renovated to become a restaurant - Owen's Broad Street Diner, run by the 501 Diner folks in Chapel Hill. The Broad Street Diner closed (which depressed me - I always enjoyed it) and was replaced by the Mad Hatter, which moved from its prior location in Erwin Square. (They renovated the station extensively - enclosing the south 'triangle' awning.)

The former batting cage and Phillips 66 station, now the Mad Hatter Bake Shop:

Looking north, 07.19.09

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