Durham Kress History
The Durham Kress building is one of the largest and most elaborately decorated Art Deco buildings in North
Carolina. Completed in 1933, the building was home to the popular S. H. Kress & Co. five-and-dime store. Samuel
H. Kress strongly believed in providing well-designed and constructed shopping environments to encourage his
customers to come back often. In fact, the S. H. Kress & Co. employed its own division of architects who were
responsible for designing more than 200 Kress stores in 30 states across the country, including the downtown
Durham store at 101-103 West Main Street.
In addition to its architectural significance, the building has historic relevance. The S. H. Kress & Co.
building was one of Durham's first air-conditioned buildings--a feature that undoubtedly brought numerous
customers through the door during the hot summer months. The building was also the site of lunch counter
sit-ins during the Civil Rights era.
For more information about S.H. Kress & Co. and the architecture of its buildings, visit
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