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
Designed by Milburn & Heister as a Freemasons Lodge in 1924, the building was acquired by Durham County during the Great Depression. It has been vacant since 1992, and deterioration of the roof has resulted in significant water damage, especially to the top floor. The Eligibility Building and the vacant site to its east were purchased in 2007 but the status of any renovation project remains uncertain.
What’s Needed: Preservation Durham supports the redevelopment of the building and infill development on the adjoining lot. Ideally, the development would encourage uses that re-engage the street level and re-open the once gracious storefronts. Until a full renovation can be completed, the building should be secured and stabilized, starting with repairs to the roof