East Green Street

701 East Green Street.

The 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1922; 2 stories; Cora Washington house; Queen Anne house composed of hip-roofed central block and projecting central pavilion; Washington was a schoolteacher.”

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the house: “House. 701 East Green Street. This turn of the century house may be compared stylistically to the Jefferson D. Lee House on Jackson Street. The gable peaks are ornamented with diamond shaped louvers and a pedimented pavilion projects from the central bay. The generous porch has a shallow pedimented entrance supported by turned columns. Although the porch has been partially enclosed the house retains much of its original character.” The photo above is from the original publication. Though described here as turn-of-the-century, the lot at 701 East Green was vacant on the 1913 Sanborn map. The house apparently was erected between that date and 1922, when it does appear.

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

701 East Green Street was demolished in the 1990s and, unusually for the district, another house was built on the lot.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, Cora, Irene and Janie Washington are listed at 701 East Green, and their occupations are given as student, teacher and cook.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory, Cora and Janie Washington are listed at 701 East Green, and their occupations are given as teacher and elevator operator at Efirds department store.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 East Green Street, George Farmer, 55, porter for A.C.L.R.R.; wife Cora, 51, school teacher; daughters Lena, 20, teacher, and Janie L., 23, department store elevator girl; stepdaughter Cora M. Washington, 21 (marked as “absent”); mother-in-law Lou Miller, 75; and boarders Mildred Norfleet, 23, courthouse elevator girl; and Amos Moor, 35, hotel porter. [Janie, in fact, was Cora’s daughter and George’s step-daughter.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 East Green Street, public school teacher Cora M. Washington, 30, and nephew James R. Washington, 15.

Samuel Washington died 12 December 1959 at his home at 701 East Green Street. Per his death certificate, he was 92 years old; had never married; worked for the United States Postal Service; and was born in Wilson to Jeremiah Washington and Jane (last name unknown). Informant was Cora Miller Washington Artis.

603 East Green Street.

The fifty-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: “ca. 1930. 1 1/2 stories. Washington Wilkins house; bungalow with engaged porch and gabled dormer; Wilkins was a carpenter.”

In the 1912 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wilkins Washington, lab 604 E Green. [603 East Green was formerly numbered 604.]

In 1917, Washington Wilkins registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1893 in Wilson County; lived at 604 East Green Street; and worked as a blacksmith for Hackney Wagon Company.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 604 Green, wagon factory blacksmith Washington Wilkins, 26, wife Nancy, 24, children George Washington, 4, and Virginia, 2, niece Beatrice Barnes, and sisters Mittie Wilkins, 22, and Lucy Wilkins, 27. Wilkins owned his home subject to mortgage.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nancy Wilkins, 30; husband Washington, 40, a city laborer; sister-in-law Lucy Wilkins, 45; sons Washington, 15, and James, 10; daughters Virginia R., 11, and Nancy G., 4; roomers Mary Wilkinson, 23, Davis Carroll, 35, and Adline Adams, 65; and niece Beatrice Barnes, 17. The Wilkins’ house was valued at $4000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Green, plumber Washington Wilkins, 46, wife Nancy, 44, and children George W., 24, and Nancy G., 14.

In 1940, George Washington Wilkins registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 June 1915 in Wilson; resided at 603 East Green; his contact was his mother, Nancy Wilkins, 603 East Green; and he worked at Imperial Tobacco Company, corner of Lodge and Factory Streets.

Washington Wilkins died 13 February 1958 at his home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he lived at 603 East Nash Street (this is clearly an error); was married; was a laborer; and was born 14 June 1894 in Wilson County to Richmond Wilkins and Patsy Armstrong.

Nancy Wilkins died 24 August 1972 in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; lived at 603 East Green Street, Wilson; was born about 1892 to Minnie Adams; and had been a tobacco factory laborer.

Washingtonians feted.

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Pittsburgh Courier, 12 January 1929.

On 27 December 1928, Professor and Mrs. J.D. Reid threw a buffet lunch and whist party at their home at 600 East Green Street, which was followed by a dance at the Samuel H. Vick home at 622 East Green, all in honor of Irene and May Miller of Washington, D.C. [Who were the Miller sisters, and what was their Wilson connection?]

Thelma, J.D. Jr. and Frederick Reid were children of J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid. Robert and Samuel H. Vick Jr. were sons of Samuel and Annie Washington Vick.

619 East Green Street.

The fifty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Charlie Thomas house; triple-A I house with bracketed porch posts; Thomas was a printer.”

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the house: “Charlie Thomas House. This handsome turn of the century house, a classic of a type, boasts a central cross gable with a diamond-shaped louver typical of this period of construction. The three bay facade is enriched by the porch which boasts sawnwork brackets and turned columns.”

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month. [Though no address is listed in the census, by the identity of the Thomases’ neighbor, it is reasonably clear that the family was living at what is then 616 East Green and now 619 East Green.]

In the 1912 Wilson, N.C., city directory, all residing at 616 East Green: Thomas Charles pressman P D Gold Publishing Co Inc; Thomas Elton lab; Thomas Lizzie laundress; and Thomas Louis carp.

In the 1916 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thomas Charles pressman P D Gold Publishing Co Inc h 616 E Green.

In 1917, Clarence C. Dawson, husband of Elizabeth Thomas Dawson (and son of A.D. and Lucy Hill Dawson), registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. He listed his home address as 616 East Green Street and noted that he worked as a cashier for William Hines (who owned a barber shop and was his nearby neighbor.)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., shows that 619 was originally 616B East Green Street. (The house that had been numbered 619 was renumbered 618.)

In the 1928 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thomas Chas (c) prsmn P D Gold Pub Co h 619 E Green

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 East Green Street, printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 65; daughter Elizabeth Dawson, 32; son-in-law Clarence Dawson, 31; and grandchildren Eris Dawson, 11, Naomi, 9, Clarence, 7, and Thomas V. Dawson, 3; and daughters Sarah, 19, theatre ticket seller, and Beatrice Thomas, 17.

Lizzie Dawson died 16 Janaury 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1894 in Wilson to Charly Thomas of Nash County and Sarah Best of Wilson, and was married to Clarence Dawson. Informant was Charly Thomas.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Green Street, Charlie Thomas, 74; daughter Sarah Bryant,29, movie theatre cashier; her husband Willie, 29, bicycle shop repairman; and children Jean, 6, and Fay G., 5; daughter Beatrice Neal, 29; her husband Willie, 28, retail grocery delivery boy; and grandsons Clarence Dawson, 17, and Thomas Dawson, 13.

In 1940, Willie Baby Bryant registered for the World War II draft in Ward 4, Wilson. Per his registration card, he lived at 619 East Green Street; was born 4 August 1910 in Tarboro, North Carolina; his contact was wife Sarah Virginia Bryant of 619 East Green; and he was employed by S.H. Moss of Moss Bicycle Shop. Also, that year Willie Neal registered in Ward 4. Per his registration card, he lived at 619 East Green; was born 2 May 1911, his contact was wife Beatrice Neal of 619 East Green; and he worked for Moss and Co., 134 South Tarboro Street, Wilson.

In 1942, Elton Henry Thomas registered for the World War II draft in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1894 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 109 Sherman Avenue, Newark; his contact was Charles Thomas, 619 East Green Street, Wilson; and he worked for Julius Rose, 327 Amherst Street, Orange, New Jersey.

Charles Thomas died 22 August 1945 at his home at 619 East Green Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was 86 years old; was born in Wilson County to Sarah Thomas; was a retired printer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Lewis Thomas, 715 East Green Street, was informant.

Photograph of 619 East Green Street published in Bainsbridge and Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey. The small stucco attachment at right housed Beatrice Thomas Neal’s Bea’s Flower Shop. It has been demolished.

Photograph at top by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

611 and 615 East Green Street.

The forty-ninth 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: re 611 East Green Street, “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Hardy Tate house; Queen Anne house with cubic form and center roof gable; original wraparound porch has been modified; Tate was a brick mason;” and, re 615 East Green Street, “1915; 2 stories; William Hines house; Queen Anne house with hip-roofed central block and evidence of second story porch (now enclosed); Hines, like brother Walter, was a leading barber and property owner; contributing garage.”

Both 611 and 615 East Green Street have been demolished.

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the houses:

“611 East Green Street. The most outstanding feature of this house, built c. 1900 is its magnificent polychrome slate roof. It also boasts a small central cross gable, typical of this period of construction. The porch was probably altered c. 1925 and the paired columns joined by delicate latticework were probably added at that time.”

“William Hines House. 615 East Green Street. Built c. 1915 this simple two-story house is typical of Wilson residential architecture during the 1910’s and 1920’s. The box-like form of the house is enhanced by an elliptical stained glass window flanking the door and generous porch supported by square columns on rusticated stone plinths.”

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In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Teachy James T, h 610 e Green. (The north side of Green was even-numbered until the early 1920s.)

In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Barnes Caroline, laundress h 614 e Green. (Barnes’ house appears to have been an earlier building on this lot upon which William Hines built his house.) Barber Hines, whose shop was at 119 South Tarboro, lived next door at 612 East Green, the home of his mother and stepfather, Della and Dave Barnes.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 Green, brickmason Hardey Tate, 50; wife Annie, 40; daughters Inez, 8, and Daisy, 6; and lodgers Rome Bagley, 44, railroad laborer, and John Boykin, 28, plasterer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County:  at 614 Green, barber William Hines, 35, wife Ethel, 25, Delores, 4, and William, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: bricklayer Hardy Tate, 70, daughters Inez, 17, and Daisy, 15. Also, renting for $20/month, were plumber and California native Henry Jones and his wife Jessie, 32. Tate owned the house free of mortgage, and it was valued at $8000.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber William Hines, 46, wife Ethel L., 36, and children Deloris L., 14, and William Jr., 11. The home was owned free of mortgage and valued at $10,000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber shop operator William Hines, 56, wife Ethel L., 46, and children Dolores L., 24, a teacher, and William C., 21.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: embalmer Columbus E. Artis, 55, and Georgia-born wife Ada D. Artis.

  1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, showing 610/611 East Green and an empty lot (with outbuildings) at 614/615.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, showing 611 and 615.

Green Street, today.

As my father put it, all the “big dogs” lived on Green Street. The 600 block, which ran between Pender and Elba Streets, two blocks east of the railroad that cleaved town, was home to much of Wilson’s tiny African-American elite. There, real estate developers, clergymen, doctors, undertakers, educators, businessmen, and craftsmen built solid, two-story Queen Annes that loomed over the surrounding neighborhood.  Here were early 20th-century East Wilson’s movers and shakers; Booker T. Washington slept here.

The north side of Green Street as depicted in a 1922 Sanborn map.

By my childhood, however, a half-century into its reign, Green Street had slipped. Wilson’s small but growing black middle class was building ranch houses further west, and Green was home to, if not working class renters, then dowagers struggling to stay on top of the maintenance costs imposed by multi-gabled roofs; oversized single-paned windows; and wooden everything. Still, Green Street’s historical aura yet shimmered, and a drive down the block elicited pride and wonder.

In 1988, East Wilson, with Green Street its jewel, was nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Every house on the block depicted above was characterized as “contributing,” and the inventory list contained brief descriptions of the dwellings and their owners. Historic status, though, could not keep the wolves from the door. Even as the city’s Historic Properties Commission was wrapping up its work, East Wilson was emerging as an early victim of that defining scourge of the late 1980s — rock cocaine. As vulnerable old residents died off — or were whisked to safer quarters — crackheads and dealers sought refuge and concealment in the empty husks that remained. Squatters soiled their interiors and pried siding from the exteriors to feed their fires. One went ablaze, and then another, and repair and reclamation seemed fruitless undertakings.

This is the north side of Green Street now. Facing east toward Carroll Street, the left edge of the frame is just west of #605. There is not another house until you get to #623.  They are gone. The homes of Hardy Tate and C.E. Artis, of the Hines brothers, of Dr. Barnes, of Charlie Thomas, of Rev. Davis. Abandoned. Taken over. Burned up. Torn down. Gone.

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These four houses (##603, 605, 623 and 625) and a church at the corner of Elba are all that remain of the buildings shown in the 1922 Sanborn map above.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2013.

720 East Green Street.

The forty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 1 story; double-pile house with bungalow type detail.”

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 720 East Green Street, clothes washer Bell Ross, 64, and her daughters Thelma Hill[illegible], 29, and Dorothy Watson, 24.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ross Belle (c) h 720 E Green.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

 

700 East Green Street.

The forty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908. 1 story. Hargrave-Sanders house; L-plan cottage with traces of original Victorian millwork in the cutaway front-facing bay; possibly first occupied by Dr. [Frank S.] Hargrave; later occupant was Dr. Otto Sanders, minister of Primitive Baptist Church [sic; Sanders was a Presbyterian minister].”

This house was occupied until just a few months ago by a Sanders descendant, who was forced out by a fire.

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows the original house number — 629.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Frank Hargrave, 32; wife Bessie, 23; and boarder Lena Harris, 26, insurance bookkeeper.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 629 Green Street, renting, widow Rebeca Speight, 40; daughters Eva, 23, school teacher, Bessie, 13, Addie, 11, Rubie, 9, and Ineese, 7; and roomer Hossie Arrington, 21, wagon factory laborer.

In the 1930 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists 700 East Green as vacant, and it does not appear in the 1930 census.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Green, renting for $20/month, Rev. O.E. Sanders, 48, wife Annie, 30, teacher; and sons Charles, 6, and Otto, 14.

Annie G. Sanders died 17 September 1964 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 March 1907 in Moore County, North Carolina, to Sidney D. Goins and Rosa McCray; was married to Rev. O.E. Sanders; was a teacher; and resided at 700 East Green Street.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

505 East Green Street.

The fortieth 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: “ca. 1908; 1 ½ stories; Roscoe Hall house; unusually narrow, two-bay house with gambrel roof and shed dormer; asphalt shingled; Hall was a butler.”

In the 1912 and 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Rountree Lucy (c) laundress h 504 E Green. John Rountree is also listed at the address — the prior house number — in 1912.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 East Green, Lucy Rountree, 70, “wash & iron”; granddaughter Alene Barnes, 13; and twelve lodgers [which hardly seems possible] Cleveland Sims, 35, oil mill laborer; house carpenters William Thomas, 19, and John Hinnant, 22; factory laborers Herbert Joyner, 24, and Edgar Wilkerson, 30; wagon factory laborer Nathan Woodard, 20; garage laborer Nathan Williams, 22; wagon factory Robert Night, 17; department store truck driver Roy Evins, 22; factory laborer James Ostan, 22; woodcutter John Ostan, 22; and house carpenter Macon Locon, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $24/month, Lucy Roundtree, 80; her daughter Bertha King, 43, servant; and lodgers Della Jones, 47, maid, and Annie Coney, 28, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $20/month, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, 78; wife Ietta R., 65; and daughter Odessa B., 30, a graduate nurse.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

702 East Green Street.

The twenty-ninth 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913. 1 story. Nathan Haskins house; two-room triple-A cottage; Haskins was a laborer.”

As shown in the 1913 Sanborn map of Wilson, 702 East Green was originally numbered 631. (In the early 1920s, 629 East Green was renumbered 700 to reflect the T-intersection of Elba Street opposite.)

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In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Haskins Nathan, lab, h 702 E Green.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook Addie Haskin, 50; daughters Martha, 20, public school teacher and Addie D., 19; daughter-in-law Gladis, 19; and Nathan, 32, cooper at a tobacco factory. The family rented the house for $30 a month.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 702 Green Street, Gentle Bynum, 34, truck driver for Farmers Oil Company; wife Rosa, 30; children Mary E., 12, William, 9, and Dorothy M., 2; and sister Gladys Harris, 17.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

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Black Wide-Awake post No. 1000 — thanks for your support!