East Nash Street

Uptown, 1930.

As detailed here and here, the blocks of East Nash Street between the railroad and Pender Street were home to Wilson’s black commercial district. Pages 285-336 of 1930 edition of the Wilson, N.C. City Directory offers a detailed listing of the businesses on these blocks. (There were a baker’s dozen residences, too — all save one black-owned or -occupied. One was a boarding house, and half the others included unrelated lodgers.) Though primarily owned by African-Americans, white businesses — several run by immigrant Syrians or Greeks — and a Chinese laundry also operated in the district.

Though they could not buy a dress or deposit a check* or consult a lawyer on their side of town, East Wilson did not have to cross the tracks to see a movie, get their shoes shined or repaired, get a haircut (four barbers), buy eggs and butter (eight groceries, including a corporate chain), grab a cup of coffee and a slice of pie (six cafes and restaurants), select fresh fish, get a suit altered or pressed, play billiards, straighten a bicycle frame, buy or repair furniture, consult a doctor or dentist (two of each), get a prescription filled (two pharmacies), have their hair straightened, sample fresh-made candy, attend a lodge meeting (three), book a hotel room, replace a watch band, pay on insurance policy, fill a gas tank, or bury their dead.

Though this entry suggests otherwise, the theatre’s building was actually east of the tracks. In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, George C. Woller is listed as the proprietor of the Lincoln.

A C L R R intersects

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Cutt Davis and James Mack are listed as proprietors of the Baltimore Shoe Shop.

  • 420 1/2 McNeill & Hargrove (c) barbers

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Angus A. McNeill and John Hargrove are listed as the proprietor of the Lincoln. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1202 Wainright, Angus McNeil, 40, barber; wife Maggie, 25; and daughter Agnes E., 6.

  • 421 Kannan Thos S gro

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pine Street, Syrian-born widow Shely Kannan, 48, saleslady in a dry goods store, with children Ellis, 28, dry goods store manager, Albert, 22, dry goods store salesman, Thomas, 18, fruit stand salesman, and Rosa Lee, 16. The older two children were also born in Syria.

  • 423 Star Cafe

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Gost Glearmis is listed as the proprietor of the Star.

Pettigrew intersects

  • 500 Gatlin Amos J & Co gro

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 220 Railroad Street, grocery merchant James P. Gatlin, 66; wife Patty, 68, saleslady; son Amos J., 29, salesman; daughter-in-law Edna, 24; grandchildren Amos Jr., 6, Constance, 4, Patricia, 3, and Dorthy, 9 months.

  • 501 Maynard’s Mkt gro

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, George W. Maynard is listed as the proprietor of this grocery and another at 401 Stantonsburg.

  • 503 Barnes Rachel G (c) restr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1118 East Nash Street, Johnie Barnes, 33, cafe proprietor; wife Rachel G., 35, cafe cook; cousin Leotha Clark, 22, cafe waitress; and roomer Henrietta Walker, 28, cafe waitress.

  • 504 Verser Jesse W

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 East Nash Street, grocery store proprietor Jessie W. Verser; with Annie, 36; daughters Ethel, 10, and Thelma, 7; and mother Bertha, 71.

  • 505 Barnes John (c) barber

John Barnes was husband of Rachel G. Barnes, above.

  • 506 Wah Jung lndy

Wah Jung Laundry appears in Wilson city directories as early as 1912. In the 1930 residential listing, its proprietor was listed as Yee G. Wah.

  • 507 Ziady Jos gro

Per the 1928 Wilson city directory, Ziady’s establishment was called Nash Candy Kitchen. He resided nearby at 107 South Pettigrew Street.

  • 508 Service Barber Shop (c) Artis Ernest A (c)

In the 1930 residential listing: Artis Ernest L (c) (Louise) (Service Barber Shop) h 404 N Vick

  • 509 1/2 Stokes Thos (c) fish

In the residential listing of the 1930 directory: Stokes Thos (c) (Babe) fish 509 1/2 Nash h 615 W Wiggins

  • 511 Lupe Peter (c) shoe shiner
  • 512 Braswell Ezekiel (c) rest

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1120 East Nash Street, Ezekiel Braswell, 38, cafe proprietor; wife Mary, 29, public school teacher; daughters Mary E., 5, and Parthenia, 3; and roomer Matilda Cherry, 26, teacher.

  • 514 Lesley Saml G (c) tailor

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Manchester Street, Ohio-born tailor Samuel G. Lesley, 28; Virginia-born wife Lillian, 24; and children Denis, 8, Robert, 6, Samuel Jr., 4, and John W., 3.

  • 517 Moore John H (c) shoe repr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Atlantic Street, cobbler John H. Moore, 45; wife Annie, 31; and children Lena, 13, Carl, 11, John, 9, Anna G., 7, Odessia B., 3, and Ruth, 1.

  • 519 Phillips Chas P bicycle repr

In the residential listing of the 1930 directory: Phillips Chas P (Minnie A) bicycle repr 519 E Nash h 410 Herring Ave

  • 520 Dixon Lenora (c) billiards

Though Lenora Dixon appears in the 1930 city directory under her maiden name, living at 611 Nash, on 9 December 1929, she married Daniel Carroll in Wilson. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Daniel Carroll, 27, barber in Hines shop; wife Lenora, 27, no occupation; and adopted daughter Hattie L., 9.

  • 521 Smith Preston (c) clothes clnr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 314 Stantonsburg Street, tailor Preston Smith, 42; wife Minnie, 30; sons Henry, 17, and Vernon, 10; and roomers Henry Edwards, 40, and Anna B. Edwards, 18, both tobacco factory laborers.

  • 522 Atkinson Henry (c) shoe repr
  • 523 Wooten W L Co furn

In the residential listing of the 1930 directory: W L Wooten Co Inc, H Paul Yelverton pres, Jesse W Thomas v-pres, Wm L Wooten sec-treas, furn 523 E Nash.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 805 East Nash, physician Matthew S. Gilliam, 45; wife Annie L., 42; and children Charles A., 17, Matthew, 15, Emily, 13, George T., 12, and Herman, 10. In the 1930 residential listing of the city directory: Howard Mary (c) lndrs h 524 E Nash.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 719 East Green Street, barber Charles S. Thomas, 48; wife Blanch, 48; nephew-in-law George W., 22; adopted daughter Cora, 22; and adopted son Lee Roy, 11.

  • 526 Coleman Mattie B (c)

Mattie B. Coleman managed a boarding house at 526 East Nash. At that address in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: paying $12/month in rent, widow Carrie Shaw, 48; and children Robert, 21, dry cleaning plant laborer, Cornie, 20, laundress, Louise, 18, private nurse, Jovester, 17, Aline, 15, and Nettie R., 12. Also paying $12/month, Dave Harris, 32, guano plant laborer; wife Bessie S., 27, laundress; and children Timothy, 12, Roy, 10, Ardria M., 8, Roland, 5, Odessa, 3, and Herman, 1. Also paying $12/month, boarding house keeper Mattie B. Coleman, 25; tobacco factory stemmer Enemicha Kent, 20; tobacco factory stemmer Carrie M. Shine, 22, and Callonia Shine, 15; wholesale grocery delivery boy Mitchel Hamon, 24, and wife Ella, 17; restaurant dishwasher James Nelson, 21; laundry ironer Irene Rountree, 27; and cook Maggie Downing, 26.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 528 East Nash, widowed seamstress Sarah L. Bowden, 59; divorced restaurant cook George Lee, 24; and widower barber George Sledge, 51.

  • 529 Coppedge Sarah (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Sarah Coppedge, 36, laundress; lodgers James Ellec, 27, cook, and Mary Taylor, 30; son-in-law James Barnes, 26, coal company truck driver; daughter Verlie L., 20; and relative Frank, 21, tea room cook.

  • 530 Stokes Turner (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: building carpenter Turner Stokes, 60; wife Mattie, 38, laundress; and roomers Mary Barnes, 16, and Lillian Dedman, 17.

  • 531 Swindell Deborah (c) hair drsr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 630 East Suggs Street, beauty parlor helper Debbie Swindell, 40; widow Effie Lewis, 35, servant, and children Essie M., 10, Mathew, 8, and William J., 4; and daughter Deborah Swindell, 6.

  • 532 Uzzell Henry (c) furn repr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 503 Viola Street, cafe cook Henry Uzzell, 48; wife Almira, 43; and children Eliza, 20, servant, Corine, 17, Mable, 16, Eva May, 11, James, 9, and Corrie, 6.

  • 533 Taylor Bertha (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: divorced laundress Bertha Taylor, 33.

  • 534 Bynum Mack (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 534 East Nash, tobacco factory machinist Mack Bynum, 48; and children Mildred, 20, school lunchroom cook, and Mary, 17; son-in-law Richard Saunders, 25; daughter Catherine, 23; and grandson Walter, 6 months. Also, South Carolina-born odd jobs laborer Anthony Ashley, 48; wife Sarah D., 30, a tobacco factory stemmer; and children Willie G., 10, Leo, 8, Eugenia, 6, and Joseph D., 2 months; restaurant cook Marshal McCommick, 23; hardware delivery man Fletcher Lassiter, 25; and embalmer Daniel McKeathan, 30.

  • 535 Najim Geo candy mfr

Najim resided at 107 South Pettigrew. See Joseph Ziady, above.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Methodist minister Russell B. Taylor, 48, widower; and children Laura, 14, Sarah, 11, Christopher, 7, and William, 4; daughter Beatrice Barnes, 18, teacher, and her son Elroy Barnes Jr., 1; Cora Speight, 49; laundress Mamie Williams, 30; and Roscoe McCoy, 32.

  • 537 Lucas Wm T gro

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 216 Railroad Street, Will T. Lucas, 56, grocery store merchant; wife Sallie, 42; son Leon, 22; daughter-in-law Dorthy, 22; children Will Jr., 7, and Sarah F., 3; and granddaughter Betsy G., 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Virginia-born druggist Darcey C. Yancey, 46; wife Lelia B., 40; and daughter Maude, 9.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Albert Mitchel, 52; brother Floyd Mitchel, 47; and roomers Settie Hardy, 56, housekeeper, and Jaunita Nevells, 23.

  • 541 Whitley Hotel; Marshall Lodge, No 297, IBPOE

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Maggie A. Whitley is listed as the proprietor of this hotel.

  • 542 Brewington Edward C (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: transfer driver Eddie Brewington, 32; wife Mary, 32, laundress; and hospital nurse Alice Tyler, 69.

  • 543 Jones Luther J (c) restr

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Mason Street, seamstress Lula Herring, 25, and boarder Luther Jones, 38, cafe manager.

  • 544 Baker Easter (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Esther Baker, 64; son Jim, 24, tobacco factory laborer; cafe dish washer George Coley, 32; and Fred Hancock, 43.

  • 545 Ford clnrs; Best John (c) clothes presser

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Herbert H. and Alf J. Ford are listed as the proprietors of Ford cleaners. Also, Best John (c) (Sylvia) clothes presser h 106 Ashe.

  • 546 Rogers John W (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: dry goods store janitor John W. Rogers, 57; wife Mary R., 47; adopted son Leonard G., 7; and niece Ernestine Atkinson, a teacher.

  • 547 Am Legion, Henry Ellis Post (c); IOOF, Hannibal Lodge, No 552 (c)
  • 548 Barbour Nannie (c) clo presser

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Barbour Nannie (c) clothes presser 548 e Nash h 1005 Atlantic.

  • 549 Fahad Kattar billiards

Census and other records indicate that Fahad, born in Syria or Lebanon, was primarily a resident of New Bern, North Carolina.

  • 551 Rutherford Geo (c) restr

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 104 [sic; 804] Green Street, Georgia-born cafe proprietor George Rutherford, 45, and wife Maggie, 31, waitress.

  • 552 Alston Robert T (c) watch repr

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory: Alston Robet T (c) watch repr 552 E Nash h do

  • 552 1/2 Wilson Dye Works (br)

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Luther W. High is listed as the proprietor of this branch of the dye works.

  • 553 Peacock & Locus undtkrs

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Levi H. Peacock Jr. and Luther Locus are listed as the proprietors of this undertaking establishment. However, in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1108 Wainwright, cook Luther Locus, 37, wife Eula, 37, also a cook, and son Robert, 16. And at 204 Vick Street, hotel bellboy Levi Peacock, 30; wife Elouise, 28, a public school teacher; children Jewel D., 4, and Thomas L., 14; and mother-in-law Etta Reaves, 50, post office maid.

  • 554 Baxter & Co gros

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, Herman W. Baxter and James F. Downing are listed as the proprietors of this grocery.

Stantonsburg intersects

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Atlantic Street, cafe proprietor Jim Allen, 45; wife Rachel, 32, a private nurse; and children Elouise, 10, and Fred, 8; and lodgers Floyd Baker, 26, farm laborer, Gertrude Kannary, 27, cook, and Katherine, 10, Dortha, 7, and Elouise Baker, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 604 East Green, Baptist minister Fred M. Davis, 60; wife Minie, 49; daughter Addie, 25, teacher; and Bermuda-born son-in-law George Butterfield, 27, dentist.

Darcy C. Yancey, above, was proprietor of Ideal Pharmacy.

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory: Mitchner Wm A (c) phys 565 E Nash h 604 E Green.  Winston Mutual Life Insurance Company was established in 1906 by African-American business and civic leaders to provide health and accident insurance for Winston-Salem’s African-American tobacco workers.

  • 567 Battle Harry (c) restr

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory: Battle Harry (c) restr 567 E Nash r 902 do.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Columbus Artis, a merchant/undertaker, wife Ida [Ada], and niece Gladys Adams. Artis owned the house at 308 Pender Street, valued at $4000.

Pender intersects

  • 600 Triangle Filling Sta

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory, William H. Taylor is listed as the proprietor of this gas station.

  • 601 Boykin Dorsey G filling sta

In the residential listing of the 1930 Wilson city directory: Boykin Dorsey G (Virginia L) filling sta 601 E Nash h 208 W Green.

  • 603 Simpson Fannie (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fannie Simpson 60, widow.

  • 605 Parker Eli (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 605 East Nash, fertilizer plant laborer Bob Snow, 29; wife Elberta, 27; and children Beulah, 11, John, 8, Albert, 6, and Edgar, 1. Also, oil mill laborer Elye Parker, 29, and wife Pearl, 27, cook.

  • 607 Smith Wm (c)

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: bakery laborer Willie Smith, 27; wife Ada, 24; and brother Oscar, 18, bakery laborer; widow Mary Williams, 45, cook, and son Robert, 28, tobacco factory stemmer.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 111 Pender Street, Charles H. Darden, 76, undertaking proprietor; wife Mary E.; and Cora Brown, 22, drugstore clerk.

*Black-owned Commercial Bank closed abruptly amid scandal in 1929.

 

1113 East Nash Street.

The thirty-eighth 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: “1927; 2 stories. Parsonage, Jackson Chapel Baptist Church; cubic, hip-roofed, is blend of Colonial Revival and bungalow traits, typical of a host of middle-class dwellings in district built during 1920s.”

In the 1930 Wilson city directory: Jordan Benj F Rev (c) (Maggie L) pastor First Bapt Ch h 1113 E Nash.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, minister Benjiman Jorden, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Benjiman F., 16, Mary B., 14, Milford L., 12, Odis, 11, Willard, 10, Irene C., 8, and James D., 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, renting for $20/month, W.P.A. project laborer Oscar Ellis, 50; wife Mamie, 48; children Henry, 23, laborer, Estell, 22, housekeeper, Aja, 21, waiter, Charles, 20, deliveryman for Moore’s Drug, James, 18, Bessie, 17, Herbert, 15, Leroy, 13, Fred, 8, Mamie, 10, and Clarence, 5; and adopted children Annie, 15, and Rosco Jones, 13.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

1009 East Nash Street.

The 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories. Cubic, hip-roofed house with bungalow-type porch posts; central-hall plan.”

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, cook Nannie Best, laundress Frankie Best and seamstress Eliza Best are listed as residents of 1009 East Nash Street.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nan Best, 75, widow; daughter Frankie, 55; and grandsons William, 19, and Audrey, 15.

In 1942, Aaron Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson:

Nannie Best died 18 June 1948 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 June 1865 in Greene County to Aaron Best [this is an error; Aaron was her husband, not father] and Evelyn [last name unknown]; resided at 1009 East Green Street; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Aaron Best, 1009 East Nash Street, was informant.

William Aaron Best died 21 August 1949. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 September 1900 in Wilson County to Aaron and Nannie Best; was a widower; and worked as a laborer for Export Tobacco Company. Audrey Best, 1009 East Nash, was informant.

805 East Nash Street

The eleventh 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: “ca. 1922; 1 [sic, 2]; Dr. Matthew Gilliam house; one of the district’s fine Colonial Revival houses, including typical cubic form, hip roof, and simple detail; distinguished by wraparound porch wit classical columns; Gilliam was a physician and owned rental property on Nash and Ashe Streets.”

Dr. Gilliam was died of knife wounds sustained when he confronted one of his tenants. 805 East Nash Street has long been occupied by Edwards Funeral Home, which added a wing on the east side of the house.

Central business district: East Nash Street, part 1.

In 1984, a preservation consultant prepared a Nomination Form for recognition as a National Historic District for “Wilson Central Business District – Tobacco Warehouse Historic District,” a thirty-six-block area at “the commercial and industrial heart of Wilson.” This area included stretch of Nash Street east of the the railroad, Wide Awake’s black business district, and the nomination  form has preserved forgotten details of the architecture and history of these blocks, part of which underwent dramatic, transformative loss a few years after the report was created.

Excerpted below are details of the 400 and 500 blocks of Nash Street and recent photographs of the buildings described. (The entries are presented as original with minor typographical corrections and just a few fact corrections, noted in brackets.)

——

#53. Commercial building, 417-419 East Nash Street

Built ca 1920 and enlarged during the 1920s, this two-story, five-bay brick building has two altered storefronts on the first story and six-over-six sash windows enframed in a recessed brick panel on the second story. The simply finished building has decorative cornice. In the early 1970s, the interior underwent a thorough remodeling during conversion to a restaurant/lounge, including the placement of simulated wood paneling on the walls. Fortunately, the foliate detailed pressed metal survives on both stories and has a  modest molded cornice. Its earliest occupants were the Wilson Cafe in 417 and Willie Johnson Cafe in 419. The Lincoln Theatre occupied the 417 store in the late 1920s. Both stores were occupied by the W.L. Wooten (furniture) Company from ca 1936 until the early 1970s. The present owner of the combined stores is a restaurant/lounge. The second story is used for storage.

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415 and 417 Nash Street SE.

#54. Commercial building, 418-420 East Nash Street

One story, brick, commercial buildings have stood here since the mid 1880s and since the 1890s were known as the Fulcher Block. The present double-storefront building apparently dates from the mid 1880s, but has been altered several times  since, including being completely stuccoed in the early twentieth century. The 420 lower facade retains its recessed entrance configuration with overhead transom, while the 418 lower facade has been replaced by a modern door. The east corner of the building, facing toward the railroad, is clipped/angled and contains a modern replacement window. The South Railroad Street (northwest) elevation is six bays wide, with a closed-up display window at the front  and altered segmental windows toward the rear. At the rear southwest is a 1954 cement block annex. The interiors have seen numerous changes during conversion to a furniture store in the 1970s. The building’s first occupant was a general mercantile store and was succeeded by several grocery stores. From the early 1930s until ca 1971 the building was occupied by the Wilson-Purity-Holsum Bakery; since 1974 it has been occupied by the Adams Brothers Furniture Company.

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420 and 422 Nash Street NE.

#55. Star Cafe building, 423-425 East Nash Street

A simple four bay-by-six bay building built with oversized bricks, this commercial building was built ca 1928 as rental property and has an acute angled corner at the East Nash Street juncture with North Pettigrew Street. The first story facade at number 423 has been altered with shortened replacement windows, a replacement door and its transom, which has a cast concrete lintel, has been closed. The 421 storefront has also been altered and its transom stuccoed. The second story windows have cast concrete sills and have been closed. The North Pettigrew Street (southeast) elevation steps down toward the rear ad has closed bays. On the rear (northeast) elevation are two, one-story additions both ca 1930. The first one, 105 Pettigrew Street, is built of cement block and is three bays wide and has a shed roof. Both additions have altered and closed bays. A barber has always occupied the 421 East Nash Street store, first Charles Woodard, then John Hargrove from 1936 until the 1950s, and since then by the Service Shaving Parlor. The Star Cafe, Gus Glearmes [Gliarmis], proprietor, occupied the 423 store from its construction until the mid 1940s and was succeeded, consequently, by the Wilson Cafe, the Tropical Grill, the Army-Navy Surplus store, and storage for a grocery. It is currently occupied by the Whole Truth Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. The additions/stores at 105, 107-109 North Pettigrew Street have been occupied primarily for storage; both have been vacant for many years.

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419 and 421 Nash Street NE (buildings renumbered).

#56. Wilson Bakery Annex, 422 East Nash Street

This two-story, four bay-by-three bay, brick building was built in the 1940s to enlarge the Wilson Bakery, which had occupied the adjacent stores at 418-420 East Nash Street in the mid 1930s. The first story contains large windows filled with square glass blocks and the second story contains four-pane casements. A cement block, one-story section was added at the rear (southwest) in 1954. The Wilson-Purity-Holsum Bakery occupied the building until ca 1971; Adams Brothers Furniture has occupied the building along with 418-420 East Nash Street since 1974.

From 1921 until 1930 this site was the location of the Commercial Bank of Wilson, Wilson’s first black-owned bank. Founded in March of 1921 by Samuel H. Vick (1863-1946), a prominent black Wilsonian who was involved in numerous civic, fraternal and business enterprises in the black community. Vick was responsible for the founding and erection of the Odd Fellows building (#75) at 549 East Nash Street and the construction of the 1906 Orange Hotel (#63) at 526 East Nash Street. The directors of the bank included some of the most prominent black citizens in Wilson: F.S. Hargraves [Hargrave], I.A. Slade, J.D. Reid, Dr. W.R. [W.H.] Phillips, W.R. Hinnant, C.L. Darden (see the Darden Building (#80) at 559-561 East Nash Street), C.S. Thomas and Glenn McBrayer.

#57. Joe’s Quick Stop Grill, 500 East Nash Street

This intrusive little grill was erected during the 1950s of cement blocks and faces the corner of East Nash and South Pettigrew Streets. Gas pumps are located in front of the building, which has a recent metal awning. Early Sanborn maps show this to have been the site of a frame grocery store.

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500 Nash Street NE.

#58. (Former) Harrell Store Building, 501-503 East Nash Street

Built in the early 1900s as a general mercantile store for white merchant Ephraim Harrell, this one-story, two-storefront building has some of the boldest brickwork found on small commercial buildings in Wilson. Raised cornices and dentils decorate the stepped parapet and the recessed panels of the upper facade. A raised dentil cornice also continues along the North Pettigrew (northwest) elevation. Unfortunately, both storefronts have been altered, although the 501 store retains its recessed central entrance. Both transoms have been covered. Succeeding Harrell in the 501 store was George W. Maynard’s market, the Yellow Front Grocery (W.L. Dickerson, proprietor) for about twenty years during the 1930s,  1940s, and 1950s, and the Red Front Grill. The restaurant of Rosa Rhyne occupied the 503 store from ca 1936 until the 1960s. Since the mid 1970s, Jimmy’s Pawn Shop has occupied both stores. The interior contains one large space and contains replacement walls and ceiling.

#59. Barnes Barber Shop, 505 East Nash Street

This small, one-story brick building, completely altered by the bricking in of the display windows, was built ca 1922 as a restaurant and housed the barbershop of John Barnes from ca 1928 until 1961. Since 1962 it has been occupied by Rosa’s Restaurant.

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501-503 and 505 Nash Street NE.

#60. Abbitt Building, 506-516 East Nash Street

This modest, one-story commercial building was erected between 1922 and 1930 as rental property by Henry W. Abbitt (1881-1957), a prominent Wilson auto dealer who built several  rental commercial buildings in Wilson in the 1920s. It is the most intact of any of the commercial buildings in the 500 block of East Nash Street, the traditional black commercial district. Each of the three wide bays, divided by brick pilasters, contains an identical pair of storefronts. The right (northwest) has a recessed entrance on the northwest, and the left (southeast) has a street level door on the southeast; the respective display windows are in the center. Above each surprisingly intact storefront is a transom of multi-pane, raised glass and a brick soldier course lintel. A brick panel, defined by a brick soldier course and and having square corner insets of cast concrete is located in the upper facade of each bay. The stepped parapet is capped by cast concrete. The six interiors are identical and intact. Each has plastered walls and a modest pressed metal ceiling with cornice. Only the 516 store has replacement paneled walls. The first occupants of the respective stores were the Jung Wah Laundry in 506, The City Taxi in 508, the Baltimore Shoe Shop in 510, Ezekiel Braswell‘s Restaurant in 512, an unnamed cleaners on 514, and the Sanitary Shaving Parlor. Since then, a number of businesses have been located in each store — a taxi company, a beer hall, a flower shop, a shoe shine shop, a pool hall, and numerous beauty parlors and barber shops. The current occupants are Cleo’s Beauty  shop in 506, a church in 508, 510 is vacant, Mitchell’s Pool Hall in 512, Taylor’s Beauty Shop in 514, and The Pink Tulip Beauty Shop in 516.

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Partial view of 506-516 Nash Street NE.

#61. Commercial buildings, 513, 515, 517, 519, 521 East Nash Street

These plain, modest, brick buildings, exhibiting simple brick details, were built in the 1930s to replace previous frame stores and have served a variety of commercial uses since: a shoe shine parlor, several barber and beauty shops, a cleaner, a bike repair shop, a grocer, two confectioners and several cafes. Presently, the stores house a beauty shop, a bar, a barber shop, a party store and a jeweler. All the facades have been modernized at various times.

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515, 517, 519 and 521 Nash Street NE (513 has been demolished).

#62. (Former) Wilson Variety Store, 518-522 East Nash Street

Built in 1957-1958 by Irving Mink for rental purposes, this plain, one-story, three-storefront structure is simply detailed. Its first tenant, the Wilson Variety Store, John M. Pierce, manager, occupied the building only until 1964. Since then a variety of beauty shops and bars have occupied the building.

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518, 520 and 522 Nash Street NE.

#63. The Orange Hotel, 526 East Nash Street

The Orange Hotel was built in 1906 for Samuel H. Vick (1861-1946) to serve as a hotel for Negro travelers through Wilson at a time that it is doubtful that any of Wilson’s several hotels served blacks. The two-story, weather-boarded frame building is three-bays wide and four-bays deep and is sheltered beneath a low, hipped roof of standing seam metal; interior brick chimneys with corbeled caps pierce the roof. The house’s only ornamentation is supplied by a five-bay, two-tier porch that is carried across the north faced by turned posts with small curved brackets. A balustrade of slender turned balusters connects the posts on the second story; a replacement railing of “x” shaped two-by-fours  is on the first story. The first story entrance has a double door with a two-pane transom; a single door is on the second floor. The narrow windows contain two-over-two in plain surrounds. A molded and boxed cornice with plain frieze completes the building. The rear elevation is occupied by a one-story ell. The front yard is set off by a pointed picket fence. The center hall plan interior is plastered and has symmetrically molded door and window surrounds with circular corner medallions. A handsome closed stringer rises from the front of the hall along the northwest wall.

Samuel H. Vick was a determined and successful businessman who cared about his race and aspired to alleviate injustice and therefore directed his business pursuits to the service of his people.  He built livable rental housing for Wilson’s expanding Negro population in the first decade of this century, established in 1920 the first Commercial Bank of Wilson (#56), the first bank to serve Negroes in Wilson, the Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home (known to most Wilsonians as Mercy Hospital) in 1913, a movie theatre, an insurance company, the Lincoln Benefit Society, and the Odd Fellows Lodge (#76) in 1894. He was also active in church and social activities. Born in 1863 at Castalia in neighboring Nash County, Vick came by himself to Wilson in the mid 1870s to attend school [this is not correct, see here], working in a grocery store to put himself through school. In 1880 he enrolled in Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1884. He pursued his graduate work by correspondence, obtaining his master’s degree in 1887; during this time, 1884-1887, he was principal of the Wilson Graded School. He served two terms as Wilson postmaster, 1889-1894 and again from 1898-1903. After 1903 he served under sponsorship of Lincoln University as a Presbyterian missionary and traveled for years throughout North Carolina helping to organize Presbyterian Sunday School classes. Afterward, he devoted his time to his many business and philanthropic interests in Wilson.

According to the Sanborn maps, by 1913 the Orange Hotel was known as the Lynn Haven Hotel and by 1922 it was a dwelling. Vick lost the building during the Depression and the Mechanics and Farmers Bank held title until 1944. The present owner, Mrs. Mattie B. Coleman, purchased the property in 1950 and continues to live here and rent furnished rooms.

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The Orange Hotel, 526 Nash Street NE.

 Many thanks to LuAnn Monson, City of Wilson Preservation Planner, for a correction regarding the success of the nomination. All photographs taken by Lisa Y. Henderson in July 2016.

The 500 block.

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Page 14, Wilson, North Carolina, Sanborn map, 1908.

The intersection of East Nash, Pender Street and Stantonsburg Road. (Jane Street down there is now Ashe.) First Baptist’s church was two years away, but an early version of the Saint John A.M.E. Zion building was in place. The Darden Funeral Home building had a bicycle shop and general repair shop on the first floor, the undertaking business on the second, and lodge quarters on the third. In 1908, the main commercial strip of black Wilson — the 500 block of East Nash — was still primarily residential, but the map does show several general stores (540, 552, 565), a barbershop (528), two cobblers (525 and 526), a drugstore (538), and the Hotel Union (532-534) in place. An adjoining map (page 8), which depicts Nash Street from the railroad east, shows at 500-502, a general store; 504, barber; 508, tailor; 514, pool room; 516, bike shop and fishmonger; and 518, meat market.

The 1908 edition of Hill’s Wilson city directory identifies the block’s shopkeepers and business owners. (African-Americans are indicated by an *):

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