Carolina Street

1115 Carolina Street.

The one hundred-seventy-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 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; bungalow with gable roof form and shingle shake veneer.”

Timothy and Grace Battle Black purchased the property at 1115 Carolina Street in 1935 and likely built this house within the next few years.

In 1939, they appeared in a list of property owners who faced sale of their properties for unpaid taxes:

Wilson Daily Times, 21 November 1939.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Black Grace (c) cook h 1115 Carolina

The Blacks divorced in mid-1944, and in July the Wilson Daily Times published a series of notices of the sale of 1115 Carolina.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 July 1944.

The sale was apparently called off, as Grace Black remained in the house three years later. In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Black Grace (c) cook McLellans h 1115 Carolina.

1204 Carolina Street.

The one hundred-seventy-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; shotgun with engaged porch.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Coleman James W (c; Annie) cook h 1204 Carolina St. The house was described as vacant in the 1930 city directory.

James Walter Coleman died 1 April 1930 in Wilson of an “unavoidable auto accident.” Per his death certificate, he was born 7 January 1900 in Nash County, North Carolina, to John Coleman; was married to Johnnie Ann Coleman; worked as a waiter at the Imperial Hotel; and lived at 1204 Carolina Street.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1204 Carolina Street, Oscar Ratcliff, 26, mortar mixer for Wilkins & Wilkins, and wife Nellie, 30, tobacco factory stemmer.

In the 1941 and 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Ratcliff Oscar (c; Nellie) lab h 1204 Carolina

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1204 Carolina Street, Oscar Ratcliff, 49, plumbing and heating laborer, and wife Nellie, 43, worked in diet kitchen at tuberculosis sanitorium.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2022.

Birthday benediction.

When an airplane passed over to shoot this 1940 aerial, the landscape of much of the East Wilson into which I was born was undeveloped. My early years were spent mostly east of Carroll Street and once I started school I has essentially free range of the blocks between Carroll, Highway 301, Academy Street to the north, and Atlantic Street to the south. The housing in those blocks, except along the western and southwestern edges and a solid line of shotguns in the 1300 block of Carolina, sprang up post-World War II, when severe housing shortages and pent-up demand pushed East Wilson beyond city limits toward the planned path of a ring road (Ward Boulevard) and a widened and re-routed U.S. 301.

I came home from Mercy Hospital to 706 Ward Boulevard. Before I turned one, we had moved to a little brick rental house at 1401 Carolina Street. There, I gained my grounding in Black Wide-Awake and, on June 26, 1969, celebrated my 5th birthday in the backyard.

My friends then are my friends now. I hugged the neck of the lady at upper right just last month. And my own sweet mother, at upper left, blesses me daily. This birthday hits a little different, but I’m grateful for the journey — and proud that it started here.

Photo from the collection of Beverly A. Henderson.

929 Carolina Street.

The one hundred seventieth 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; shotgun with bungalow type porch posts.”

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bullock Joseph (c; Sadie) lab h 929 Carolina

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

In 1940, James Woodard registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 1 July 1913 in Wilson; lived at 929 Carolina Street; his contact was wife Annie Reid Woodard; and he worked for Russel Herman McLawhorn, 105 Bragg Street, Wilson. 

“Draft Numbers of Wilson Men Drawn Today,” Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1940.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Jas (c; Annie; 1) delmn h 929 Carolina

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Handley Jesse (c; Levan) brklyr h929 Carolina

Photo By Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

924 Carolina Street.

The one hundred sixty-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 roof.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lowe Charles (c) lab h 924 Carolina

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Chappman Viola (c) h 924 Carolina

The bend of Carolina Street between North East and North Vick Streets was once lined with endway [shotgun] houses. Detail from 1940 aerial photograph of Wilson, N.C.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cromartie Leslie (c; Nora; 6) lab h 924 Carolina

In 1942, James Leslie Cromartie registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 31 August 1920 in Saint Paul, N.C.; lived at 924 East Carolina; his contact was Nolie Cromartie, 924 East Carolina; and he worked “Imperial Tobacco (season) … Defense work at present.”

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mitchell McKinley (c; Augusta) porter RyExp h 924 Carolina

Wilson Daily Times, 5 June 1989.

This 1989 notice reveals that the six shotgun houses at 904 through 924 Carolina Street were built on a single lot and required a zoning variance for repairs because they did not meet setback requirements. 

927 Carolina Street.

The one hundred-fifty-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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roof.”

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 927 Carolina, rented for $8/month, Eugene McAllister, 33; wife Ella, 29; and children Eugene, 4, and Yvonne, 8. Eugene McAllister Sr. was a native of Florence, S.C.

Eugene McAlister registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 December 1907 in South Carolina; his contact was Prince Edward McAlister of Evergreen, Florence County, S.C.; and was not emplyoyed.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McAlister Eug (c; Etta; 4) lab h 927 Carolina

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Howard Pearl Mrs tob wkr h 927 Carolina

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

1324 Carolina Street.

The one hundred thirty-first 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 this grainy Polaroid, me in front of my friends’ house at 1324 Carolina, circa 1973.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1917; 1 story; shotgun with shed-roofed porch and gable returns; Masonite veneer.” 1324 is one of a row of endway houses on the south side of Carolina between Wainwright and Powell Streets. Shifts in the numbering of houses in this block make it difficult to trace its first few decades of inhabitants.

Per the 15 October 1971 Wilson Daily Times, Wilson’s city council ordered the demolition of 1324 as “unsafe and dangerous to life and property.” Its owner, Luther Jones, agreed to repair the house, and city council revoked the order in 1974. The house still stands.

Upcoming event: a study on shotgun houses.

Preservation of Wilson presents a webinar with University of North Carolina-Greensboro graduate student Monica T. Davis on her work on East Wilson’s shotgun houses. Meet Monica here, and join Monday’s Zoom call for more!

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The promo photo depicts a row of endway houses (the local term for shotguns) on Carolina Street, just east of its intersection with Wainwright Street. Until I was nearly ten years old, I lived a block down Carolina. I remember these houses best in the early 1970s, well before this photo was taken, when there was no curbing or gutters, and the houses stood on brick pillars in clean-swept dirt yards.

The 1940 aerial of this area shows the houses in a row of fourteen nearly identical dwellings. (As described in the East Wilson Historic District nomination report, most were built circa 1917 and have shed-roofed porches, but one has a hip-roofed porch; another has a second-story addition; and another is a later-built bungalow.)

Nine of the endway houses are still standing.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mother is not a native of Wilson, but has lived here most of her life — and much longer than I have. My mother taught in rural and city schools before and after integration, was for decades a member of Saint Luke A.M.E., and participates in social and service organizations in the East Wilson community. She is my first go-to for questions about people and places of the Wilson she knows, especially the community she found when she arrived in 1961.

This, of course, is the least of the reasons I treasure her. She sparked (and my father fed) my boundless curiosity, my love of reading, my wanderlust, my appreciation for the road less traveled. I aspire to her kindness and generosity. I credit her with the best in me. I am grateful for her buoyant love. I love her endlessly.

Beverly Allen Henderson, fresh from Wilson Memorial Hospital with my sister Karla, and me, looking a little dazed by it all, 1401 Carolina Street, 1967.

Snaps, no. 67: Happy Easter!

Easter in East Wilson, 1967.

My mother and I on Easter Sunday, just before my sister was born. Henderson Cooke owned the house we rented at 1401 Carolina Street. The trees in the near background were in an empty lot with a garden owned by Jesse T. McPhail, who lived at 1316 Carolina. The endway house visible over my shoulder is 1326 Carolina Street, built about 1917.