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Commercial Building (Woolworth's)

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1937, J. Bryant Heard. 501 Main St.

Typical of Heard's Art Deco work, this former Woolworth's store features simplified massing and decorative elements, forming an almost stark effect. This is relieved by tall reeding on the parapet and a scalloped belt course beneath the second-story windows; the original large letters spelling out the Woolworth name (now removed) would have added a lively touch. In the 1950s, Woolworth's separate lunch counters for blacks and whites led to civil rights sit-ins here. The store closed in 1992. Next door at 515 Main the former L. Herman Department Store (1910) was designed by Charles G. Pettit Jr. for Louis Herman, a president of the Danville Knitting Mills. Although the street-level storefront was modernized in the mid-twentieth century, the windows of the upper two stories are handsomely outlined by rusticated masonry, and a projecting cornice with modillions concludes the building.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Commercial Building (Woolworth's)", [Danville, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 371-371.

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