Us70/i-85 At Roxboro Road - Gas Stations - N Roxboro And Higbee

36.015982, -78.890593

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
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The 1927 comprehensive plan described the area north of Knox Street between Duke St. on the west and Roxboro Road on the east as comprised of "a great variety of scenery - some of the finest in Durham - rugged bluffs and deep ravines, as well as smooth meadows. It is so accessible and varied in its scenery and so well adapted to park purposes that it should be promptly acquired." The plan advocated a large greenbelt park running through this area that would follow Ellerbe Creek, and encircle Durham. I've posted the whole map before here.

An excerpt of the map showing the greenbelt, inclusive of Duke Park.
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

Priorities had changed by World War II, and, by the late 1940s, it was deemed necessary to relieve traffic pressure through downtown by building a bypass for US70 through the 'fine scenery' - construction on this bypass began in 1952-53. The formerly rural/wooded area between the Duke Park neighborhood and Bragtown to the north was transformed into a landscape typical of the highway penumbra: fast food, gas stations, and other bits of Americana.

Looking southwest, 1960, at new gas stations at the intersection of Higbee and Roxboro, adjacent to the newish Highway 70 bypass.
(Courtesy Wayne Henderson)

The bypass was eventually integrated into the interstate highway project, linked near its west and east ends with Interstate 85.

While on the south side of the freeway, Duke Park gives a sense of the beauty once characteristic of this landscape, there is little reminder here.

Looking southwest at the same location, 01.17.09

Find this spot on a Google Map.



I'm excited that you're covering this part of town. I grew up in Bragtown, and there are several old (now gone) buildings about which I've always been curious.

This spot brings back memories. In the 60s, that McDonad's (on the left) was one of the old-style red and white striped with the huge arches that arched over the entire building. Relatives lived within walking distance, and it seemed like you could smell French fries from their house. (No doubt the imagination of a pre-schooler can conjure such things.)

I have to laugh; now McD's is practically an everyday thing, but it was a rare treat for us to walk over for a small drink and fries. I was a sad kid when they remodeled that and the old drive-up Shoney's. It took some of the fun out of going.

I remember the old Shoneys and Pizza Hut as well! I was pretty sad when Pizza Village threw in the towel a few years back but that whole area has been sliding downhill for a while, especially being anchored by K-Mart Plaza or whatever it's being called nowadays

Not immediately relevant, but I am trying to figure out what the huge boarded up brick building on Main at Watts used to be. New to the area and think Endangered Durham is incredible. I'm a junkie for this stuff. Sue


Thank you! It's the old McPherson Hospital - Check this post. You can always use the map linked to the left to help identify places that you don't know the name of, but can find them on the map.


Pizza Village. Wow. I've not thought about that in many years.

Is the Kmart building at the end of Foushee still empty?

^yep Kmart is still empty along with the old Carmike movie theater leaving Big Lots and that grocery store that replaced Winn Dixie, Compare Foods as anchors...I would love to see a pic of Pharmor when it was in that center...

Revealing my age to you youngsters, before McDonalds golden arches moved there, it was Neal's Drive In. On the other side of the street was the OhBoy, home of the Hi-Boy hamburger, McD's never had a burger that good. Most of my friends didn't care too much for McD's then, except for the fries. Sometime after the OhBoy I think there was a hot dog place there that advertised "steamed in beer" dogs. I wasn't around much then, but I still miss the OhBoy.
This site is fanatastic, by the way, I remember a lot of the places that are now gone, wishing I had paid more attention, but bringing back fond memories.

The "steamed" hot dog place was "Lums". Steamed hot dogs were not what we wanted when you could go have an Amos and Andy dog, downtown. Lums sat were the Subway is now...and before that was Pizza Village. Next to where the Pic 'n Pay shoes. The McD's moved a couple of times too. As I remember was orginially where it is now...but it moved to where the parking and the current Arby's is now...which used to be Bunkey's Carwash was in the 70's. The Chesterfield Motel was next to Shoney's. You could get 2 burgers, fries and a drink for under a dollar at McD...and they were still counting burgers in the thousands at that time...remember that on the signs...and they would change the numbers. Burgers were 20 cents and cheese burgers were 25. I miss the old Arby's building that looked like a hat...and that was not that long ago. My 20 yr. old son remembers that. I grow up in Duke Park (61) and bought my first hoome there too (88).

Anybody remember the funky motel that was across (south) from Arby's? now it's a field...

The Chesterfield, had to stay there once.

Did anyone notice how clean and crisp both the Esso and Pure stations appeared in the 1960 photo? Not such a traveler's oasis in the contemporary view.

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