National Register of Historic Places

1115 Woodard Avenue.

The forty-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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 1 story; bungalow with popular gable roof and engaged porch; shingled gables and small, gabled dormer; fine, compact example of the type in E. Wilson.”

There is no listing for 1115 Woodard Avenue in the 1930 Wilson, North Carolina, city directory.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1115 Woodard, tobacco factory laborer Mary Ward, 51, and husband William Ward, 65, warehouse laborer; and wholesale company truck driver Walter Williams, 37, wife Gennette, 28, and children Geraldine, 12, and Walter Jr., 11.

In the 1941 city directory of Wilson, North Carolina: Ward Wm (c; Mary) h 1115 Woodard Av.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

 

 

1004 Washington Street.

The forty-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: “circa 1930; 1 1/2 stories; James Whitfield house; bungalow with gable roof and shed dormer; aluminum sided; Whitfield was a house painter.”

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James Whitfield registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 26 March 1892 in Nash County; resided at 717 Stantonsburg; was a self-employed painter; had a wife and two children; and had sandy hair and brown eyes.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 Stantonsburg Street, house painter James Whitfield, 27; wife Lizzie, 25, hotel cook; children James Jr., 8, Lillian, 5, and Helen I., 5 months; and father Andrew Whitfield, 69.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1004 Washington Street, valued at $3000, building painter James Whitfield, 34; wife Lizzie, 31, laundress; children James Jr., 18, Lillian, 15, and Hellen, 12; and father Alleck Whitfield, 81.

James A. Whitfield Jr. died 17 December 1936 of “auto collision on U.S. 301 killing him instantly.” Per his death certificate, he was born 24 July 1912 in Wilson to James Whitfield of Wilson and Elizabeth McNeal of Fayetteville. He worked as a school teacher. Informant was James Whitfield.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1004 Washington Street, valued at $3500, house painter James Whitfield, 37; wife Elizabeth, 45; and daughters Lillian, 27, and Helen, 22.

James A. Whitfield, 61, of 1004 Washington Street, son of A.W. and Sallie Whitfield, married Elizabeth Jenkins, 44, of 612 East Green Street, daughter of Mary Sanders, on 13 February 1955 in Sims. Baptist minister George S. Stokes performed the ceremony in the presence of Howard M. Fitts Sr., Ruth J. Hines, Mrs. W.P. Brown and Mrs A.W. Stokes.

James Ashley Whitfield died 23 November 1960 at Duke Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born in 20 March 1892 in Wilson County to W.A. Whitfield and Sally (last name unknown); resided at 1004 Washington Street; was a self-employed contract painter; informant was Elizabeth S. Whitfield.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Green Street, today.

As my father put it, all the “big dogs” lived on Green Street. The 600 block, which ran between Pender and Elba Streets, two blocks east of the railroad that cleaved town, was home to much of Wilson’s tiny African-American elite. There, real estate developers, clergymen, doctors, undertakers, educators, businessmen, and craftsmen built solid, two-story Queen Annes that loomed over the surrounding neighborhood.  Here were early 20th-century East Wilson’s movers and shakers; Booker T. Washington slept here.

The north side of Green Street as depicted in a 1922 Sanborn map.

By my childhood, however, a half-century into its reign, Green Street had slipped. Wilson’s small but growing black middle class was building ranch houses further west, and Green was home to, if not working class renters, then dowagers struggling to stay on top of the maintenance costs imposed by multi-gabled roofs; oversized single-paned windows; and wooden everything. Still, Green Street’s historical aura yet shimmered, and a drive down the block elicited pride and wonder.

In 1988, East Wilson, with Green Street its jewel, was nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Every house on the block depicted above was characterized as “contributing,” and the inventory list contained brief descriptions of the dwellings and their owners. Historic status, though, could not keep the wolves from the door. Even as the city’s Historic Properties Commission was wrapping up its work, East Wilson was emerging as an early victim of that defining scourge of the late 1980s — rock cocaine. As vulnerable old residents died off — or were whisked to safer quarters — crackheads and dealers sought refuge and concealment in the empty husks that remained. Squatters soiled their interiors and pried siding from the exteriors to feed their fires. One went ablaze, and then another, and repair and reclamation seemed fruitless undertakings.

This is the north side of Green Street now. Facing east toward Carroll Street, the left edge of the frame is just west of #605. There is not another house until you get to #623.  They are gone. The homes of Hardy Tate and C.E. Artis, of the Hines brothers, of Dr. Barnes, of Charlie Thomas, of Rev. Davis. Abandoned. Taken over. Burned up. Torn down. Gone.

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These four houses (##603, 605, 623 and 625) and a church at the corner of Elba are all that remain of the buildings shown in the 1922 Sanborn map above.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2013.

720 East Green Street.

The forty-second 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 1 story; double-pile house with bungalow type detail.”

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 720 East Green Street, clothes washer Bell Ross, 64, and her daughters Thelma Hill[illegible], 29, and Dorothy Watson, 24.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ross Belle (c) h 720 E Green.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

 

Alexander G. Brooks plantation.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“Dr. Alexander G[oodrich]. Brooks was a leading citizen of Black Creek Township. He was born in 1826 [in Caswell County, North Carolina] and he married Patience Simms before 1856. His wife was the daughter of Garry Simms, and the couple built this house on land once owned by the Simms family. Brooks was a physician and a planter. He was one of the commissioners appointed to lay out the county seat when the county was formed in 1855, and he served for many years as a justice of the peace. … The house was probably built in the late 1840s. It is situated in a grove of mature trees and faces south. It stands two stories high and is T-shaped. The front section of the house consists of a two-story block with double gallery porches on either side. Exterior end chimneys are located on the front section on the east and west elevations, and one chimney is on the rear two-story section. A one-story early twentieth century wing was attached to the read of of the two-story section. An open breezeway leads from the kitchen wing to a well located under the breezeway roof. A mid-nineteenth century one-story porch sheltered the entrance bay until it was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1950s. The front section of the house consists of a central hall with one room to either side of the hall.”

The National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Black Creek Rural Historic District, drafted in 1982, contains a lengthy discussion of A.G. Brooks’ house and farm, with some minor difference in detail from the passage above.

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In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County, A.G. Brooks, 32, farmer, listed $12500 in real property and $31240 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included 14 enslaved girls and women ranging from 4 to 55 years old and 15 enslaved boys and men ranging from 1 to 47 years old.

The 1870 census of Black Creek township lists about 20 African-Americans with the surname Brooks living in four households.

700 East Green Street.

The forty-second 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908. 1 story. Hargrave-Sanders house; L-plan cottage with traces of original Victorian millwork in the cutaway front-facing bay; possibly first occupied by Dr. [Frank S.] Hargrave; later occupant was Dr. Otto Sanders, minister of Primitive Baptist Church.”

This house was occupied until just a few months ago by a Sanders descendant, who was forced out by a fire.

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows the original house number — 629.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Frank Hargrave, 32; wife Bessie, 23; and boarder Lena Harris, 26, insurance bookkeeper.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 629 Green Street, renting, widow Rebeca Speight, 40; daughters Eva, 23, school teacher, Bessie, 13, Addie, 11, Rubie, 9, and Ineese, 7; and roomer Hossie Arrington, 21, wagon factory laborer.

In the 1930 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists 700 East Green as vacant, and it does not appear in the 1930 census.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Green, renting for $20/month, Rev. O.E. Sanders, 48, wife Annie, 30, teacher; and sons Charles, 6, and Otto, 14.

Annie G. Sanders died 17 September 1964 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 March 1907 in Moore County, North Carolina, to Sidney D. Goins and Rosa McCray; was married to Rev. O.E. Sanders; was a teacher; and resided at 700 East Green Street.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

118 North Pender Street.

The forty-first 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 2 stories; popular hip-roofed cubic house with bungalow type porch posts; probably built as tenement, which is currently is.”

In the 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory Ida Whitley, a domestic, and Vernona Whitley, a tobacco worker, are listed at 118 Pender.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 118 Pender Street, widow Ida Whitley, 46, laundress; her children Virginia, 18, and John E. Whitley, 9; and Roland Thompson, 30, a meat market laborer, and wife Mildred, 29.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory, Frank Woodard is listed at 118 Pender Street.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

505 East Green Street.

The fortieth 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 1 ½ stories; Roscoe Hall house; unusually narrow, two-bay house with gambrel roof and shed dormer; asphalt shingled; Hall was a butler.”

In the 1912 and 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Rountree Lucy (c) laundress h 504 E Green. John Rountree is also listed at the address — the prior house number — in 1912.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 East Green, Lucy Rountree, 70, “wash & iron”; granddaughter Alene Barnes, 13; and twelve lodgers [which hardly seems possible] Cleveland Sims, 35, oil mill laborer; house carpenters William Thomas, 19, and John Hinnant, 22; factory laborers Herbert Joyner, 24, and Edgar Wilkerson, 30; wagon factory laborer Nathan Woodard, 20; garage laborer Nathan Williams, 22; wagon factory Robert Night, 17; department store truck driver Roy Evins, 22; factory laborer James Ostan, 22; woodcutter John Ostan, 22; and house carpenter Macon Locon, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $24/month, Lucy Roundtree, 80; her daughter Bertha King, 43, servant; and lodgers Della Jones, 47, maid, and Annie Coney, 28, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $20/month, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, 78; wife Ietta R., 65; and daughter Odessa B., 30, a graduate nurse.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

807 Viola Street.

The thirty-ninth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “circa 1960; 1 story; concrete block double shotgun.” This description of 807 Viola is obviously incorrect. What happened?

The nomination form lists five houses on the north side of the 800 block of Viola Street: (1) #801, an I-house built about 1913; (2) #803, a house built about 1970; (3) #805, a Queen Anne built about 1913; (4) #807; and (5) another Queen Anne built about 1913.

A current aerial view of the street shows that, nearly 30 years after the neighborhood was surveyed, 801 and 811 are vacant lots. #803 is easily recognized as the modern house described in the nomination form. However, there is no 805 Viola. Rather, the house next to 803 is 807 — the Queen Anne depicted above. The concrete block double shotgun is, in fact, #809.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, below, sheds some light on the street’s curious numbering. #801, the two-story I-house, is shown at the corner of Viola and Vick. At #803 is the predecessor to the 1970s-era ranch house now there. Hard against the street in #803’s front yard was #805, marked “S” for “store.” #807 is the same house currently at the location.

In the 1916 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline dom h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola, Caroline Brown, 50, and daughter Marjory, 22, both tobacco factory laborers, and grandchildren Lister, 12, and Marie, 1.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, 807 Viola is described as vacant, and there is no listing for the house in the 1930 census of Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola Street, widowed laundress Blanche Farmer, 67; sons Henry, 34, truck driver for wholesale grocery company, and Samuel, 25, janitor for retail department store; and grandchildren Windsor, 24, tobacco factory laborer, Turner G., 19, cafe cook, and Gloria Hagans, 13, and James H. Farmer, 6.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson City Directory: Farmer Blanche (c) h 807 Viola.

Blanch Farmer died 27 March 1959 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 July 1889 in Wilson County to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; resided at 807 East Viola Street; and was a widow. Goldie Ricks was informant.

Photograph of house by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.

1113 East Nash Street.

The thirty-eighth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “1927; 2 stories. Parsonage, Jackson Chapel Baptist Church; cubic, hip-roofed, is blend of Colonial Revival and bungalow traits, typical of a host of middle-class dwellings in district built during 1920s.”

In the 1930 Wilson city directory: Jordan Benj F Rev (c) (Maggie L) pastor First Bapt Ch h 1113 E Nash.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, minister Benjiman Jorden, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Benjiman F., 16, Mary B., 14, Milford L., 12, Odis, 11, Willard, 10, Irene C., 8, and James D., 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, renting for $20/month, W.P.A. project laborer Oscar Ellis, 50; wife Mamie, 48; children Henry, 23, laborer, Estell, 22, housekeeper, Aja, 21, waiter, Charles, 20, deliveryman for Moore’s Drug, James, 18, Bessie, 17, Herbert, 15, Leroy, 13, Fred, 8, Mamie, 10, and Clarence, 5; and adopted children Annie, 15, and Rosco Jones, 13.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.