923 Washington Street.

The one hundredth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; Alonzo Coley house; bungalow with unusual hip and side-gable roof configuration and shed dormer; aluminum-sided; Coley was a carpenter.”

Coley also built the houses at 914 and 918 Washington Street. Per the “Statement of Significance” section of the East Wilson nomination form: “A colleague of [O. Nestus] Freeman‘s, Alonzo Coley constructed bungalows for black clients, as well as worked in a barber shop. He advertised himself as a “licensed architect” after completing a drafting course at the local black high school.”

In 1917, Alonzo Coley registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his draft registration card, he was born 8 September 1890 in Pikeville, Wayne County; resided at 105 East Street; worked as a carpenter for Barney Reid “in the Town of Wilson;” and was single.

Alonzo Coley, 26, of Wilson, son of Christopher and Sarah E. Coley of Wayne County, married Pauline McQueen, 23, of Wilson, daughter of Anthony and Jenny McQueen of Roland, North Carolina, on 14 March 1918. Presbyterian minister H.B. Taylor performed the ceremony in the presence of Maud Battle, Laura Coley and Lula Lewis.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Washington Street, house carpenter Lonzo Coley, 29; wife Paulean, 26; daughter Elma, 6 months; sister Edith, 16; and boarder Bula Thompson, 17.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 923 Washington Street, owned and valued at $2000, building carpenter Lonie Coley, 35; wife Pauline, 34; and children Elmer, 10, Mary E., 8, Richard L., 7, Robert J., 4, and Pauline, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 923 Washington Street, owned and valued at $800, carpenter Alonzo Coley, 50; wife Pauline, 46, cleaner at post office; mother Sarah, 71; and children Elma, 20, beauty parlor operator, Maratta, 18, Robert J., 14, and Pauline, 12.

Alonzo Coley died 2 November 1967 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 September 1890 to Christopher and Sarah Coley; lived at 923 Washington Street; and was a laborer. Informant was Pauline Coley.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2019.

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