Sw Corner Mangum And Parrish (109-119 N Mangum)

35.995506, -78.900459

Cross Street
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Year demolished
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The building on the southwest corner of N. Mangum and W. Parrish was likely built during the 1910s, and contained a number of commercial storefronts on the N. Mangum St. side of the building.

Below, the view from W. Parrish St., looking east, 1940s.


Moving roughly left to right, Rogers Drug Co., the Duke Power Building, 109-119 N. Mangum, and at the right edge, 105-109 W Parrish (currently the "Hair Estate")
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

Below, the view from Mangum and Parrish, looking southwest, 1963.

Walgreens and Kress are to the south of this building - the storefronts on Mangum are visible from this angle.

And the same view in 1968.


From Mangum St. looking west.

This building, along with the Walgreens building to its south, were taken via urban renewal. The site is currently a park.

Looking southwest, 2007.


It is currently a "park," but not much of one. Besides having grass and trees, it doesn't look or feel like a park. In my opinion, the City should RFP/sell this site to a developer and rebuild on it.

Although I think it is a good idea to plant grass and make vacant lots attractive, I don't believe that these areas should necessarily become permanent green spaces. I am all for open space and well-designed parks and plazas, but I think we will have plenty with Durham Central Park, Five points plaza, CCB Plaza/"Corcoran Square," etc.

That vacant lot diminishes two corners on arguably Durham's two most historicially significant streets - Main and Parrish. A well designed building (or buildings) would be a better use of this land. The problem is, it has been a "park" for so long that people would probably complain if it were to be sold off for development, even if that makes the most sense from an urban design perspective (or at least my urban design perspective, which may not be saying much).


Couldn't have said it better myself - thanks for providing the commentary that I would have with more time.

I agree that this park doesn't really work. As I wrote about the new plaza at Corcoran St., you can't create good public space as an afterthought - or from the leftovers after you create higher-speed road infrastructure. You need enclosure, and you need active building faces that front on small urban spaces. (I think bare square at corcoran could have been a good public space if they hadn't insisted on the silly road re-alignment.)

The long side of this park is fronted by the busy, one-way Mangum St and the sides of two buildings across Mangum St. The north side mostly faces a parking lot - only the south side faces the Kress building.

I can't think of a public space that actually works downtown. I think the powers-that-be go on the premise that increasing population alone will solve that problem - but it just doesn't work that way. You can find any number of dense urban areas worldwide where one public space thrives, but a few blocks away, another does not. Because, unfortunately, very little depends on the park 'furniture'/trees/etc. vs. what is around it.


I ranted for quite a while at the theater meeting, when they happily showed that they were going to take some of the extra space and make it "open space." So much of the "open space" downtown is just crap space they threw some trees in and forgot about.

On the other hand, I'm not going to make a ruckus for it to be built on right away. I get the feeling that in the beginning of this big new rebuilding phase we're hopefully entering downtown, a lot of the first attempts are going to be misses, and it will take a few years before architects get a good feel for what works and what doesn't.


I agree with you, but there's also no dearth of study/knowledge out there about what works and what doesn't from a human/pedestrian-scale (and public health) standpoint. It would be more encouraging if it seemed like folks were following the research and lessons learned elsewhere about public space/streetscape rather than treating this like a grand experiment.


I agree that many of our urban parks are leftovers and unused. I see that the tables and benches have been returned to Five Points (you know, where the cool flatiron building in Gary's logo used to be) -- but no one will probably ever use them. The only time I ever did was to get a charity haricut during CenterFest! This space COULD be part of a Ninth Street Bakery outdoor eatery, if it weren't for that danged brick wall inbetween.

At least the Bull City Slackers make use of the Kress park!


Very cool - I love to see interesting, homegrown groups doing neat stuff downtown.

I'd have to agree about Five Points. That spot needs a building, not benches. (I do need to note that the building in my 'headshot' was actually the flatiron building on the opposite triangle - you can check them both out by searching under "Five Points" - sorry to sound complusively corrective, Andy.) I think both triangles at Five Points would benefit from public investment to build buildings - I think it would generate much more bank-for-the-buck in terms of positive externalities in the loop than the huge structures south of the tracks.
How about a new flatiron building for the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau? Their current location flat-out sucks.


doing a little research on a house in Duke Park, and it looks like the Snider-Fletcher jewelry store was in 119 N. Mangum for some time - and I can just make it out in the middle of one of the 1960s photos, with Fletcher's name removed by then (he died in 1941). just a tidbit.

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