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
Why It’s Important:
Carpenter Motor Company at 600 E. Main Street is the only commercial building left on three blocks of downtown’s main thoroughfare. The county demolished the 500 block of East Main for a surface parking lot in 2008, and eight buildings were lost during this demolition, including the historic commercial properties of 526 East Main, 523 East Peabody Street, and 111 South Dillard Street.
Constructed in 1923 of masonry and steel, the Carpenter Motor Company building is nestled into the southwest corner of South Elizabeth, East Main, and Walker Streets. The ground floor contains floor-to-ceiling windows, and the upper stories have large, original, 24-light, factory-style, single-pane windows. The building stands alone