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 sixty-seventh 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.
110, 108 and 106 Ash Street.
As each is described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: #106: “ca. 1908; 1 story; shotgun with hip-roofed porch and gable returns; uniquely high-pitched roof, with diamond-shaped vent in gable”; #108: “ca. 1908; 1 story; shotgun remodeled with Masonite veneer, but example of early form”; and #110: “ca. 1908; 1 story; shotgun with turned-post porch; partly alum. sided.”
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at #106 Ashe, building carpenter Burd Bess, 37, and wife Siveral, 38, private family nurse; at #108, laundress Willie Cobb, 48, and daughter Lilliam, 4; and at #110, laundress Mary Smith, 49, and her lodger George West, 55, tobacco factory laborer, both natives of South Carolina. All three houses rented for $12/month.
In 1940, Isaac Hodge registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 26 January 1905 in Wilson; he resided at 110 Ashe Street; his contact was Anzina Best Hodge, wife; and he worked for Liggett & Myers, Wilson.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: Best John (c; Nellie; 1) carp h 106 Ashe; Smith Mae (c) lndr h 108 Ashe; and Hodge Isaac (c; Annie) lab h 110 Ashe.
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: Best John (c) carp h 106 Ashe; Huntley George (c; Magdelene) brklyr h 108 Ashe; and Best Willie Mrs (c) lab Plush Mill h 110 Ashe.
100 block of Ash Street, Sanborn fire insurance map, 1930.