Little Five Points
Intersection of North Mangum, Corporation, and Cleveland Streets
Street in 1926. Named for Dr. Samuel Dace McPherson, the 24-bed hospital was a pioneer in eye, ear, nose and throat care here before moving in 2005 to a new building on N. Roxboro Road. This building is currently owned by Concord Hospitality Enterprises Corporation, who plan to expand and convert the building for hotel use pending additional funding. In 2008, 1940s and 1960s additions to the hospital were removed, leaving the historic 1926 portion of the building exposed to the elements.
What’s Needed: Immediate protection for the exposed portions of the building to prevent further decay. Full restoration and use that would create positive activity along the street and provide a
500-600 Block of Holloway Street
Durham’s best examples of Mid-Century Modern commercial design include the 1963 Jack Tar Motel, the 1968 Mutual Community Savings Bank, the 1960 Holiday Inn, and the 1966 North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Once seen as ‘futuristic’, many people now see these buildings as dated. However, they remain valuable pieces of the Bull City revitalization puzzle.
What’s Needed: The Mutual Community Savings Bank and the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Building remain in use as office space, with future plans for the Mutual Community Savings Bank to include a ground-floor restaurant or design firm. We hope that these buildings can be a stronghold for citizens to embrace the recent past. The Holiday Inn and Jack Tar
Fendol Bevers Farmstead
5713 Leesville Road
Why it’s important:
The Fendol Bevers Farm, straddling Leesville Road near Briar Creek, is a remarkable early farmstead that dates to about 1850. This early I-House has Greek Revival details, a stone foundation and chimneys, original windows with ornamented surrounds, and an intact interior. Early farm buildings surrounding it include a kitchen house, smoke house, and several tobacco barns and storage sheds. Fendol Bevers was Raleigh’s City Engineer and surveyed Wake County. His 1871 survey map helped establish the Durham County borders when it split from Wake County 10 years later. In 1895, after Bevers’ death, the house and farm were sold to J. Elmer Ross.
The Fendol Bevers Farm may be one of the best preserved
Historic Gas Stations
Why They’re Important:
Gas stations represent some of Durham’s most endangered but least recognized historic structures. Pre-war gas stations (built prior to 1945) were typically made of brick. Key examples include stations in East Durham on the corner Guthrie and Angier and another further east on 2620 Angier, near Hoover. Both of these stations are owned by M. M. Fowler (who sold the station that was recently remodeled as Geer Street Garden).
Post-war gas stations (built after 1945) were often built of steel and glass, reflecting a style that can best be described as mid-century commercial vernacular. The most distinctive features of these gas stations are their long, metal triangular canopies that evoke the tailfins of space-age automobile
Issue Background and Overview:
The South Bank building, which sits at the Five Points intersection downtown, was built in 1974. The building, which is surrounded by parking, has poor siting. Additionally, the massing of the building is inconsistent with the surrounding area. However, in a time when 70’s era buildings are being torn down without a second thought, the building is worthy of preserving.
Issue Background and Overview:
The Jack Tar Motel, colloquially known as the “Oprah Building”, was built in 1962. It sits on the edge of CCB Plaza, and it was connected via skywalk to the original Washington Duke Hotel, which was across the street. It exhibits many features of classic 1960s architecture, including the turquoise facade, flat roof, and ribbon windows. This building sits on a prime piece of downtown real estate, and PD is concerned that it will soon be threatened.
Issue Background and Overview:
McPherson Hospital, built in 1926, was the first hospital in Durham. It functioned as a medical center until 2005, when the Eye and Ear Hospital relocated. A developer quickly purchased the property, asked for a rezoning, and unveiled plans to turn it into a boutique hotel. The property was subsequently sold to another developer, who reconfigured the plans for the building into a larger extended-stay hotel. By 2009, any signs of construction had come to a complete halt. In 2013, the developers asked the city and the county for tax incentives, which Preservation Durham supported. The project is slated to start construction in 2014.
3/18/13: Email to membership
5/4/13: Herald Sun article
5/6/13: Herald Sun article
5/30/13: Email to membership
6/3/13: Herald Sun article
6/25/13: Email to
Issue Background and Overview
Liberty Warehouse is the last remaining tobacco auction warehouse in Durham. Built in 1940, the structure was packed every summer and fall with farmers coming to sell their freshly harvested tobacco. Auctions were held there until 1984. In 2006, the building was purchased by Greenfire Development, and in 2010, the company had it designated as a local landmark. In 2011, a portion of the roof collapsed. The businesses inside were flooded, and the building was condemned. In May 2013, Greenfire petitioned city council to remove the landmark designation. Preservation Durham initially opposed the de-landmarking, but when it became apparent that city council was going to vote to remove the listing, PD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding
Issue Overview and Background:
The Historic Preservation Commission has recently been criticized as being obstructionist and anti-development. The commission, a quasi-judicial body, exists for the purpose implementing and following design guidelines for local historic districts. While the design guidelines can be opaque and confusing for applicants, the planning department does not currently have the staffing capability to provide in-depth assistance through the process. The commission makes fact-based decisions, which Preservation Durham supports.
- 4/14/13: News and Observer article