As illustrated in earlier “Lost Neighborhoods” posts, downtown Wilson was once shot through with narrow alleys packed with the tiny double-shotgun dwellings of African-American tobacco workers. In addition to Banks Alley and Oil Mill Alley and Parker’s Alley (also known as Vick’s Alley) and Young’s Alley, there were:
- Sunshine Alley
Sunshine Alley lay in the shadow of Liggett & Meyers’ tobacco warehouse and within a block of Smith’s, Planter’s Warehouse, Banner, Monk-Adams, Farmers and Watson Warehouses. As shown in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, the western end of the alley was a slot off Goldsboro Street in the block otherwise bounded by Hines, South Mercer and East Jones Streets.
The eastern end formed a dogleg dividing the block bounded by Goldsboro, Hines, Spring and Jones Streets.
Sunshine Alley is long gone, but its path is easily followed in the driveway of the Family Dollar store at Hines and Goldsboro, the driveway of Barrett’s Printing House (the white-roofed structure below standing with the former footprint of Smith & Leggett) and the cut-through that continues past Barrett’s to Douglas Street (formerly Spring).
- Walnut Alley
Only a block long, Walnut Alley ran parallel to South Spring (Douglas) and South Lodge Streets between East Walnut and East Banks Streets. The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map depicts a small “colored church” on Spring.
That church is now Saint Rose Church of Christ, and the alley is Walnut Lane.
Current maps courtesy of Google Maps.