Houses

906 Mercer Street.

This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, the blocks of Mercer Street southwest of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad lines have been an African-American residential area since the early twentieth century.

906 Mercer appears in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Outlaw Arthur (c; Mary) fishermn h 906 Mercer

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Oates Henry (c; Minnie) driver Clark Hdw Co Inc h 906 Mercer

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Mercer, rented for $21/month, Henry Oates, 34, hardware store truck driver; wife Minnie L., 26; and children Willie, 9, Albert L., 8, Fredie, 6, and Bubbie, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Mercer, Lettie Smith, 48, widow, works at stemming machine at redrying plant; her children Harvey, 28, gas station attendant, Mary, 15, Herbert, 13, and Elijah and Elisha, 11; and grandson Donald Ray, 8.

The house is listed as vacant in the 1941 city directory, but in the 1947 directory was occupied by tobacco worker Lena Whitley. (Whitley died in 1965 at her home at 918 Mercer. The informant on her death certificate was Eula King, 906 Mercer.)

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.

309 Elba Street, revisited.

The two-faced house at 309 Elba Street, once owned by veterinarian Elijah L. Reid and family, is one of my favorite in East Wilson. It’s in terrible shape though. Years of water running off the porch roof have rotted a corner of the house completely through, compromising its structural integrity.

On my obligatory pass-by of 303 Elba, I noticed that the front door of 309 was wide open. Thinking “now or never,” but also “watch your step,” I went no further than the front room, but snapped these two images of the interior.

Below, the house’s central staircase. Note the original newel posts, the paneled stringer, and the curved plaster ceiling. The landing juts out from the house into a sort of oriel; the four-over-one window looks west.

One of the original five-panel doors with large brass knobs and plates.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2021.

202 North Pender Street, revisited.

One of my favorite East Wilson houses, the two-story George McDaniel house at 202 North Pender Street [202 Pender Street E], is on the market, and its real estate listing offers a glimpse of its interior.

The house has been extensively, and not necessarily kindly, modified, but these photos in particular give a hint at what a handsome dwelling it once was and could be again for the right buyer.

Thanks to Melita Amara for the tip!

412 East Green Street.

The one hundred thirty-second 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. 1940; 1 story; double shotgun with bungalow type porch.” (It’s not clear whether the house is still multi-family or has been converted to a single.)

Per the 1922 Sanborn fire map of Wilson, this single-family dwelling stood at 412 East Green prior to the double-shotgun there today.

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: McNeill Lucinda (c) dom h 412 East Green

In 1940, Ike Essex Collins registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 November 1907 in Camden, S.C.; lived at 412 1/2 East Green Street; his contact was mother Josephine Robinson Collins of Greensboro, N.C.; and he worked for Monticello Cafe, West Nash Street, Wilson.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Isaac (c; Lula; 1) cook Monticello Cafe h 412 E Green

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Isaac E (c; Lula) cook M&J Restaurant h 412 E Green

[A comparison with the 2012 image in Google Maps Street View shows that this house has been updated. Large overgrown shrubs blocking the front steps are gone, and the white trim paint is fresh.]

724 East Green Street.

The one hundred thirtieth 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 East Wilson Historic District, 724 East Green was built circa 1950 and is a one-story, aluminum-sided, L-plan cottage. It is “non-contributing,” meaning that it did not meet the criteria  However, the house depicted above has asbestos, rather than aluminum, siding, and is plainly shown in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

Detail from 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.

In 1918, Charles Robert Cannon registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 July 1889; lived at 654-25th Street, Newport News, Virginia; worked as carpenter for Boyle-Robinson Construction, Newport News; and his nearest relative was Stattin E. Cannon, 651 East Green.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, at 724 East Green, Cannon, Charles, carpenter; Cannon, Lavalier, domestic; and Cannon, Stattie, dressmaker.

In the 1925 and 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cannon, Stattie (c) smstrs h 724 E Green

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 724 East Green, rented for $20/month, Stadie Cannon, 51, seamstress, widow; son-in-law Bennie Lee, 30, cleaner at dry cleaner plant; daughter Ruth, 28; and lodger Herbert Page, 39, cleaner and dryer at dry cleaning plant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 724 East Green, rented at $6/month, Roscoe Harvey, 32, barber; wife Helen, 28; and daughter Catherine, 9.

In 1940, Roscoe Lee Harvey registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he resided at 724 East Green, Wilson; was born 5 July 1905 in Lumberton, N.C.; his contact was wife Helen McMillan Harvey; and was self-employed at 114 East Barnes.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rosser Nettie Mrs (c) h 724 East Green.