He died sitting on the steps.

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“No Physician — I understand the deceased died sudden while sitting on steps at Imperial Hotel”

Built around 1900, the Imperial Hotel was located at 320 East Nash Street, the current location of Wilson’s city bus station. Catty-corner from the Atlantic Coast Line rail station, the three-story brick hotel was a popular with travelers until the Hotel Cherry was erected across the street.

As shown on the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson below, the Imperial had a wrap-around wooden porch that faced Nash and Lodge Streets. It’s likely here that Joe Bennett was seated when he keeled over dead.

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