Wilson Daily Times, 19 May 1961.
In the spring of 1961, Howard Barnes won a Jaycee-sponsored contest for improvements made to his home at 709 Suggs Street, shown at the upper right. “Mr. Barnes who lives in a small modest wood frame dwelling really entered into the spirit of the competition,” winning first place in the interior category and second in exterior by painting, building a new porch, adding a fence and new indoor plumbing, and placing flower boxes on the front porch.
Despite Barnes’ recognized pride in ownership, few, if any, additional improvements were made to 709 Suggs Street. Barnes’ neighborhood had already been slated for clearance to make way for a “Negro housing project.” Progress had been delayed, however, by the refusal of many homeowners to sell out at the suggested price. It seems likely that Howard Barnes, so invested in his home, was one. Eventually, the city exercised eminent domain and forced sales of the intransigents’ property.
The shotgun house at 709 Suggs, then, like the cemetery nearby, is long gone. Howard Barnes’ house was likely built around the same time as others on nearby streets, such as that at 501 South Pender, which was erected circa 1920.
The 700 block of Suggs Street, per the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.
The 700 block of Suggs today. (Stantonsburg Street is now Pender.) Map courtesy of Google Maps.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: Cooper John (c; Jeannette) tobwkr h 709 Suggs
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: Sims Effie (c; 1) tobwkr h 709 Suggs