The one hundred thirty-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.
718 East Green Street, formerly numbered 649, is now an empty lot. Any buildings on the lot were demolished prior to the survey of the East Wilson Historic District. In the early 20th century, however, it was the site of a small Black-owned grocery, one of the earliest in East Wilson. City directories reveal the store’s existence, under an ever-changing series of proprietors, as early as 1908 and as late as the 1940s.
John H. Miller and John H. Lewis are the earliest identified grocers at the location in 1908.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1908.
Four years later, the city directory shows Jacob C. Speight as the owner. He lived two houses down Green Street.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1912.
Detail of page, Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1913.
By 1916, Selly Rogers was the operator of this grocery, as well as another on Stantonsburg Road (now Pender Street South).
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1916.
By 1922, several houses had been built around the store, and its number had changed from 649 to 718.
Detail of page, Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.
Grant J. Foster is listed as the owner in 1925, but within a few years he was operating a grocery on Viola Street.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1925.
The ownership of the grocery during the 1930s is not yet known. By 1941, Green Street Grocery and Market had a white owner, however, John M. Coley.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1941.
Sometime during or after World War II, the building at 718 ceased use as a grocery and became a residence, perhaps as a result of intense post-war housing shortages. By 1947, it was the home of photographer John H. Baker and his wife Rosalee.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1947.