WPA Sewing Room / Herndon's Warehouse

35.993156, -78.890625

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
Building Type
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Looking northeast, 1966 (Courtesy Durham County Library).

This large structure was built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a factory to produce work clothes; it was commonly known in the community as "The Overall Factory." By the 1940s, the building had become "Herndon's Warehouse" - seemingly a giant flea market kind of place.

Likely 1950s (Courtesy Bob Blake).


Looking west from the railroad tracks on Liberty, 1966. (Courtesy Herald-Sun)



This building survived into the 1980s; I don't know when it was torn down.

A couple of years ago, Housing for New Hope built these face-away-from-the-street-and-towards-a-parking-lot housing units here to house people who are formerly homeless. The complex does have an interesting sculpture in the yard, which is the only thing that positively distinguishes these buildings - they are otherwise more representative of something out of Cary rather than a strategic and historic location between the Cleveland-Holloway historic district and the historic Golden Belt / Durham Hosiery mills.

Looking north from Liberty and North Elizabeth, 2007.




If my memory is correct, the WPA building may have burned. Perhaps intentionally for fire dept. training?


Herndon's Warehouse, full to the brim with "antiquities" or "junk" depending on your perspective, burned to the ground in a "mysterious" and yet unsolved fire in the 80s. There was a big article about it in the paper at the time. Some speculated it was a "convenient" and *insured* fire.

yeah, i remember this place....
right next door they had a little building next door that sell coal

I remember that place, too. I went in there about 1973, browsed around and found a album of 78 rpm records by Lionel Hampton. Took them up to the cashier, she told me they weren't for sale-- even though there was a price tag on them. Very strange-- then I thought, I'll bet she has seen me up the street, on the south corner of Elizabeth and Holloway hanging out and helping Mr. Bob Thacker, who had a antique shop in the downstairs of the house he lived in there. So, no sale-- place was packed with all sorts of stuff, hope some of it found new homes before it burned-- very cool it was a WPA Factory for overalls!!



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