126 EAST FRANKLIN ST.

126 EAST FRANKLIN ST.

126
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1916
/ Modified in
1924, 1953
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
Type: 

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Last updated

  • Fri, 07/10/2020 - 8:47am by SteveR

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126
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1916
/ Modified in
1924, 1953
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
Type: 

 

Samuel J. Brockwell purchased an empty property on the south side of Franklin Street in October 1915, with plans to move his Pickwick Theater into a new building to be built on the lot. By December, construction was underway on the building which was to include an attached "auto station" (a bus service between Chapel Hill and Durham), which was Brockwell's primary business at the time. The 1915 Sanborn map (see excerpt below) shows "to be auto station" and its waiting room, and a circa 1920 photo of the south side of Franklin Street (also see below) shows the station to the right of the theater (indicated by the red arrow) and its detached waiting room.
 
1915 Sanborn map excerpt
 
Circa 1920
 
The business was named "B&B Auto Station," after Samuel J. Brockwell and Theodore E. Best. (It later may have been renamed "Brockwell & Jordan Auto Station").
 
Circa 1921 (same location?)
 
 
The auto station was superceded by (James) Emmett/Emmitt Gooch's Cafe (which moved a few doors east within a few years); circa 1923 it became (Durwood) O'Kelly Tailoring.
 
1920s logo
 
Circa 1923 photo, showing O'Kelly Tailoring at right (via Chapel Hill Historical Society)
 
The building was gutted by a fire in March 1924, but was rebuilt and remodeled, and it reopened May 31, 1924. However, the facade of the building was drastically altered, and O'Kelly Tailoring moved to a new location.
 
At some point after the fire (by the 1940s), it became the College Sandwich Shop, then in 1943 the College Cafe.
 
October 1942 ad
 
"Sandwiches" 1940
 
1947 (between the Pick Theater on the left and the Hill Bakery on the right)
 
The entire structure was drastically remodeled circa 1953 as the Rollins Department Store; Brittain's Shoes occupied the spcae by the late 1950s, and Town Hall Ice Cream occupied the space by the late 1960s. By the late 1970s, it was the Lotus Kitchen Restaurant and then the Golden Dragon Restaurant.
 
The Lotus Kitchen Restaurant, 1977 (via Chapel Hill Historical Society)
 
The Golden Dragon, circa 1983 (via Chapel Hill Historical Society)
 
 
In the 1980s, the structure (known as the "Franklin Centre") was again remodeled (while it appears to be quite a mess, architecturally, it sure looks better than the 1950s remodel), with the facade and interior again being drastically altered. The former distinct addresses have been combined into 128 East Franklin Street. Johnny T Shirt currently occupies the space.
 
Via Google Streetview, view south, 2019

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