East Wilson Historic District

Outbuildings.

Once upon a time, back yards in East Wilson were dotted with outbuildings — auto garages, sheds, chicken coops, outdoor toilets, and other small structures. The whitewashed brick shed above, now standing in a side yard on East Green Street, may once have been used as a root cellar.(Note the diagonal wedge of brick on the shed’s gable end, indicating a re-purposing of the original structure that required partial reconstruction.]

At the rear of Noah J. Tate’s house at 307 North Pender — two adjoining sheds, an auto garage, and an open-sided car port. Detail of 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

Sheds and garages behind the houses of Hardy Tate (611), Della Hines Barnes (613), William Hines (615), and Walter Hines (617). Detail of 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn map.

Sheds in backyards in the 400 block of North Vick Street. Detail of 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn map.

The sheds and chicken coops behind these houses on East Green Street are believed to have belonged to Samuel and Annie Vick at 622. Detail of 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2021.

1006 Washington Street.

The one hundred thirty-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, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; Bungalow with gable-end form and subsidiary gable-end porch.”

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lamm Edward (Etta) (L&L Oldsmobile Co) h 1006 Washington. Edwin (not Edward) and Etta Bass Lamm were white. Why they were living in a solidly African-American residential block in 1928 is a mystery.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Murphy Josephine (c) cook h 1006 Washington

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1006 Washington, owned and valued at $3000, Josephine Murphy, 56, widow, washing, born in Bennettsville [, S.C.] and two roomers Herbert Hines, 35, hotel bell boy, and Aletha, 27, cook.

Josephine Murphy died 15 December 1951 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 70 years old; was born in Marlboro, S.C., to Edmond Stubbs and Donella Jackson; lived at 1006 East Washington Street; was a widow; and had lived in Wilson since 1930. She was buried in Macedonia Cemetery, Bennettsville. Josephine Williams was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 September 1983.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2021.

503 East Hines Street.

The one-hundred-thirty-third in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; shotgun with shed-roofed porch and gable returns.”

The constriction date of this house puzzling. Hines Street did not cross the railroad until the early 1970s. When it was finally cut through, Hines Street followed, more or less, the course of the old Wiggins Street, which no longer exists. But Wiggins Street had stopped at Stantonsburg [now Pender] Street before picking up again east of Manchester Street. The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows no street east of Stantonsburg and no house either. 

And 503 East Hines? This isn’t the 500 block of East Hines Street. It should be the 800.

Was this house moved from elsewhere? 

Ah!

In my post on 505 South Pender, I noted that two adjacent houses on then-Stantonsburg Street had been cleared out to make room for Hines Street, which was much wider than Wiggins. They were numbered 501 and 503. Was 503 Stantonsburg Street simply lifted from its lot and slotted behind, and perpendicular to, 505?

Detail from Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

I am certain this is the case.

503 Stantonsburg Street is now 503 East Hines, though the house is in the 800 block. 503 and 505 are identical shotgun houses, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn map. Photographs of 503 and 505 (prior to renovation) confirm that they share vented gables with gable returns, shed-roofed front porches, and no back porches. 503 has been heavily, but superficially, modified, with faux-brick tarpaper siding and tin skirting. Cinderblock pillars have replaced the original brick; the porch posts, probably originally turned, have been replaced with four-by-fours; and a small shed-roofed porch has been tacked onto the back.

The houses shown in 1922 at 507 and 509 Stantonsburg are long demolished, but 511 — which was identical to 503 and 505 — is under renovation. Will 503 be renovated next?

The rear of 503 East Hines.

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In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thompson Nelson (c) mill hd h 503 Stantonsburg

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thompson Nelson (c; Annie M) lab h 503 Stantonsburg

In 1930, the city directory lists the house as vacant.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hammett John S (c) City Light Water & Gas Dept h 503 Stantonsburg

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hammett John S (c; Flossie L) firemn Town of Wilson h 503 Stantonsburg

This aerial image, courtesy of Google Maps, shows 503 East Hines tucked behind the apartment building that replaced 507 South Pender [Stantonsburg] Street.

Photos taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2021.

Upcoming event: a study on shotgun houses.

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

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

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

Nine of the endway houses are still standing.

603 East Green Street, revisited.

The Washington Wilkins house at 603 East Green Street, built circa 1930, was burned beyond repair last night.

The destruction of this historic house is tragic, but secondary to the well-being of the last family to live in it. Wishing them well as they recover from their loss.

[Update, 4/15/2021: since this posting, the Wilson Times published an article detailing the local fire department’s efforts to battle this fire and the resiliency of Hunette Francois, the Haitian immigrant who lived in the Wilkins house for six years and lost everything in the blaze.]

Thanks to Edith Jones Garnett for sharing this image.

303 Elba Street.

The first in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located at 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 developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

In the Nomination Form for the district, 303 Elba Street (erroneously labeled #305) is described very simply: “L-plan cottage with turned porch posts,” built circa 1908.

The neighborhood was off the grid of the 1908 Sanborn maps of Wilson, but, in the September 1913, there it is:

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This is the deed for Jesse Jacobs‘ purchase of 303 Elba Street.

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He bought the house (in which he was already living) and its lot for $725 from E.L. and Ietta R.M. Reid on 4 May 1908. (Veterinarian Elijah Reid was born into a free family of color from the opposite end of Wayne County than Jesse and and his wife, Sarah Henderson Jacobs.) The same day, Jacobs gave George W. Connor, Trustee, a mortgage on the property, perhaps to secure the $400 loan he used to buy it.  Jacobs was to repay Connor at the rate of $2.50 per week.

On 10 April 1917, the Jacobses arranged another mortgage on their Elba Street home, this time promising to repay W.A. Finch, Trustee, $395 at 6% interest. Circumstances intervened. By about 1922 or ’23, Jesse Jacobs was too ill to work. He sold the house to his children, subject apparently to the lien, and died in 1926. When Sarah Jacobs died in early 1938, the house remained encumbered. Finch’s loan was not repaid until September of that year, most likely from the sale of the property.

For a personal account of the early years of this house, and its sad present, see here.

303 Elba

303 Elba Street, summer 2013. Since this photo was taken, it has continued to deteriorate under the pressures of squatters, petty criminals, weather and time.