505 South Pender Street, revisited.

A year ago, Black Wide-Awake featured the abandoned endway house at the corner of South Pender and Hines Streets.

September 2020 finds the hundred-year-old house under complete renovation.

The interior has been gutted to the studs, but the house will essentially retain its original floor plan — an entry door opening directly into a front room, then a middle room, then at rear a kitchen and bath. (The bathroom was originally a back porch and would have been enclosed in the 1950s or ’60s.)

The house was once heated by an oil stove that vented through a chimney.

The house sits on new concrete block pillars, but a skirt of some sort will likely be added to enclose the crawlspace.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2020.


  1. Thanks Lisa for this update; you and I had our eyes on this same house….me for a lot of different reasons. Unfortunately there are way to many more of these “endway” or “shot gun” houses in Wilson. I am the first for affordable houses, but I have seen much better representations of affordable housing other than this depiction of living that the average reader would not fathom to live in, regardless . I was raised in this neighborhood and it saddens me to see this same style of living in Wilson 100 years later and still only in the same neighborhoods…food for thought. My mom is 92 and she, along with countless other moms and dads , had to raise 5, 6, or more children in this three room caricature of a house. Yes, people with children may still have to rent this house in 2020. We can and must do better otherwise we are helping to support a marginalized, demeaning view of a certain population of otherwise dignified people . It has been stated that you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Let us raise the perception of affordable housing for people with new house designs that are affordable and practical. For instance, there are plenty more designs for a one bedroom house that do not cater to having go through the bedroom to get to the kitchen!! I own these views as one who has been there and done that . We must want different and better for those after us. It is our civic duty.

  2. We stayed in a renovated and updated shotgun house off Magazine Street in New Orleans (through AirBnB) and it was a great experience. Same layout- front room, kitchen, bedroom with bath beside it. New Orleans must have thousands of shotgun houses. Quite a few have been nicely updated.

    1. New Orleans’ shotguns are arguably the pinnacle of this American form. Wilson’s endways, erected mostly 1890-1940, were rough-built dwellings intended to house the hundreds of African-Americans that were drawn to Wilson by its tobacco industry.

    2. John, it’s great that your experience in an Air B&B endway house ( for a short stay) was a pleasant experience. The emphasis here , however, is families having to live day in and day out in this type of house…trust me , it’s a whole different ball of wax…one that the next person would not understand if their foot hasn’t been in that shoe. Thousands don’t make it equitable.

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