309 North Pender Street.

The one hundred thirty-eighth 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.

In the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this address is described as a vacant lot. It is currently a garden area for the inhabitants of 311 North Pender.

Per Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno in Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980), source of the photo above: “This cottage dates between 1880 and 1900. Built in an L-plan, the front cross gable boasts double arched windows. The shed roof porch is supported by turned columns.”


309 North Pender as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map. The narrow street running alongside the house (just visible in the photo above) was once known as “Short Viola” Street. It is now an alley.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Smith Mattie (c) lndrs h 309 Pender

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bell Chas (c; Nina) lab h 309 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 309 Pender, rented for $16/month, Charlie Bell, 48, truck driver; wife Nina, 21; sons Dillon, 4, and Benson, 1; and lodger Rosa Lee White, 22.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 309 Pender, rented for $12/month, Alice Artis, 56; daughter Pauline Henderson, 39; and children Bessie L., 23, Alice, 20, Joyce, 18, Mildred, 16, Doris, 10, and Robert, 4.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cooper Wm (c; Nellie, 2) lab h 309 Pender

Nellie McLeod Cooper died 2 February 1947 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 46 years old; was born in Robeson County, N.C.; lived at 309 North Pender; was married to Willie Cooper; and worked as common laborer at a tobacco factory.

Leave a Reply