Sanborn map

Smith and Church Streets, today.

Smith and Church are narrow streets running parallel to Nash Street between Pettigrew and Pender Streets. By the 1930s, both were densely packed with working class housing, mostly wooden double shotguns, as shown on the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map.

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By the 1980s, these blocks had developed grim reputations, and today they are, essentially, vacant. There are no remaining houses on Smith Street and only three on Church. 507 Church Street, shown below just to the left of the word “Church,” is clearly visible above as a long, narrow shotgun house.

Aerial view of Smith and Church Streets in 2017, courtesy of Mapquest.

Smith Street in July 2016, looking west toward Pettigrew Street, with the Cherry Hotel looming on the horizon.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson.

Negro tenements.

There, at the lower right edge of this page of the May 1885 Sanborn map of Wilson, a cluster of “Negro tenements.” Just below them and across a short rail spur was a ticket office and freight depot, and it’s safe to assume that many of the men living here were employed as railroad laborers.

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The site is now an empty lot, roughly across Pettigrew Street from the union hall of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, Local 270T.

Institutions: 1922.

From the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, North Carolina:

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First Baptist Church (Colored), corner of Pender and Nash Streets.

Built 1910; now Jackson Chapel First Baptist Church, same location.

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Saint John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church, 119 Pender Street.

Built 1917; Saint John remains at this location.

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Tabernacle Missionary Church, Hadley Street.

Now site of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.

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Pender Street Baptist Church, corner of Pender and Academy Streets.

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Private School (Colored), 604 Vance Street.

Opened 1919; founded by community leaders and parents after boycott of Colored Graded School. Demolished.

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Primitive Baptist Church (Colored), East Green Street.

Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church, now non-denominational church.

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Freewill Baptist Church (Colored), East Vance Street.

Original location of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church. Demolished.

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Colored Baptist Church, East Barnes Street.

Formerly Jackson Chapel Baptist Church, now Wilson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.

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Wilson Hospital (Colored), 504 East Green Street.

Hospital closed in 1964. Building rehabbed as offices of Wilson Community Improvement Association.

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Calvary Presbyterian Church (Colored), 512 East Green Street.

Church now fronts Pender Street, and this space is occupied by an extension and a parking lot.

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Old 1st Baptist Church, Church Street.


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Colored Church, East Suggs Street.


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Colored Graded School, South Stantonsburg Street.


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Free Will Baptist Church, Lane Street (near Woodard Street).