Powe Apartments - 506 N. Buchanan

36.00706, -78.911816

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From N. Buchanan Blvd., 1920s (Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

One of the earlier masonry apartment buildings in Trinity Park, the Powe Apartments were built between 1920 and 1923 by contractor TH Lawrence.

The apartments consist of two buildings with differing facades - one that faces N. Buchanan Blvd. (which appears to have been called "The Edward Powe Apartments",) the other which faces Watts St (which appears to have been called "The Powe Apartments.") The apartments most certainly must have been named after E(dward) K Powe, but I don't have confirmation that he had them built.


 From Watts St., ~1980 (Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)


They are currently owned by Trinity Park apartment magnate Guy Solie.

Powe Apartments from N. Buchanan, 03.13.10


Gary, happy ED anniversary. Congratulations on four years of creating one the most accessible (and certainly, accessed) views of Durham history. If you were a book, you'd be right on the shelf next to Ms. Anderson.

I housesat in the Buchanan Ave. building for several months last summer and it was fantastic. I used to assume that "old" apartment buildings were all dark and cramped inside, but my north-facing apartment was as bright and light and spacious as any modern loft.

It was also one of my first experiences living "in town" in Durham. At the time, I had an office downtown and it was a thrill to walk or bike to work, groceries, meals and friends.

p.s. Thanks to Andy for anniversary notice. Happy anniversary!

Andy, thanks for remembering, and Phil thanks for seconding. Hard to believe it has been 4 years of posts (1081) and creeping up on a million page views. I obviously owe a great debt of gratitude to Jean Anderson and other Durham historians, so I greatly appreciate the comparison.

Many thanks to all ED readers for doing so, and for keeping Durham's history a vibrant part of our city's culture.


Today, one could not buy or recreate such an atmosphere or elegance as either the Powe or Salmon apartments.

Congrats, Gary! Thanks for keeping at it. Your blog is a regular read for me.

I always wondered if those 1920's facades were an addition to an older building because of the slightly different colored brick and the arched windows on the mid block portions. The modern view from Watts shows this pretty well. This was all built at one time?

Also, I hate the vinyl porch that was tacked onto the Watts Street frontage a few years ago, and I hope that the owner has the sense to restore the beautiful canopy on the Buchanan side rather than doing a similar treatment there.

Great post. I always told myself if I move back to Durham I'd want to live in one of the older apartment buildings like these in Trinity Park. It just gives off a great urban appeal.

I lived in an apartment on the third floor of 506 N. Buchanan in 1974-75. They were wonderful apartments with large rooms (though the kitchen was cramped) and an airy sunporch with windows on three sides. Fall, winter, and spring were wonderful. Summer was almost unbearable because there was no air conditioning then, and, believe me, the third floor got hot. There were several unusual touches that I remember: One was a large pass through compartment in the hallway next to the kitchen door for the delivery of milk or packages . There was also a shoot in the kitchen pantry that went directly to the incinerator in the basement. Any trash or garbage with the solitary exception of aerosol cans could be disposed of down that shoot. We had steam heat, so I've often wondered whether that helped fuel the boiler. Now that would be environmentally friendly: warm yourself with your own garbage and trash and dispense with green carts, blue carts, brown carts and those infernal vehicles that empty them.

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