In the spring of 1947, Economy Homes, Inc., a Winston-Salem developer, filed a plat map for a subdivision to be laid out two miles southeast of town along Black Creek Road. The lots were offered to African-American buyers and, with post-war housing in Wilson scarce, and they sold immediately.
The smaller lots were filled with single-family homes, but the long, narrow lots at the edge of the development, closest to Hominy Swamp, became the site of Lincoln Trailer Park.
Today, nearly all this land is scrub pine and weedy fields. Lincoln Heights had no height at all, and eventually the repeated flooding by the swamp canal won the day.
For more about the fate of Lincoln Heights, see here.
In the late 1940s, the Wilson Cemetery Trustees made plans to sell off some of its land adjacent to Rest Haven cemetery. This June 1949 plat map shows the proposed subdivision of a parcel southwest of Lane Street.
The street layout mostly came to fruition, though Merrick Street never crossed the highway, Tuskegee did not extend past Lane, and the short stretch labeled “Barbour Street” is just a sharp turn on Lane.
Wilson County Register of Deeds’ office has digitized relatively few of its real estate records. Nonetheless, its limited database is yielding up treasure after treasure.
This plat map for Carver Place, bristling with more than 200 tiny 25-foot-wide lots, was registered in 1948. The subdivision never came together. Nonetheless, this landscape is easily recognizable today, which I’m beginning to recognize as a reflection of the underdevelopment of East Wilson, stagnant for decades.
“Colored Cemetery Road” — Lane Street.
Dempsey Lassiter (col.) — This lot is now home to Tabernacle Temple of Jesus Christ.
Ward Boulevard runs coterminously with U.S. Highway 301.
Finch Street is not open between Ward Boulevard and Tuskegee Street. Southeast of Tuskegee, it is the central artery of a mobile home park — laid out on those 25-foot lots — and bends slightly before terminating in a dead end.
This street was named Freeman, not Woodard. It starts at Tuskegee and runs southeast past the dead end of Tacoma Street, then makes two sharp turns through a trailer park.
Today, site of a Walgreens Pharmacy.
Plat book 6, page 6, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; aerial view courtesy of Bing.com.
Though undated, this plat likely was surveyed in the first decade of the 20th century. The grid is readily recognizable today, though the names of several interior streets have changed (or never received the planned names in the first place) and Wiggins Street was lost to the Hines Street Connector project in the early 1970s. Robeson, Manchester and Nash Streets follow the same paths today. East is largely the same, thought lost its tip at what is now Hines Street. Of the numbered streets, only Fourth remains. Second is the doglegged continuation of Vick Street, as Third is of Reid. Fifth Street was once renamed to continue Carroll, but now, running behind the Freeman Round House Museum, is Bill Myers Avenue.
The designation of the block between Manchester, Nash, East and Robeson as “Little Richmond” is puzzling, as that neighborhood is described as having been near the railroad tracks and the Richmond Maury stemmery. Maybe not though, as this notice clears makes reference to the lot marked above:
Wilson Daily Times, 1922.
Plat Book 78, pages 34-35, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson; image of modern grid courtesy of Bing.com.
In 1925, Samuel H. Vick engaged a surveyor to lay out several hundred lots on a large tract of land he owned southeast of downtown Wilson. The subdivision was to be called Vicksburg Manor, and a Durham auction company handled sales. At twenty-five feet wide, these lots would have been marketed to developers and working-class buyers.
Nearly one hundred years later, the footprint of Vicksburg Manor remains largely the same — other than U.S. highway 301 slashing diagonally across it — though several original street names failed to stick. Elliott Street was instead named Elvie and Masonic Street is Lincoln. Douglas Street disappeared under the highway, but a truncated Dunbar exists. Irma (named for a daughter of Vick who died early), Graham and Davie Streets remain, as do the cross streets Manchester, Singletary and Hadley.
Plat filed at Book 3, page 13 of Plat Book, Wilson County Register of Deeds office, Wilson.