Rattelade's / Warren Street Grocery

35.993313, -78.907471

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
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Building Type
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538 Warren Street, looking northwest, 1965.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Few structures are more intriguing to me than triangular (or nominally trapezoidal) ones - I don't know why, but perhaps it's because they usually were built to reflect the acute angle of the street intersection - in this case, Warren and Willard Streets. Standing at the intersection, facing (often) the door of the building and looking down the two streets at once - I'm smitten.

This little triangular building appears to have been built in the 1920s - by the late 40s/early 50s, it was Rattelade's Grocery. A reader tells me that he used to walk down to the store to buy penny candy - for a penny.

By the 1960s, when this picture was taken, the name was the Warren Street Grocery.

By 1967, the city Redevelopment Authority had begun tearing down houses, and buildings, like this, willy nilly.

Looking northeast from South Duke St. at the intersection of Willard and Warren Streets, 1967.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Warren Street was eliminated, and Willard was curved to the east where it would have dead-ended at the freeway. The resulting large parcel of land was turned into the Alexander Ford (later University Ford) car dealership.

Looking north at where Willard and Warren used to meet (Willard is still on the left)



My mother is Juliette Rattlade. This was her father's Grocery Store. We would like to talk to anyone that remembers the store and the family during. We can be contacted at: sandragray@earthlink.net

I am Harry Rattelade and this store belonged to my grandparents. I use to visit in the summer. I would carry grocery orders to people in the neighborhood, play with the kids that lived there and eat the best bologna sandwiches ever. I would like to share any info that anyone might have about this store and the people that went there. My e-mail is: harry@synergybuilding.com

Sandra, Harry

Thanks so much for stopping by, and for sharing your memories of the store. Feel free to comment or email me with any other stories about the store so that they can become a part of the recorded history of this spot.

Many thanks


Greetings, David Rattelade here. I have fond memories of this store as a young boy. We delivered groceries, stocked the coolers and observed with interest the interaction of the neighbors and American Tobacca Co. workers. Grand Ma made sandwiches to order. Locals had beer and conversation in the "back room". Customers signed for provisions and settled at the end of the month! Store was kind of a "social gathering" place. A diverse economic client base provided insights beyond it's physical structural simplicity.

Thanks David - wonderful memories to help flesh out the story of this great little gathering place. I appreciate you sharing them. Would that we still had it and other neighborhood grocery stores/sandwich shops. Well, at least that the ones we had sold more than lottery tickets, doritos, and Colt 45.


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