Moving Back Downtown
In January of 2015, the Fayetteville Regional Chamber returned to downtown Fayetteville, opening our new offices at 159 Maxwell St.
The converted warehouse building was the last property in the state to receive historic tax credits for downtown revitalization before they were removed by state legislators.
We're excited to be back in the heart of Fayetteville. Here's a look at some of the great history behind this building.
The Chamber's New Home
- So what do we gain by moving into this building? Several things actually:
- The Chamber has looked for many years for a permanent home in downtown, as most Chambers find better success being in the heart of their communities.
- In our previous home, meeting and conference room space was very limited. Here, we gain a board room and multiple large conference rooms, allowing us to serve our members better.
- For essentially the same cost as our previous home, our new home gives us nearly twice the space. We have flexibility for future expansion and are able to better utilize shared resources.
- In choosing this building in particular, we were able to be a part of an historic revitalization project, bringing attention to an oft-forgotten portion of Downtown Fayetteville. The hope is by joining great neighbors already in this area, we’ll be able to push more businesses to find revitalization opportunities of their own as Fayetteville grows and prospers.
- One of three remaining warehouse complexes in the Fayetteville Downtown National Register District along with 136 Bow Street (1831) and 226 Donaldson Street (1914).
- Loading bay doors were useful for the trains to deliver freight to the original grocery warehouse.
- Originally built in 1908 as J.H. Culbreth & Co. Warehouse, although there is evidence of an earlier building on the site. By 1923 the second story was added, and the original outline of the stepped parapet roof is still visible on the East side.
- Deed for the property shows earliest definitive deed in 1882, when John W. Welsh and wife transferred the property to John L. Allen and Silas Sheetz. Three years later it was again transferred from Welsh to S.G. Rankin and J.L. Allen. There is no mention of a building at that point.
- Both of those original deed owners were manufacturers of sashes and blinds, of which there are a number of shops noted on the history of this block.
- Two of Fayetteville’s leading 19th century builders took deed of the property in 1886. Ruffin and Christopher Vaughn built places like Campground Methodist Church, Fair Oaks and the E.A. Poe House. The deed in 1886 shows no building, but a company called The Novelty Works was in the general area and was likely in this spot. They primarily made building materials, sashes and blinds.
- An 1891 map shows a structure was built here between 1886 and 1891, possibly before.
The Culbreth family purchased the property in 1902, and a Fayetteville Observer article from the time notes a new building will be built for his “rapidly growing commission businesses”.
- The Fayetteville City Directory from 1909-1910 lists J.H. Culbreth and Company as being owned by J.H. Culbreth and Leighton Huske. There were 66 retail grocers and 7 wholesale grocers in the city at the time.
- A 1922 Observer article mentions Culbreth spending $5,000 (roughly $70,000 today) on a store on what is now Russell Street. That was likely the second floor expansion.
- Around 1930, after the death of Culbreth, the building was used by Carolina Tractor and Equipment Company and then a wholesale plumbing company in the 1950s. A variety of other businesses were in here, but it was most recently occupied by William Zimmerman for his cabinetry business.
- Today, the building stands as one of the last in the state to receive Historic Tax Credits. The credits were removed Jan. 1 of 2015 by the state legislature, however there is progress in getting them restored, as many projects like this would not be possible without them.
- Because of the historic nature of the property, many elements of the building had to remain intact. The floors, outer walls, beams and ceilings were all left mostly as is, with changes allowed for safety.
- A 2-3 foot wide brick wall runs underneath the middle of the building to support the wood columns. The weight of products on the floors in various areas around the center has created the bowed flooring and sloped rooms you see today. This is especially true near what would have been the loading docks on the railroad side of the building, where much of the heaviest products and equipment were stored.
- That side of the building was also the most prone to damage from the sun, and is a primary reason carpet is in the finance office and three offices upstairs.