East Nash Street

Soft drink bottling company in East Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 January 1948.

Wilson Bottling Company stood at the corner of East Nash and South Vick Streets in a building originally occupied by a grocery. This stretch of East Nash Street was a small commercial district featuring several groceries and the Elks Club’s lodge building.

Here’s the area in the 1930 Sanborn map, before the Elks Club was built:

In 1930, the businesses were:

  • at 909, Wade H. Humphrey Grocery
  • at 911, vacant
  • at 913, barber Oscar Williams
  • at 915, vacant
  • at 917, vacant
  • at 1000, Babe Pridgen Grocery
  • at 1001 [921], Edward Nicholson Grocery
  • at 1004A, vacant
  • at 1005, Marcellus Forbes Grocery
  • at 1006, Moses Parker Grocery

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory:

  • at 909, vacant
  • at 911, Farm & Home Curb Market
  • at 913, Mattie G. Hines beer shop
  • at 915 and 917, Gill’s Grocery
  • at 1000, Wilson Bottling Company
  • at 1001 [921], Elks Home, Marshall Lodge #297
  • at 1004A, vacant
  • at 1005, Forbes Grocery
  • at 1006, Forbes Grocery storage

Canton Restaurant.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory reveals that George Wong operated a small restaurant at 524 East Nash. It was, perhaps, the first Chinese restaurant in East Wilson.

The directory listed Wong’s address as 122 North Tarboro Street, which was also the location of his laundry. He was apparently a new arrival to Wilson as he does not appear in the 1940 census of the town. His laundry was around the corner from the county courthouse and seems to have done well for a time.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1943.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 August 1944.

However, by 1950, Wong was disabled by blindness and forced to close his shop. A few weeks after the notice below ran, National Bank of Wilson advertised the sale and removal of Wong’s building with a proviso that the building be moved and debris cleared within 30 days.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 April 1950.

101 South Pender Street.

The one hundred eighty-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.

The corner today, per Google Maps.

The corner of Pender and Nash, at 101 South Pender Street [Stantonsburg Street] (also known as 600 East Nash Street), as described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1950; 1 story; porcelain-enameled steel gas station with clean lines and simple square form suggesting International Style; altered and in disrepair.”

The 1908 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson, N.C., depict an irregularly shaped vacant brick building at the tip of the triangle formed by the intersection of East Nash Street and Stantonsburg Street (now South Pender Street). It was numbered 601-603 East Nash Street. The building shown just below it was the original location of Darden Funeral Home. The three-story building also housed C.H. Darden’s bicycle shop and general repair business. The third floor was reserved for lodge meetings. (Which lodge? The Odd Fellows and Masons had their own lodges.)

The 1913 Sanborn map shows the building modified with a wooden porch on the Stantonsburg Street side and cast-iron porches at the entrance and Nash Street side. A grocery occupied the space.

By time the 1922 Sanborn map was drawn, the street numbers had flipped from odd to even and vice-versa, and the auto repair shop at the corner was at 600 East Nash Street.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Triangle Service Station (Wm H Taylor) 600 E Nash

In the 1941 and 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Triangle Service Station (Cleveland T Barnes) filling sta 101 Stantonsburg

The Oblong Box-Style gas station described in the nomination form may date to 1950, but petroleum corporations began adopting the style in the late 1930s. I have not found photos of Triangle Service Station to determine whether it was built in the style or upgraded to it.

In the 1963 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Sutton’s Gulf Service (Cecil E Sutton) 600 E Nash St

The  Gulf gas station is just visible in this detail from a mid to late 1960s photo of the area.

The building is currently home to a carwash business.

The Orange Hotel.

The famous (and infamous) Orange Hotel was on the market again recently — for something north of $50K. The listing seems to be have withdrawn, though I don’t think the building sold. 

While in Wilson, I took an opportunity to take a closer look.

Per the 1984 Nomination Form for recognition as a National Historic District for “Wilson Central Business District – Tobacco Warehouse Historic District,” “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.”

The Orange Hotel has been hard-used for most of its 116-year existence and has stood empty for the last five or so. It’s not falling down, but it’s in pretty bad shape. One of the corbel-capped chimneys collapsed and was replaced by a squat brick structure. The turned porch posts with their curved brackets are largely intact, however.

“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 turned balusters on the second floor are also mostly in place, but the front double-door is now a plain single door.  

“The narrow windows contain two-over-two in plain surrounds.” These windows must be seven-feet tall.

“The rear elevation is occupied by a one-story ell.” I assume that that rickety staircase at right was added after 1984, and perhaps the shed-roofed enclosures at center as well.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2022.

20 Business and Residence Lots for Colored People.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1918. 

We’ve seen the Emma Gay property here. The ad above announced the sale of the lots of the subdivision laid out in Plat Book 1, page 56, Wilson Register of Deeds Office. The notice targeted two markets — “the colored man” wishing “to purchase a home close in” and “the white man” aiming to “make a safe and very profitable investment.” The latter won out as the later development of the parcel was commercial.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 3: East Nash at South Lodge Street.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century.

This block of East Nash Street fronts the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad’s passenger station. In 1913, it contained four storefronts, all housing Black-owned businesses, and a large house. Just a few years later, all were demolished to make way for the Terminal Inn, the two-story, multi-bay building that for decades was anchored by Terminal Drug Store and Star Credit Department Store and still stands today.

Moses Brandon operated an eating house next to the Atlantic Coast Line tracks. His death is reported here.

Austin Neal‘s barber shop was next door at 409 East Nash. The business later moved to the 500 block of Nash Street.

The business at 407 was labeled “cobbler.” The city directory listed Bud Wiley, bootblack, as proprietor.

John G. Corbin‘s pool room rounded out the storefronts. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: street laborer Brazell Winstead, 48; dressmaker Ada, 22; sister-in-law Martha Corben, 31, laborer; and brother-in-law John, 34, farmer. [Braswell Winstead was, in fact, a college-educated teacher turned barber who had been an assistant to postmaster Samuel Vick. It seems unlikely that Martha Corbin was a laborer or John a farmer.]

The house at 401 East Nash was occupied by white millhand J. Frank Johnson.

“Negro dwellings” destroyed.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 September 1929.

In the Jim Crow era, even buildings were racialized. Houses were not merely in “negro” neighborhoods; they were somehow, at their essence, “negro houses.” This brief article reports the destruction by fire of three houses on East Nash Road, in the vicinity of present-day B.O. Barnes Elementary School. Though the houses were owned by Ben Eagles, a wealthy white tobacconist, and one was being used as storage, they were “negro dwelling houses.”

The 500 block, 1930.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1930.

As a supplement to this post, here is an excerpt of the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson detailing town’s Black business district. Though the northeast side of the 500 block of East Nash Street was almost completely commercial, the southwest side was largely residential. Segregation was in full effect at the time, but several white merchants operated businesses catering to African-American clientele, and one, Jesse Verser, lived on the block (around the corner from his Stantonsburg Street grocery.)

Detail of the Sanborn map showing several tenant houses on the west end of Smith Street, the tightly packed commercial buildings on Nash, Verser’s home at 504, and the sole freestanding two-story house on the north side of Nash at 529. Notice, behind 509, a garage (marked A) and toilets (marked WC). There were also garages behind 511 (with nearby gasoline tank) and 513-515. Several of the businesses were owned by native whites or Lebanese immigrants, and there was even a Chinese laundry.

Nash Street

  • 500 — Gatlin Amos J & Co (Amos J Gatlin, Jas P Gatlin) gros 500 E Nash
  • 501 — Maynard’s Market (Geo W Maynard) gros 501 E Nash and 401 Stantonsburg
  • 502 — vacant
  • 503 — Barnes Rachel G (c) restr 503 E Nash r 1118 E Nash
  • 504 — Verser Jesse W (Frances) gro 100 Stantonsburg h 504 E Nash; Verser Bettie (wid Jesse W) h 504 E Nash
  • 505 — Barnes John (c; Rachel) barber 505 E Nash h 1118 do [ditto]
  • 506 — Wah Jung Laundry (Yee G Wah) 506 E Nash
  • 507 — Ziady Jos gro 507 E Nash h 107 E Pettigrew
  • 508 — Service Barber Shop (c) (Ernest A Artis) 508 E Nash
  • 509 — vacant
  • 509 1/2 — Stokes Thos (c; Babe) fish 509 1/2 E Nash h 615 W Wiggins
  • 510 — vacant
  • 511 — Lupe Peter (c) shoe shiner 511 E Nash h do
  • 512 — Braswell Ezekiel (c; Mary E) restr 512 E Nash h 1118 1/2 do
  • 513 — vacant
  • 514 — Lesley Samuel G (c; Lillian) tailor 514 E Nash h 802 Robeson
  • 515 — vacant
  • 517 — Moore John H (c; Armincie) shoe repr 517 E Nash h 1113 Atlantic
  • 519 — Phillips Chas (Minnie A) bicycle repr 519 E Nash h 410 Herring
  • 521 — Smith Preston (c; Minnie) clothes presser and clnr 521 E Nash h 314 Stantonsburg 
  • 523 — Wooten W L Co, H Paul Yelverton pres, Jesse W Thomas v-pres, Wm L Wooten sec-treas, furn 523 E Nash
  • 525 — Thomas Chas S (c; S Blanche) barber 525 E Nash h 719 E Nash
  • 527 — Phillips Wm H (c; Rena) dentist 527 E Nash h do; Shade’s Pharmacy (c) (Isaac A Shade) 527 E Nash
  • 529 — Coppedge Sarah (c) factory hd h 529 E Nash

Smith Street

  • 506 — Johnson Wm (c; Lula) lab h 506 Smith; Johnson Wm J (c) lab 506 Smith
  • 508 — vacant
  • 510 — Reaves Robert (c; Daisie) lab 510 Smith
  • 514 — Lee Addie (c) factory hd h 514 Smith 

The transition from commercial to residential on the south side of the street. 526 is the Hotel Orange, a boarding house run by Mattie B. Coleman.

Nash Street

  • 516 — vacant
  • 518 — no listing
  • 520 — Dixon Lenora G (c) billiards 520 E Nash h 611 do
  • 522 — Atkinson Henry (c) shoe repr
  • 524 — Gilliam Matthew S (c; Annie L) phys 524 E Nash h 805 do
  • 524 — Howard Mary (c) lndrs h 524 E Nash
  • 526 — Coleman Mattie B (c) h 526 E Nash
  • 528 — Bowser Sarah L (c) smstrs h 528 E Nash
  • 530 — Stokes Turner (c) carp h 530 E Nash

Mid-block, two multi-story buildings dominated — the Whitley Hotel and the Odd Fellows lodge hall. The Odd Fellows building featured commercial space at street-level and the Globe Theatre above. 

Nash Street

  • 531 — Swindell Deborah (c) hair drsr 531 E Nash h 630 Suggs
  • 533 — Taylor Bertha (c) dom h 533 E Nash
  • 535 — Najim Geo candy mfr 535 E Nash h 107 S Pettigrew 
  • 537 — Lucas William T (Sallie) gro 537 E Nash h 216 N Railroad
  • 539 — no listing
  • 541 — Whitley Hotel (c) (Maggie A Whitley) 541 E Nash; Marshall Lodge IBPOE
  • 543 — Jones Luther J (c; Lula) restr 543 E Nash h 712 Hadley
  • 545 — Ford Cleaners (Herbert H and Alf J Ford jr) 545 E Nash
  • 547 — Am Legion, Henry Ellis Post (c); IOOF, Hannibal Lodge, No 552 (c) 
  • 549 — Fahad Kattar billiards 549 E Nash h 313 N Pine
  • 551 — Rutherford Geo (c; Maggie B) restr 551 E Nash h 1200 Queen

Smith Street

  • 516 — Britt Mamie (c) factory hd h 516 Smith 
  • 518 — Ray Neil (c; Annie) junk 518 Smith h do
  • 526 — Gay Wm (c) lab h 526 Smith

In the eastern third of the block, the south side of the street was almost entirely residential. Ideal Pharmacy and First Baptist Church dominated the north side.

Nash Street

The final stretch of the south side of the 500 block, all commercial.

Nash Street

  • 550 — vacant
  • 552 — Alston Robt T (c) watch repr 552 E Nash h [ditto]
  • 554 — Baxter & Co (Herman C Baxter, Jas F Downing) gros 554 E Nash

Stantonsburg Street [now Pender]

  • 100 — Verser Jesse W (Frances) gro 100 Stantonsburg h 504 E Nash

I confess surprise that, as late as 1930, the entire 100 block of South Pettigrew was an all-white residential street.

South Pettigrew Street

  • 107 — Ziady Jos gro 507 E Nash h 107 S Pettigrew
  • 109 — Hawley Geneva Mrs h 109 S Pettigrew
  • 111 — vacant
  • 113 — Nordan J Herman (Kath) lab h 113 Pettigrew
  • 115 — vacant
  • 117 — Hinnant Geo W (Mary A) projectionist Lincoln Theatre h 117 S Pettigrew; Robinson Sarah E (wid John R) h 117 S Pettigrew
  • 119 — Brown Edgar (Mamie) woodwkr Hackney Bros Body Co h 119 S Pettigrew
  • 121 — Bradberry Cora O hlpr 121 S Pettigrew; Bradberry Geo F pntr Hackney Bros Body Co h 121 S Pettigrew; Bradberry Luther farmer h 121 S Pettigrew