the Green Wall

photo by THaddeus Hunt of the Durham Street Art Tumblr

Demolition has begun on the Austin Lawrence property that once held Durham’s iconic “Green Wall” as well as being, more importantly, the site of Woolworth’s Drug Store and an important civil rights action. Deconstruction has consigned Matthew Currin’s and Derek Toomes’ terrific mural to memory.

Green Wall photo-Tad Hunt

photo by Tad Hunt on the Durham Street Art Tumblr


It did reveal a fascinating piece of art in the former Mr. Shoe location.

122 West Main Street 'Mr. Shoe' (Courtesy Durham County Library)

122 West Main Street ‘Mr. Shoe’ (Courtesy Durham County Library via

This space, after a fire in the adjacent Parrish Street addresses in 2001, was largely abandoned.

From the Parrish Street side, 2001. (Courtesy Durham County Library via

From the Parrish Street side, 2001. (Courtesy Durham County Library via


Mr. Shoe on Main Street shot facing NW (Courtesy Durham County Library via


Our sources say that the subsequently closed and abandoned Mr. Shoe building became an artists’ studio and collective work space some time in the early 2000. There was no central air or good ventilation, so it was swelteringly hot during the Summers.

When the Green Wall came tumbling down we discovered this amazing relic (also now demolished).

behind the green wall 1


behind the green wall 3

These photos were taken on February 23rd, 2015 by our Editor.


behind the green wall 2


behind the green wall 4

Our sources speculate this painting was done by an artist from Chicago who was part of the studio collective when nights inside the loop were pretty quiet. (Save for Ringside.)

If you know more about this story, the artist, the piece, the studio space, and/or Mr. Shoe, we’d love to hear it.

If you are looking for an update on the tear down, we got these photos from an elevated angle today.

above the green wall site

Green Wall 3.9.15 demo 4

Green Wall 3.9.15 demo 2

Green Wall 3.9.15 demo 3

Green Wall 3.9.15 demo 1

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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