138 Ashe Street.

The one hundred-forty-fifth 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; shotgun with shed-roofed porch.”

The house shown at 138 Ashe Street in the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson is clearly not the house above. That house, which belonged to the Levi and Hannah H. Peacock family and was later numbered 218, was a multi-roomed bungalow with an auto shed in the rear. It was located much closer to Darden Allen (now Darden Lane) than the present 138.

It appears that, circa 1929, several in-fill endway houses were constructed mid-block on Ashe Street, necessitating the renumbering of houses lying northeast toward Darden Alley. At that point, the Peacocks’ 138 became 218. However, in the 1941 and 1950 city directory, house numbers on Ashe Street skip from 126 to 200. The crucial clue for the house featured above is found in the 1957 city directory, in houses 200- 224 are renumbered as 126-150. Thus, we see that 138 Ashe had been 210 Ashe.

Excerpt from Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1957). 

136 and 138 Ashe were constructed as mirror-image twins. (The side steps of 136 are just visible in the photo.) 138 was later modified with a rear addition.


In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simpson Robert (c; Hattie) lab 210 Ashe [As a measure of the tenant turnover in Ashe Street endway houses, note that, when Hattie Simpson died in 1929, the family lived at 127, and when Robert Simpson died in 1934, they lived at 116.]

Rosa Mae Allen died 25 June 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 14 years old; was a student; lived at 210 Ashe; and was born in Wilson County to Wade Allen and Fannie Barnes.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Wade Allen, 37; wife Fannie, 35, tobacco factory stemmer; son John H., 16; Oddesa [illegible], 18, washer; and Mary E. Smith, 16, nurse.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen Wade (c; Fannie) farmer h 210 Ashe

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen Wade (c; Fannie) lab City Street Dept h 210 Ashe

Photo courtesy of Briggs Sherwood.

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