We all know that Green Book won Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday night. And as you might know, the actual green book was used by black people to find safe locations to eat, sleep, shop and other things in the South. The book was first printed in 1937 and the last edition was printed in 1967. The Independent Weekly went through several issues and found some of the places in Raleigh and Durham. Here’s what they found.
Biltmore Hotel (322 East Pettigrew Street)
Built in 1929, the Biltmore advertised itself as “America’s Finest Colored Hotel,” and played home to black artists, musicians, tourists, and celebrities in Durham’s Hayti neighborhood—Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and more. It fell into hard times after integration and was razed in 1977. Today, the land, just southeast of Roxboro Street, is a parking lot.
Jones Hotel (502 Ramsey Street)
The Jones Hotel, also in Hayti, was established sometime before 1907. According to the website Open Durham, the hotel appears to have gone out of business at some point in the 1940s (it was still listed in the Green Book as of 1947). The property deteriorated until through the mid-sixties, when it (and Ramsey Street) was demolished as part of urban renewal. The land then sat vacant until 1993, when it became the parking lot of a Chevrolet dealership.
Mrs. Mary Sims (909 Fayetteville Street): The houses at 909, 911, and 1003 Fayetteville Street (now called Old Fayetteville Street) were demolished in 1965 and replaced with Tin City, a home for Hayti businesses displaced by urban renewal. The building now houses The Carolina Times newspaper.
Mrs. S.A. Morris (902 Fayetteville Street:) This is now a shopping center.
Mrs. N. O’Daniel (1005 Fayetteville Street): Interestingly, this block-size house was built by and once belonged to John O’Daniel, who was the slave of the Carr family (and possibly Julian’s half-brother). By the 1940s, the O’Daniels had stopped living there, and it was rented out until 1965, when it was demolished, then turned into part of a housing project that was later abandoned and is now waiting to be redeveloped.
The Arcade Hotel (122 East Hargett Street): During Jim Crow, East Hargett became the epicenter of Raleigh’s black business community, and in 1921, businessman Calvin Lightner built the Lightner Arcade Hotel, which for several decades was the only hotel in the city that catered to African Americans and also the center of Raleigh’s black cultural community. It counted among its guests Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, according to the website Goodnight Raleigh. Lightner eventually lost ownership of the building, but the Arcade Hotel persisted until the late forties, when the NC Homemakers Association acquired the building and changed the hotel’s name to the Home Eckers Hotel. Later, it became the Peebles Hotel until the building was destroyed by a fire in 1970. Now the site is occupied by the city’s municipal bus depot.
Biltmore Hotel: See above.
Jones Hotel: See above.
Congo Grill (Pettigrew Street): This building, at 400 East Pettigrew Street, housed a number of tenants from about 1940 to about 1980, of which Congo was probably the second. The building lasted longer than a lot of its neighbors, but it too was demolished by the early eighties. The land is now a parking lot for Rick Hendrick’s Chevrolet.
Catlett’s (1502 Pettigrew Street): This property is now a residential house owned by Southern Repair Service Incorp and valued at $77,080, according to Durham County property records.
Elvira’s (801 Fayetteville Street): Elvira’s Blue Tavern (the Green Book also listed this under taverns) moved to Pettigrew Street in the late forties, and this building subsequently became a beauty salon and a dentist’s office before being torn down in the early seventies.
De Shazors (809 Fayetteville Street): In 1945, Brooklyn transplant “Madam” Jacqueline DeShazor, the proprietor of DeShazor’s Beauty College, which had opened in this building in 1936, bought it for $42,000. The building stood until sometime around 1970.
D’Orsay (120 S. Magnum Street): This building was eventually torn down to make way for The Loop and surface parking. Nice work, everyone.
Friendly (711 Fayetteville Street): The barbershop was next door to a surgeon’s office and then, after the surgeon died, a dentist’s office. By 1970, these businesses had been replaced by Project Outreach and the Durham Business and Professional Chain. By 1974, it had been torn down. The site is now someone’s front yard.
Blue Tavern (801 Fayetteville Street): See Elvira’s.
Hollywood (118 South Magnum Street): This tavern was in the same building as the D’Orsay beauty parlor.
Granite (Main and Ninth Street): Originally the site of a Methodist church (which had moved in the early forties), this service station was torn down in the mid-fifties and replaced with a more modern version, with a paint store on the remainder of the original church site. It’s now a BP.
Midway (Pine and Poplar Street): We couldn’t find anything on this one.
Pine Street (1102 Pine Street): This, too, is an address that no longer seems to exist.
Union (112 Parrish Street): This shop existed in the building, built in 1920 and now valued at $1.2 million, that sits across the street from the new One City Center. It’s currently home to the Historic Parrish Street Forum and the NC Institute of Minority Economic Development.
Royal (538 East Pettigrew Street): This building housed Royal Dry Cleaners from its opening in 1938 and 1968, when Royal was replaced by a short-lived restaurant. Within a couple of years, the building had been demolished. The land is still vacant.
Lewis (220 East Cabarrus Street): According to an application for the East Raleigh-South Park neighborhood’s historic placement designation, the Lewis Hotel was built in 1923 to accommodate Raleigh’s African American community. Today, it appears to be a parking lot.
Arcade Hotel: See above.
B&H Cafe (411 South Blount Street): The site of this restaurant is now a downtown condo building.
Chicken Shack (Cross and Lake Street): We couldn’t find anything on this one.
Sales (222 South Tarboro Street): This site is now a residential neighborhood.
Savoy (410 South Blount Street): The site of this tavern is now a condo building.
Capitol (Phone 9137): There is still a Capital Cab in Raleigh, but we don’t know if they’re related. The number sure isn’t the same.
Peerless (103 West Jones Street): This site sat across the street from the legislative building in what apparently is now the SECU building.
Progressive (spelled Provressive) (Smithfield and Bloodworth Streets): Couldn’t find any info on this.
Richardson & Smith (108 East Lenoir Street): This now appears to be a parking lot.
DeShazor’s Hostelry (809 Fayetteville Street): See above.
Bull City Restaurant (412 Pettigrew Street): The Bull City Cafe shared space with a barbershop that remained open until the building was razed in 1977.
College Inn Restaurant (1306 Fayetteville Street): The building was likely constructed around 1935, and College Inn was probably here from then until 1950. Since 2005, it’s been home to the restaurant New Visions of Africa.
Biltmore Hotel (322 East Pettigrew Street): See above.
Bloodsworth Street Tourist Home (424 South Bloodsworth Street): This property now appears to be a vacant lot. It’s two doors down from The Guest House, a first boutique hotel in an 1880s house moved six blocks to this location by husband-and-wife team Matt Tomasulo and Nicole Alvarez.
DeLuxe Hotel (220 East Cabarrus Street): At some point, the Lewis Hotel was apparently renamed the DeLuxe Hotel.
Home Eckers Hotel: (122 East Hargett Street): See Arcade Hotel.
Legion Home Restaurant (416 East Cabarrus Street): This site is today a vacant lot owned by the city of Raleigh and valued at $80,000.
New York Restaurant (108 East Hargett Street): This building now houses The Architect Bar.
Stanton’s Cafe-Restaurant (319 South East Street): This site is now a single-family home.
Starksville Guest House (809 East Bragg Street): This site now holds a four-unit building constructed in 1970, remodeled in 1980, and taken over by the city of Raleigh in 1998.
YMCA (600 South Bloodworth Street): A block-long building constructed in 1989, this was the Boy’s Dormitory for the State School for the Negro Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, and was the only building from that school that still stood as of 1990. It’s now a parking lot.
It’s sad that a lot of the places didn’t survive, but it’s great to know that North Carolina and the Triangle area was a part of something BIG!
Whatever Happen To The ‘Green Book’ Locations In The Triangle was originally published on hiphopnc.com