North Mangum St. Bus Station

35.996645, -78.899683

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Looking north at the intersection of N. Mangum St. and Rigsbee Ave. and SE Rochelle's motorcycle club, ~1910.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The northeast portion of what we now consider 'downtown' was a primarily residential area well into the early 20th century, gradually supplanted by commercial structures during the 1920s and onward.

Above, an aerial view of the E. Chapel Hill St, Rigsbee Ave, N. Mangum 'triangle' in 1924. Many of the houses in the first picture have been demolished (although the house at the left edge of the frame in the first picture is still visible at the left edge of the above picture) and supplanted by commericial buildings and gas stations.

One of the buildings constructed on the triangle was Rochelle's bike and motorcycle shop, already profiled. The other commercial structures were two gas stations and the main bus station. One of the gas stations is visible in the above picture, at the southern 'point' of the triangle.

The bus station had previously been located further west on East Chapel Hill St. near the intersection of Corcoran and E. Chapel Hill. It appears to have moved to this location in the late 1920s or early 1930s.


The bus station in 1940, looking east from Rigsbee Ave. Rochelle's shop is to the left, and the steeple of Trinity Methodist is visible in the distance.
(Courtesy Library of Congress)

The below picture is extraordinary - It is hard to find pictures that document segregation in Durham. But the entire combination - including "Hitler's Love Life" is an amazing composition.

Looking west-northwest along the north side of the bus station - the post office is visible in the background.
(Courtesy Library of Congress)

Another picture documenting the segregation of the bus station - looking north along the east side of the bus station, up North Mangum St, 1940. (The intersection of N. Mangum and East Chapel Hill is in the background. Note the residential character beyond.)
(Courtesy Library of Congress)

Bus station from Rigsbee Ave., early 1940s.

Bus station, looking southeast, early 1940s.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In 1942, the new bus station was built on East Main St. at Dillard St.
The old station was converted to a 'service canteen' for WWII soliers.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking east from Rigsbee Ave, 1944
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

After the war, the building became a pool hall.

Looking north from Rigsbee and N. Mangum - a service station is in the foreground, followed (along Mangum) by the old bus station and another service station - 06.07.61
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Looking southwest at the very cool art deco station at 404 East Chapel Hill Street, 1952
(Courtesy Wayne Henderson)

Looking southwest at the corner of East Chapel Hill St. and North Mangum, 1960. The service station appears to be vacant.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking north from Rigsbee and Mangum, 1961.

In 1961, these buildings were demolished by the city for surface parking (prior to the urban renewal program.)

At least we know they removed the USTs - 06.07.61
(Courtesy the Herald-Sun)

Looking southwest from North Mangum and East Chapel Hill, 1961.

Looking north from Rigsbee and Mangum, 1961.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking north from Rigsbee and Mangum, 1961.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)

The completed parking lot, 1963.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Looking southwest from East Chapel Hill and North Mangum, 1970.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

In the late 1960s, Durham closed the one block section of Rigsbee that ran between East Chapel Hill St. and North Mangum St., after having taken the buildings on the west side of Rigsbee via urban renewal. With the new, large parcel, they began construction of a new parking structure.

Looking southwest from East Chapel Hill and North Mangum, 1970.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

This behemoth is still with us, albeit with bright reddish accents

Looking north from the former intersection of Rigsbee and North Mangum, 2007.

Looking east at the former site of the bus station, 2007

Looking north up North Mangum along the east side of the former bus station.

Looking southwest from East Chapel Hill St. and North Mangum.

While I've hit a pretty constant drumbeat on the need for first floor retail or liner buildings to mitigate or eliminate the deadening effect that parking garages have on the streetscape, this one just needs to go away. The space here - with some great architecture around it - on East Chapel Hill, Orange, Parrish, and Mangum/Main (everything, essentially, except City Hall) is too valuable to be blotted out by a parking garage. This is a central space, and whether it contained public space or public space + new development, it should not be wasted on parking (particularly parking which obliterates the view of the post office, Rue Cler, etc.)



Do you have any idea when the update to the downtown masterplan is supposed to be revealed? At the first charette, we certainly made it very clear that decks such as this one were very deadening and obtrusive. I hope the consultants spell that out in their report. Yes, this is one structure that does need to be demolished.

Any idea what that (Pepsi?) advertisement on the wall in the late 50s B&W shot is all about? Looks like it says, "Be sociable."


PS I heard Ann Atwater speak at First Presby yesterday morning. She had some fantastic stories about arriving in Durham ("where I thought the streets were paved in gold.") at the bus station you profiled on Main and Dillard.

One thing I hadn't realized: SHE offered the eulogy at CP Ellis' funeral in 2005. Can you imagine his shock if somebody had told him in the 1960s that a black woman would give his eulogy because she was the one who knew him best? This is an amazing town.

In the photo titled, "The completed parking lot, 1963. (Courtesy Durham County Library) - corner_chst_rigsbee_mangum.jpg", what is the name of the Billiards place next to the McGhee Furniture Co.? It is too blurry for me to read. Thanks!


Thanks Gary. I was on the wrong street. The full name is The Brass Rail billiards, btw. It started out as the Deluxe Billiard Parlor in 1944, then changed to The Brass Rail billiards in 1947. (Location always remained at 405 E. Main St.)

I am finally trying to figure out the history of my grandfather and father's ownership of the Duke Sport Shop on 123 Orange Street (now West Orange Street). I'm not done yet, but it turns out that my grandfather was also the co-owner of Paddock Billiard Parlor (later Paddock Sport Shop) at 311 N. Mangum Street. I seem to have found photos of every block side but this one. When I am done, or about done, I'll send you a copy for your input. It will need to be a work in progress. OK?

Sounds great - and feel free to edit the 405 E Chapel Hill or 123 Orange posts yourself. Thanks!

If you look at the pictures above (looking north from Rigsbee and Mangum) of the ~gas station/automotive structure, you'll notice the vertical "Billiards" sign on the east side of the building. That's 311 N. Mangum. It's official home is this post:


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