East Nash Street

Wilson’s Green Book hotel.

The three-story Hotel Union first appears in Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson in 1908. The wooden building had two storefronts on the ground floor and accommodations above.

The hotel also appears in the 1913 Sanborn map. By 1922, however, the Hotel Union was a boarding house. Its ground floor had been expanded to add another commercial space, and the one-story extension on the back of the building comprised a separate dwelling. There’s no listing for a black-owned hotel or boarding house in the 1922 Wilson city directory, but the 1925 directory shows the Whitley Hotel at 535-537 East Nash. Maggie A. Whitley was proprietor. In the 1928 directory, the address of the Whitley is 541 East Nash. The hotel is visible in a postcard of East Nash Street circulated in the 1920s.

In January 1928, a fire broke out in a second-floor bedroom of the Whitley. Quick action by the fire department prevented extensive damage.

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Wilson Daily Times, 5 January 1928.

The 1941 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book lists the Wilson Biltmore at 541 East Nash Street, which appears to be a later iteration of Hotel Union/Whitley Hotel. (This observation matches Samuel C. Lathan‘s recollection.) The building burned to the ground in the late 1940s.

Rosa’s Place.

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Wilson Daily Times, 3 August 1981.

In the 1910 census of Wilsons Mill, Johnston County: farmer William Nunn, 39; wife Lucy, 28; and children Percie, 13, Rosa, 7, Paul, 5, Nora, 3, and Elsie, 9 months.

On 21 August 1920, Eugene Rhine, 26, of Wilson married Rosa B. Nunn, 18, of Wilson in Wilson. Minister H.E. Clank performed the ceremony in the presence of David Richardson, Hubert Vinson, and T.S. Holt.

On 29 November 1939, Peter Lupes married Rosa Rhyne in Emporia, Greenesville County, Virginia. He was a merchant, a resident of Wilson, North Carolina, divorced, and listed his age as 45. He was born in Portugal to Joe and Mary Lupes. Rosa was widow born in Johnston County who also lived in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Viola Street, Peter Lucas [sic], 50, and wife Rosa, 35. Peter’s birthplace was listed as Massachusetts. He worked as the operator of a beer parlor and Rosa as the operator of a cafe.

Peter Lupe died 21 May 1958 in Wilson. He death certificate notes that he was a resident of the city for 50 years and that he was a United States citizen. He was born 21 March 1891 in “Cape of Verdia Island, Portugal” to Teorga Montel Lupe and Mary Montel Lupe; lived at 717 East Viola Street; and worked as a merchant. His wife Rosa Lupe was his informant.

On 2 July 1960, James Monroe Weathers, 41, of Granada, Mississippi, married Rosa R. Lupe, 53, of Wilson, in Wilson. Catholic priest John R. Ferris performed the ceremony in the presence of Bessie Richardson, Clarence Crawford, and Inez Watson.

Rosa Weathers died 25 October 1999 in Garner, Wake County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1902 in Johnston County; her maiden name was Nunn; and was a manager in an eating and drinking place.

 

Master Shoe Shine Parlor.

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Color was a monthly entertainment news magazine targeted to an African-American audience. Wilson Daily Times, 6 April 1946.

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 March 1949.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Gay Street, plumbing shop laborer Cooper Bynum, 47; wife Annie, 33; and children Ruth, 12, house servant, Joe, 9, Curley, 8, Lucy, 5, Phebia, 3, and Floyd, 9 months.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 Narroway, widow Annie Bynum, 47, and children Ruth, 23, Joseph, 17, Curley C., 16, Feedy, 14, Lucy, 15, and Lizzie M., 7.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 East Street, rented for $20/month, widow Annie Bynum, 48, cook; children Joseph, 21, grocery store delivery boy, Curley, plumber, 20, Lucy, 19, cook, Feba, 18, cook, and Lizzie, 16; and granddaughter Annie, 4.

Lizzie Bynum died 16 April 1932 of pulmonary tuberculosis. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1909 to Cooper and Emma Woodard Bynum, both born in Edgecombe County; was a student; and the family resided at 208 North East Street. Curley Bynum was informant.

On 25 January 1933, Curley Bynum, 22, son of Cooper and Wen Ann Bynum, married Pearl Emanuel, 20, daughter of M.P. and Pattie Emanuel, in Wilson.

In , Curley Bynum registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was 25 December 1902 in Wilson; resided at 109 North East Street; his contact was Febie Bynum, 109 North East; and he worked as a plumbers helper for Mr. Singletary, Gov. Camp, Holiridge [Holly Ridge], N.C.

Pearl Bynum died 21 November 1949 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 May 1910 in South Carolina to Pertis and Pattie Emanuel; was married; lived at 102 North Pender; and worked as a domestic and clerk. Informant was Curly Bynum.

On 27 June 1955, Curley Bynum, 54, of 511 East Green Street, son of Cooper Bynum and Annie Woodard Bynum, married Martha Dawes, 48, of 508 Smith Street, daughter of Arthur Grooms and Minnie Skeeters Grooms, in Wilson.

Curly Bynum died 9 January 1965 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1901 in Wilson County to Cooper Bynum and Annie Woodard; lived at 810 East Vance Street; and had worked as a laborer.

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In an interview in February 2019, Samuel C. Lathan, who grew up in the 500 block of East Nash Street, recalled that Curley Bynum’s shoeshine parlor had twenty “legs,” i.e. ten stands. In the 1930s, seven or eight boys worked for Bynum, charging 15 cents a shine. The boys turned over their earnings to Pearl Bynum, who issued them a ticket for each shine. On Saturday evening, they cashed out, taking home seven cents for each ticket.

Dr. Rosemond, D.D.S., opens a practice.

In late fall of 1948, Dr. Julian Brown Rosemond, a South Carolina native, announced the opening of dental office at 527 1/2 East Nash Street, above Isaac and Kenneth Shade‘s pharmacy. He later built a small office building at 548 East Nash.

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Wilson Daily Times, 3 November 1948.

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Dr. Rosemond during his World War II service, a few years before arriving in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Maria Rosemond Logan.

1209 East Nash Street.

The ninety-sixth 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 house is: “1927; 1 story; William Wells house; bungalow with gable roof and engaged porch; built by Nestus Freeman; Wells was an auto mechanic.”

The house lies within the boundaries of the first phase of the Freeman Place housing redevelopment project and is the sole remaining pre-World War II house between Carroll Street and U.S. Highway 301.

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In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Mazie tchr h 1209 E Nash; (also) Wells Wm auto repr RFD No 4 h 1209 E Nash;

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Wm (c; Mazie H) prop Wells Garage h 1209 E Nash

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1207 [sic] East Nash, owned and valued at $1500, auto mechanic at garage William Wells, 34; wife Mazie, 32, public school teacher; son George, 7; brother-in-law George Cooper, 46, tobacco factory laborer; and sister Aldreta Cooper, 26, cook.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Wm (c; Mazie H) (Wells’ Garage) h 1209 E Nash; (also) Wells’ Garage (c; Wm Wells) 1401 E Nash

Charles Rudolph Bridgers died 15 January 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 7 months, 5 days old and was born in Wilson to Jessie Bridgers and Margaret Kittrell.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting for $8/month, Jessie Bridgers, 32, truck driver for furniture company; wife Margaret, 27; and children Elizabeth, 6, and Jessie Jr., 5.

In 1940, Jessie James Bridgers registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 July 1905 in Halifax, N.C.; his contact was wife Margarette Bridgers; and he worked for J.W. Thomas and V.C. Martin at Thomas Yelverton in Wilson.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bridgers Jesse (c; Margt; 4) furn repr h 1209 E Nash

Wilson Daily Times, 19 January 1946.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Currie David (c; Rematha) lndry wrkr h 1209 E Nash

In a 3 September 1993 Wilson Daily Times article, “City OKs Owner Occupancy-Based Redevelopment”:

“City Council unanimously approved the Redevelopment Demonstration Project Area plan Thursday night despite concerns expressed by some property owners.

“The city proposes to redevelop the two-acre area bounded  by Nash, Carroll, Atlantic and Wainwright streets through housing acquisition, demolition and new construction activities. The redevelopment plan calls for construction of 12 new single-family homes for owner occupancy.

“The sole existing house to be spared demolition — and the only owner-occupied unit — is at 1209 E. Nash St. Charity Speight and her husband own that property.

“‘I was very concerned that no one came to talk to us,’ Mrs. Speight told council. ‘I feel we should have some input too.’ She said the house was rehabilitated two years ago. Even with those improvements, the house will not meet the standards of the new houses to be constructed on the rest of the block. Mrs. Speight said she and her husband are still paying off the rehabilitation loan and cannot afford to put more money into home improvements.”

A notice of conveyance published in the Times a year later made clear the exclusion of the Speights’ home from the city’s redevelopment project:

Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1994.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2018.

705 and 707 East Nash Street.

The ninety-fourth 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, these houses are: “ca. 1908; 1 story; saddlebag house with hip-roofed porch and updated veneers built about 1908.”

The 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map shows that these houses began life as duplexes. They were probably built as rental housing for laborers drawn to Wilson’s tobacco economy. 705 East Nash was numbered 630 and 632 East Nash; 707 was numbered 634 and 636.

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Battle Frank (c; Delphia) firemn h 705 E Nash

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dunston Chas (c; Eveline) wtchman h 705 E Nash

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 705 East Nash, rented for $4/month, Lonnie Hall, 52, janitor, and children Deloris, 13, Rogers, 18, Rex’s Shoe Shop delivery boy, and Kattie, private housekeeper; plus lodgers widow Evylene Dunston, 33; Lenora Whitfield, 24; Alonza Jones, 29; and Jasper Hillard, 10.

In 1942, Rogers Nathaniel Hall registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 22 March 1922 in Wilson; resided at 1522 – 5th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; his nearest relative was father Lonnie Hall, 705 East Nash Street, Wilson; and he worked for Amos Hill, 812 – 13th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Lonnie Hall died 23 December 1955 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1895 in Pender County; lived at 705 East Nash; was married; and worked as a laborer. Informant was Deloris Hall.

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In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hussey Florence (c) laundress h 634 E Nash

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 634 Nash, widow Florence Hussey, 34, and daughters Rosa, 13, and Elizabeth, 11.

Elizabeth Hussey died 12 June 1924 at her home at 707 East Nash. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 November 1908 in Wilson to Willie Hussey of Mount Olive, N.C., and Florence Hooks of Goldsboro, N.C.; was a single; and was a student. Of her death, Dr. A.F. Williams wrote: “On June 12th was sitting on porch & dropped dead, from some heart condition. She had lobar pneumonia in April when I treated her to complete recovery.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 East Nash, widow Florence Hussy, 46, laundry worker, and daughter Rosa, 23.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 East Nash, widow Florence Hussey, 58, laundress at Carolina Laundry, and daughter Rosa, 33.

Florence Hussey died 20 December 1946 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 December 1877 in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolinal was a widow; resided at 707 East Nash; and had worked as a domestic. She was buried at Rountree Cemetery; Rosa Hussey was informant.

Rosa Hussey died six months later — 13 June 1947. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1904 in Wilson to Willie Hussey and Florence Hooks, both of Mount Olive, North Carolina; was single; and worked as a tobacco factory laborer. She died of natural causes and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Frances Wynn Lane of Mount Olive was informant.

Rosa Hussey’s 1947 will.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Anatomy of a photograph: East Nash Street.

This rare postcard depicts an equally rare image of East Wilson’s early business district in the 500 block of East Nash Street. Close examination of the photograph reveals fascinating details, many of which help date the image. The photographer set up his camera near the curb (a surprising feature!) on the south side of the street. First Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1913, would have been across from and slightly behind him. On the far horizon looms the brick bulk of the Hotel Cherry, built in 1917.

At least ten people — all of whom appear to be male — were captured in the image, including these seven standing or walking along the right side of the street:

These commercial buildings supply clues to the location of the photo. The three-story building, constructed in 1894, is Odd Fellows Hall, home to Hannibal Lodge #1552. Its ground floor contained an ever-changing array of store fronts, and a sign for Maynard’s Market/Fish & Oysters is visible here. As early as 1914, Samuel Vick‘s Globe vaudeville and moving picture theatre was housed on the second floor. The sign hanging from the corner of the building pointed the way to the theatre’s side entrance.

The three-story frame building beside the Odd Fellows Hall was the Hotel Union, managed by Mary Jane Sutzer Taylor Henderson. Here lies a clue to the photograph’s date. In the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps, there is an empty lot between the Union and the hall.

1908.

1913.

However, by 1922, a one-story wooden structure, housing a barber shop and sharing a wall with the hotel/boarding house, appears in the gap. See below. (Note also that the theatre’s exterior staircase is gone, traded for enclosed access.) This building, with its shallow gable-end roof, is visible in the postcard image.

1922.

The Model T Fords (and a single mule and wagon) also help date the photo to the early 1920s.

There is an artificial quality about the neatly trimmed hedges and suspiciously uniform trees ranged along the left side of the street. Though this portion of the image may have been hand-drawn, that side of the 500 block was in fact lined with private homes.

Families living in this block included the Mitchells, (#540), the Sutzers (#536), and the Yanceys (#538).

This stretch of East Nash Street today, courtesy of Google Maps. The commercial buildings on the right side of the street, including the historic Odd Fellows Hall, were demolished in the 1990s.

Postcard image courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III, Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards (2003).