159-161 E. FRANKLIN ST. / STROWD BUILDING

159-161 E. FRANKLIN ST. / STROWD BUILDING

159-161
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1922
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
National Register: 
Type: 

This two-story brick building was built in 1922, and is home to one of the oldest businesses in Chapel Hill: Sutton's Drugstore.

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Last updated

  • Wed, 02/10/2021 - 4:39pm by SteveR

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159-161
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1922
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
National Register: 
Type: 

 

1947 (photo by Bayard Wootten)

 

This two-story brick building was built in 1922 (yes, that's 1922, not 1923) by/for Robert L. Strowd. It is sometimes erroneously called the "Stroud Building," but its proper spelling is "Strowd." The property itself was purchased by Strowd and business partner Lueco Lloyd in October 1915; in July 1919 Lloyd sold his share to Strowd. The property was originally lots 6, 7, and 8 of the Walter Grimes property.

The first occupants of this structure were (Jack) Sparrow's fresh fruits/smokes/newspapers shop (in the western side), the University Cafeteria (in the eastern side), and Carolina Dry Cleaners in the basement. 

January 1923 ad

 

In May 1923, Orange Print Shop moved into the basement of the building. In July 1923, Sparrow's moved out of the building and James L. Sutton and J. L. Alderman (Sutton's brother-in-law) opened the Sutton & Alderman Drugstore in the space. In September 1926, Orange Print Shop moved out. In 1932, Robert W. Foister moved his camera/photography store ("Foister's") into the eastern side after the University Cafeteria moved out. In 1936, L&L Beauty Shop moved into the basement space after Carolina Dry Cleaners moved out.

July 5, 1923 ad

1925 Sanborn map excerpt (Sutton's is at #152 on this map)

 

In 1949, Dr. Duncan M. Gentinger operated a dentistry business upstairs. The J. Harvey Turner law firm opened upstairs in August 1951. The John Q. LeGrand law firm was upstairs in 1953. By 1953 University Printery was located in the basement.

In 1957, the upstairs was occupied by Caro Loan Company, Town Classes Secretarial School, Hurlburt Henry (a manufacturer's agent), and Chas Hopkins of Chapel Hill (a jewelry designer). In 1958 Young & Wilkins moved out.

In 1962, the upstairs was occupied by John LeGrand (lawyer), Caro Loan Company, P. Cleveland Gardner (real estate), the American Cancer Society (Orange County Unit), Town Classes Secretarial School, Hurlburt Henry (a manufacturer's agent), Chas Hopkins of Chapel Hill (jewelry designer), and Duncan M. Getsinger (dentist). In the basement was Sutton's Toy Cellar and University Printery.

In 1979 Audio Works took over Foister's space, then was Barrel of Fun (a "gameroom") by 1983. By 1997 the space was a coffee shop and roastery: First it was Judge's, then the Coffee Mill, then Jack Sprat Cafe.

1977 (photo via Chapel Hill Historical Society)

Interior of Foister's, 1947 (photo by Bayard Wootten)

Interior of Foister's, 1958

2003 (photo via Chapel Hill Historical Society)

 

Upstairs was a Bandidos restaurant in the late 1990s, then the upstairs became Player's dance club.

Sutton's continues to occupy the western side (#159); the lunch counter section has become very popular over the years (decades, actually) and is still in business, but the pharmacy was bought out by CVS in June 2014 and John Woodard (owner of the business since 1977) retired. Sutton's is now entirely owned/operated by Don Pinney, who "was" the former manager and has worked at Sutton's since the 1970s.

August 2019 (via Google Streetview)

 

From "Chapel Hill Historic District Boundary Increase and Additional Documentation" (not verified for accuracy by this author):

"The Strowd Building is a two-bay, two-story, buff-brick commercial building with brick pilasters dividing and flanking the bays and a corbelled brick parapet with concrete coping. Both storefronts retain their original configuration with recessed center entrances. The left (west) storefront has paired, aluminum-framed glass doors and a terrazzo floor that reads “Suttons since 1923”. The recessed entrance is flanked by display windows on a paneled brick bulkhead and is sheltered by a fabric awning. A wide entablature with a denticulated cornice spans the full width of the storefront, above the transom, and is supported by consoles at the outer corners. The right (east) storefront retains little original fabric with a aluminum-framed glass door centered on the façade and flanked by grouped casement windows on a stucco-covered brick bulkhead. A slate-covered pent roof is supported by decorative brackets with drip finials and extends the full width of the storefront, covering the transom. A gable, centered on the pent roof, has faux half-timbering. The second floor features replacement fixed-pane windows with soldiercourse and header-course brick headers and continuous concrete sills. Concrete panels in the left and right bays of the parapet read “Strowd” and “Building,” respectively. The side elevations feature redbrick construction, boarded windows, and terra cotta coping. Entrances to the basement and second story are located on the left elevation, facing a narrow alley, and are accessed by a metal fire stair and sheltered by fabric awnings. A plaque on the building indicates that it was built by Robert L. Strowd in 1923 and the building appears on the 1925 Sanborn map with a drugstore in the left bay."

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