Fowler’s map depicts white Maplewood cemetery, but Oaklawn is just a blank expanse of turf. The unnamed street running through this area is Cemetery Street. The large building across the road was the Colored Graded School.
In January 1985, while the old Hotel Cherry was under renovation, Brian Ezzelle shot photos of the former Atlantic Coast Line station. In the process, he captured this slice of East Wilson. The blocks bordered by the railroad, Nash, Pender and Green Streets were home to East Wilson’s commercial district and its largest churches, with significant housing in the interior.
The intervening 33 years, arguably, have been catastrophic. Nearly all of the housing in the area shown below was demolished as substandard or derelict in the 1990s, as were stretches of commercial buildings fronting Nash and Pettigrew Streets. The city has engaged in streetscaping and the churches have renovated and expanded, but the liveliness of yesteryear, for better or worse, continues to elude this part of East Wilson.
Seed house, Southern Cotton Oil Mill, 518 Stemmer Street. Per the inventory submitted with the nomination report for the Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse Historic District, “This massive (95×145) pyramidal structure was built ca 1940. It has a prominent sloping corrugated metal roof that is crown by a gable clerestory. The building is one of the prominent visual features of the southern portion of Wilson industrial’s section. The interior is cavernous, has a cement floor and is illuminated only by the windows in the clerestory. It is presently  used for fertilizer storage.”
“During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the cheap cost of printing lithographs coupled with the pride of small towns laid the foundation for the success of artists who specialized in hand drawn panoramic birds-eye view maps of American cities. The idea behind the panoramic birds-eye view was to draw the town at an oblique angle from an imaginary vantage point in the air, from the viewpoint a bird would have flying over the city. Although the scale of certain buildings were exaggerated to make the town more visible, the accuracy and attention to detail was otherwise so meticulous that each building was almost an exact copy of its real world counterpart down to the number of windows it possessed. There were numerous artists that gained popularity during this period. One such artist was Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler, known more by the name printed on each of the maps he completed, T.M. Fowler.” From Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler, Pennsylvania State Archives, http://www.phmc.state.pa.us
In 1908, T.M. Fowler issued a bird’s eye map of Wilson. Drawn from the perspective of, say, a hawk floating above what is now Barton College, the map focuses on the town’s most prosperous districts. The Atlantic Coast Line Rail Road slices across the top left corner of the map, however, and beyond the track — Black Wilson.
Continuing across the top of the map — headed southeast on the ground — at (7), down Stantonsburg Street, the Colored Graded School, and (8) the stemmeries and tobacco factories of Little Richmond.
In 1908, little of East Wilson was inside city limits, which did not extend much beyond Pender Street or the tobacco factory district. Thus, many of the houses and other buildings depicted in Fowler’s fabulous map, including the graded school and all of Vick’s neighborhood, were not surveyed in the Sanborn fire insurance map produced the same year.
Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, North Carolina (1908).