409 Church Street

Sherman and Millie Purefoy House
409 Church Street
c. 1910

This one-story, side-gable frame house with a decorative front gable represents the earliest house type that survives in the Northside neighborhood. Such houses were popular with middle-class Black families in the early twentieth century. Its decorative features include a diamond-shaped ventilator in the front gable and a front-hipped porch with boxed posts. The house apparently occupied a sizable tract of land in the early twentieth century that has been subdivided since then. In recent years, as the university has expanded, this house has been converted to a multifamily rental building by the addition of a large rear wing. This was the home of Sherman Purefoy; his wife, Mollie J.; and their son, Sherman Jr. Sherman Purefoy worked at the university laundry. Mollie had a flourishing home business stretching and starching the white cotton curtains that were fashionable in middle-class white homes in the mid-twentieth century.

Sources: Rebecca Clark, telephone conversation with author, May 24, 2004; 1957 City Directory.

SOURCE: M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2006), 219.



409 Church Street