407 Ottawa Street – Sher-Hannah House

The 1928 Sher-Hannah House is located in the Holloway Street Historic District in Durham, North Carolina. The house (along with its “twin” at 405 Ottawa) was erected by brothers Ernest H. and Marshall V. Lawrence in 1928. The Lawrences operated the house as a rental home with residents changing frequently. Long-term occupants, Morris Leonard and Gertrude Neuwirth Sher occupied the house from 1939 to 1954. Morris Sher was a Russian immigrant who managed the Wearing Apparel Bargain Store in Durham. Later, from 1972 to 2008 the house was occupied by siblings Mary and James Hannah Jr. Mary married Raymond Baskins in 1978 and city directories indicate the three remained in the home until 2008.

However, neighborhood memory indicated the house was vacant for several years before being fully renovated in 2009 with new plumbing, electrical, and heating systems throughout and a contemporary kitchen and hall bathroom. A rear hall was truncated to create a master bathroom and closet. Floors were salvaged where possible and hew flooring was installed at the rear of the house. Vinyl siding and three layers of roofing material were removed; a new roof was installed and exterior woodwork and windows were repaired as needed and re-painted. The homeowners received State Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the rehabilitation and the contractor, Synergy Entreprises, received a 2010 Neighborhood Conservation Award for the project.