Among the properties upon which Andrew and Mary Townsend defaulted in 1940 was a parcel described as “a lot on the southern edge of Banks Street where Banks crosses a ditch that runs south into the Hominy Swamp canal, purchased from O.L.W. and Cynthia Smith, recorded in Book 111, page 361.”
The Townsends ran a grocery store in the block, alongside a one-story wooden house and Trinity A.M.E. Zion church. Across the street, rail spurs from the Norfolk & Southern Rail Road ran to a tobacco factory and two coal and wood yards.
Here is the “southern edge of Banks Street” today, looking toward Mercer Street. The block is empty.
And here, still, is the ditch that runs south into Hominy Swamp.
Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.