402 South Driver, March 2007.
A little tour to East Durham today after, sadly, a serious fire caused major damage to an important piece of architecture for the future of East Durham
The early history of 402 South Driver, the building on the southwest corner of Angier Avenue and South Driver St., is a bit unclear. It appears that the portion of the building facing on South Driver Street was probably built in the 1910s, and the storefront appearance on the corner and Angier Avenue side (2026 Angier Avenue) likely added in the 1920s.
By the late 1920s, 402 S. Driver housed Boone's Drug, perhaps a branch of DL Boone's drugstore of the same name located downtown at N. Mangum and Orange Sts. The physician office of James Shuler was located upstairs, along with CM Headache Powders.
By the 1940s, the drugstore had become Carswell Drug; Dr. Shuler's office was still located upstairs, along with Tracy Beasley's watch repair shop. Abernathy and Batten Barber Shop was located on the Angier Avenue side of the building.
By the late 1950s, the drugstore had become Sullivan's Pharmacy
Of late, the building had held the Atlantic Food Mart. On March 20, 2009, a serious fire started in the upstairs of the building. The building appears to have sustained some serious damage.
402 South Driver, 03.21.09.
Although repairable, the lack of significant funds invested in the rehabilitation of this building to date do not bode well for an even more expensive rehab at this point. I can't stress enough (or an adequate number of times) how essential I believe the preservation of these buildings at Angier and Driver St. are to the future of East Durham. This building, and the old Fidelity Bank building across Angier Avenue, are the architectural jewels of the intersection.
The broader point is that it seems to be a fallacy among public officials (and to a lesser extent, the private sector) that the stock of historic buildings is stable, with the exception of the building they've decided to tear down. This, and the numerous buildings destroyed over the history of Durham by various calamities should make clear the 'natural' attrition of buildings. Even if we were to stop tearing historic buildings down, we would continue to lose structures due to ice, hurricanes, fire, subsidence, and the like.
(Below in italics is from the 2004 East Durham National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)
Former Seagroves Grocery.
Prominent, architecturally significant 2-story brick commercial building located at the comer of Angier Ave., with a diagonal entrance facing the intersection. The east elevation facing Driver St. has conmon bond brick, segmentally-arched windows and a corbeled cornice. In contrast, the north elevation facing Angier Ave. has a stylish dark red brick veneer with a flat parapet with a geometric design of raised and contrasting brick. Windows have original 1-over-1 sashes. Apparently both facades are original and reflect the greater importance of Angier Ave. as a transportation corridor. At 2026 Angier Ave., on the north side, is an original store that has been a barber shop for many years. An original 1-story rear wingcontains 2 stores (2024 and 2022 Angier Ave.) The parapets feature the same brickwork as the main block, although storefronts are replacements. The 1913 Sanborn Map shows a house on this site.
1930 CD: Boone Drug Co. at No. 402; Lindsay P. Seagroves Grocery at No. 404. 1940 CD: Carswell Drugs and Andrews' Meat Market. Dr. Shuler had offices on the 2nd floor.
Find this spot on a Google Map.