1920s view of Old West Durham's business district on the east side of Ninth Street. It includes the Bank of West Durham and, just to the left, McDonald's Drug store, built in 1918 and still standing with an altered facade. (Courtesy of the Historic Preservation Society of Durham)
Ninth Street in 1938. Old brick, two-story Post Office rises next to the mill pond. The smaller building on the side was a shoe shop (Pud's Repair) run by Pud Pendergrass. Corner gas station across the street is where the BP station is today. Bagels are now sold in the West Durham Bank (upper-right).
Before the gas station, this corner was home to the West Durham Methodist church. The original chapel was built in 1896 (left) and the larger church was added as membership grew.
An aerial shot from the northwest of the Ninth Street area and Erwin Cotton Mills. (Courtesy of the Historic Preservation Society of Durham)
Ernest Cheek (Cheek's Cleaners), Angus McDonald (McDonald's Drug Store) and John Dailey (Dailey's Hardware & Appliance Store) survey the new parking lot on the west side Ninth Street circa 1960. (Photo courtesy of Jim Eubanks)
Brewer's Pharmacy: Now Ninth Street Florist and the Toy Store. As a child, Lois Wistrand remembers going to the Union Hall over Brewer's Drug Store. Someone was always posted outside. The shades and curtains were always pulled. During worker strikes, the union gave out bags of flour, sugar and lard.
Old bank that is now a popular bagel shop.
The West Durham Post Office stood at the corner of Main and Ninth Street, occupying part of Erwin Mills. It was torn down in 1961 (below).
This was taken on Ninth Street in 1964. The mill village stretched right up to the edge of Erwin Mills. This old mill house was taken down to make room for the parking lot on Ninth Street. According to one long-time merchant, William Erwin would take kids who misbehaved to the top of this mill tower (later shortened) and have a little heart-to-heart. Photos courtesy of John McDonald.
Did you know that, for many years, the sidewalk in front of the Ninth Street shops was covered with a metal awning? In February 1987, a vicious ice storm toppled most of the awnings. The last segment of the old metal awning was removed when Charlie's Bar & Grill arrived on Ninth Street in 2001.
Ninth Street, February 1987. There were few businesses open on Ninth during this time period.
Ninth Street Myth
The gaunt houses line the street in a desolate mill row.
Grown skeletal from autumn, and behind them the mill,
Eyeing the ten cent toys, but buying fat back, loafing
Frost cracks this world apart, streets limit it:
Like a simple empty alley, this Ninth Street has an end,
Grey as molded straw, a silent fungus world where peace
Special thanks to Tom Campbell at the