Houses

201 North Pender Street.

The one-hundred-twenty-seventh 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 encompassed 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.

Formerly 128 Pender Street. The house was demolished between 1982-1988, prior to preparation of the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District. It appears on Sanborn fire insurance maps as early as 1908 as a large one-story house with a front porch and two add-on rooms.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C. (1922). 

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city department: Poole Boyd (c; Henrietta) driver Independent Electric Ice Co h 201 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 201 Pender, rented at $13/month, ice plant truck driver Boy Pool, 26; wife Henryetta, 24; and lodgers Leslie McCain, 20, tobacco factory stemmer, Jack McCain, 25, farm laborer, Beaulah Woods, 21, tobacco factory stemmer, and Emma L., 6, Mabrain, 5, William R., 2, and Carrie L. McCain, 2.

201 North Pender Street was among several properties offered for sale in an ad that ran 13 June 1936 in the Wilson Daily Times. All were in the vicinity of Saint John A.M.E.Z. Church.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 201 Pender, rented at $14/month, widow Margie Williams, 35, washing, and son Winfried, 1; and roomer Willie Sanders, 30, divorced, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Margie (1; c) h 201 Pender

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Evans Ida (c) smtrs h 201 Pender

By 1960, the house at 201 North Pender Street had been converted to a duplex, and two women listed it as their address in the city directory, Ida E. Evans, who owned Ida Evans Dress Shop, and Martha P. Farmer.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2019.

600 East Carroll Street.

The one-hundred-twenty-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. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip-roofed porch and gable returns.” 

This house lies outside the boundaries of the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson. The 1950 city directory reveals the original house number was 512:

The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory listed laborer Charles Finley and wife Martha Finley at 512 North Carroll, but the 1930 reveals that the couple’s surname was actually Winley. 

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 512 Carroll, Charlie Winley, 28; wife Martha, 25; and children Chas. L., 9, Annie M., 7, and Mary F., 5.

In the 1941 city directory the house was vacant.

Floyd Woods died 21 February 1945 at his home at 600 North Carroll. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December; was 52 years old; was born in Lenoir County to Charlie Woods and Aurey Sutton; was married to Louise Woods; and worked as a laborer.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wood Louise (c; wid Floyd) tob wkr h 512 N Carroll

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2020.

Sunshine Alley.

As noted in the earlier “Lost Neighborhoods” posts, downtown Wilson was once shot through with narrow alleys packed with the tiny double-shotgun dwellings of African-American tobacco workers. The whole of Sunshine Alley ran one and a half blocks between Tarboro and Mercer Streets, in the shadow of Liggett & Meyers’ tobacco warehouse and within a block of Planter’s Warehouse, Banner, Monk-Adams, Farmers, and Watson Warehouses. The neighborhood survived a 1924 fire, but by the end of 1928 it was gone — obliterated to make way for the massive Smith’s Warehouses A and B. (You can read a whole page about Smith’s in the nomination report for the Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse Historic District, but you’ll find no mention of Sunshine Alley.)

Here’s Smith’s in the 1940 aerial of Wilson, occupying the entire block bounded by East Jones, South Goldsboro, Hines, and Mercer Streets.

Today there’s nothing in this block but a Family Dollar store. Stand at the mouth of its driveway at Goldsboro Street. Look west:

Then east:

This was Sunshine Alley.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2020.

404 North Reid Street.

The one-hundred-twenty-fourth 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. 1922; 1 story; Alf McCoy house; Queen Anne cottage with hip roof and double-pile plan; evidence of original turned posts and patterned-tin roof.”

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McCoy Alfred (c) lab h Reid betw Carolina & E Green

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Town of Wilson laborer Alfa McCoy, 43; wife Florence, 40; widowed mother-in-law Adline King, 78; sister-in-law Mattie Mercer, 30; and roomers Leroy Mercer, 35, Town of Wilson laborer, Silvester Mercer, 15, and Dempsey Mercer, 1.

The 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map, detail below, shows only three houses on North Reid between Carolina and Green Streets. As indicated in the 1916 city directory, Queen Street had not been cut through yet. The house thus appears to be a few years older than estimated in the nomination form.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 Reid Street, owned and valued at $2000, Alford McCoy, 53, fertilizer company laborer, and wife Florance, 52, laundry. 

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 Reid Street, owned and valued at $2000, Alfred McCoy, 72, “not able” to work, and wife Florence, 60, washing. 

Alfred McCoy died 5 November 1953 at his home at 404 North Reid Street. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 September 1875 in Edgecombe County to Alexander McCoy and Ellen [last name unknown]; was married; and worked as a laborer for the Town of Wilson. Informant was Florence McCoy

In her 3 October 1955 will, filed after her death in Wilson County Superior Court, Florence McCoy left her house at 404 North Reid Street to her neighbor John H. Jones.

Florence McCoy died 21 August 1956 at her home at 404 North Reid Street. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1883 in Nash County to Berry King and was a widow. Informant was John H. Jones, 405 North Reid Street.

William “Bill” Pharaoh Powell died 23 July 1963 at his home at 404 North Reid Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1891 in Wilson County to Echabud Powell and Mary Ann Lassiter; was married to Margaret H[agans] Powell; and worked as a laborer. 

500 East Green Street, update.

This two-story house at the heart of East Wilson Historic District likely is not long for this world.

As detailed here, J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid built this two-story dwelling at 600 East Green about 1922, the year after the Commercial Bank, for which Reid was vice-president and principal promoter, opened. 

In 1945, the Reids sold the house to the Redemptorist Fathers of North Carolina, who converted it into a convent for the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the African-American order whose nuns taught at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School.

The Redemptorist Fathers held the house until 1969, then they sold it to private owners? and it began its steep slide. The city of Wilson condemned 600 East Green in 1977, but took no further action against it. In 1990, the city repealed the condemnation order to allow a new owner to rehabilitate it. This Daily Times article described plans for its renovation, and Roderick Taylor Jr. described a little of its history.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 December 1990.

In 1994, Oxford House, a living facility for recovering addicts, took over in the space. I have not been able to determine how long it remained open. It is clear, though, that the Reid house/nunnery has been vacant and moldering for much of this century. Since I photographed it in 2016, it has lost the midsection of fascia and soffit above the upper floor and the front porch ceiling has begun to collapse.

511 South Pender Street.

The one-hundred-twenty-third 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.

The nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District lists this description of 505 South Pender [originally Stantonsburg Street]: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with shed-roofed porch and gable returns.”

In the 1928 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Lena (c) dom h 511 Stantonsburg

In the 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory, the house was vacant.

In 1940, Prince Mincey registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 18 March 1908 in Wilson; lived at 511 Stantonsburg Street; his contact was wife Alice Hinnh [Hannah] Mincey; and he worked for C.J. Moore, Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 Stantonsburg Street, rented for $8/month, fertilizer plant laborer Prince Mincy, 30, and wife Alice, 29.

The 1941 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mincey Prince (c; Alice) tob wkr h 511 Stantonsburg

In the 1947 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mincey Prince (c; Alice) carp h 511 Stantonsburg

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2020.

505 South Pender Street, redux.

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.

East Wilson aerial view, 1940.

North Carolina State Archives’ Flickr account contains a folder holding more than one hundred aerial photographs of Wilson County shot in 1940.

Here, East Wilson more or less entirely. (The dark curve superimposed on the image marks the future path of Ward Boulevard. Though this road was plotted largely through open land, it did require the obliteration of a stretch of houses on East Nash Street.)

Below, a close-up look at the bottom left quadrant of this image. South of Nash Street, the road now known as Pender Street was then called Stantonsburg Street. At (1), the Sallie Barbour School, formerly known as the Colored Graded or Stantonsburg Street School. At (2), a tightly packed block of endway (shotgun) houses, which were form of choice for developers of rental housing for Wilson’s African-American working poor. Clusters of these narrow dwellings can be seen across the map. This block, on Railroad Street between Elvie and Lincoln Streets, is still intact.

The blocks south of Wiggins and Wainwright Street were still relatively sparsely settled, but several churches had set up in the area, including (3) Mount Zion Free Will Baptist Church, (4) Union Grove Primitive Baptist Church, and (5) Branch Memorial Tabernacle United Holy Church.

Around Cemetery Street, the open space attests to the location of Wilson’s earliest Black cemetery (cemeteries?). The following year, the city disinterred Oakdale cemetery and moved its graves to Rest Haven.

The northern half of East Wilson, below. At (1) Reid Street Community Center; (2) Samuel H. Vick Elementary School; (3) Charles H. Darden High School; (4) endway houses on Queen Street; (5) William Hines’ two-story rental houses; (6) C.H. Darden Funeral Home; (7) Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church; (8) Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church; (9) Mercy Hospital; (10) Calvary Presbyterian Church; (11) Wilson Normal and Industrial School (also known as the Independent School); and (12) the Samuel and Annie Vick house.

The elbow of Lane Street, below. The Harry Clark family farm, later Rest Haven cemetery, at (1), and a relatively clear view of (2) Vick, (3) Odd Fellows, and (4) Rountree cemeteries.

Wilson_CSP_6B_12, U.S.D.A. Photograph Collection, State Archives of North Carolina.

Moneys should be kept in the bank.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 January 1920.

—–

Perhaps, in the 1930 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: in a house owned and valued at $1000, widow Mary A. Batts, 50, servant; daughter Mamie, 26, servant; and son Lonnie, 35, farm laborer.

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing this clipping.