Viola Street

708 Viola Street.

The one hundred-seventy-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 the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; L-plan cottage with cutaway bay; aluminum-sided.”

Charles S. and Lessie Barbrey Alston lived at 708 Viola Street in 1921.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1921.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c) lab h 708 Viola

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c; Minnie) h 708 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c; Minnie) h 708 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $2000, Mark Cotton, 87; wife Minnie, 37, servant; and stepdaughters Ruline, 19, and Eunice Brooks, 17, farm laborer.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Robinson, cook; Evelyn Robinson, cook; Lucile Robinson, maid; and William Robinson, laborer, at 708 Viola.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Robinson Eliz (c) h 708 Viola

620 Viola Street.

The one hundred 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1950; 1 story; two-room, gable-roofed cottage.” This house appears to have replaced an earlier building on the site that dated from the mid-1920s. (The lot was empty at the time of the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.)

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Picott Wm (c; Annie) pntr h 620 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Chas (c; Ellen) lab h 620 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 620 Viola, rented for $9/month, Charlie Williams, 25, body plant laborer; wife Elandor, 28; and stepson Dav S. Shaw, 12.  

On 17 September 1938, the Wilson Daily Times listed the property among those subject to auction for delinquent taxes. The owners were the heirs of Della Barnes.

In 1940, Lester Dew registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his draft registration card, he was born 7 February 1911 in Wilson County; lived at 620 Viola; his contact was wife Grace Dew; and he worked for Southern Tobacco Company, Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 Viola, Lester Dew, 29, tobacco packer, and wife Grace, 26, tobacco hanger.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dew Lester E (c; Grace) lab h 620 Viola

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the house was listed as vacant.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

608 Viola Street.

The one hundred 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1-story; L-plan cottage.” The original address was 619 Viola.

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harrison Reginald (c; Bessie) driver Hackney Oil Co h 608 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Reddit Jos (c; Mary) lab h 608 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 608 Viola, rented for $14/month, Joseph Redditt, 34, oil mill laborer; wife Mary, 26; niece Eva Branch, 16; and roomer Lucy Barnes, 29, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 608 Viola, paying $11/month, Josh White, 48, factory deliveryman, born in Georgia, and wife Pecorria, 41, chambermaid at girls college; paying $4/month, Florine Jones, 24, servant, born in Georgia; husband Preston, 29, service station attendant, born in South Carolina; and daughters Hattie Pearl, 7, and Doris E., 4. [By October 1940, the Joneses had relocated to Richmond, Virginia, where Preston Jones registered for the World War II draft.]

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Flossie (c) cook h 608 Viola

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

604 Viola Street.

The one hundred-fifty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; extensively modified triple-A cottage; Masonite veneer.”

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On 20 July 1903, Sam Barnes and wife Ida Barnes borrowed $400 from Wilson Home and Loan Association, mortgaging a one-quarter acre lot on the south side of Viola Street adjoining Ann Bynum, William Hargrove, and Elder Phillips. The note was paid off and cancelled 27 May 1909. Deed Book 32, page 209.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Samuel Barnes, 50, public drayman; sister Fannie, 27, cook; wife Ida, 45; and daughter Lurean, 21, school teacher.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Saml (c) drayman 604 Viola

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Saml (c; Ida) expmn h 604 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Saml (c; Ida) drayman 604 Viola h do [home ditto]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 604 Viola, owned and valued at $3000, Sam Barnes, 56, public drayman; wife Ida, 52; and daughter Lorine, 29, teacher.

Samuel Barnes died 13 November 1933 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was about 65 years old; was born in Wilson to Alexander Barnes and Frances Stephens; was married to Ida Barnes; lived at 604 Viola; and worked in draying. Lurean Barnes, 604 Viola, was informant.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Ida Barnes, Earl Zachary, laborer; J. Nollie Zachary, barber at Walter S Hines, and Louise Zachary; and Lurean Zachary, teacher at Sallie Barbour School, at 604 Viola. [Louise appears to be a mistype for Lurean, whose husband was J. Knolly Zachary.]

Wilson Daily Times, 22 July 1946.

The 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Ida Barnes, widow of Samuel Barnes; Joe K. Zachary, barber at Cherry Hotel, and Nolley Zachary, barber at Cherry Hotel, and wife Lurean Zachary at 604 Viola. [Joe K. Zachary was Joe Knolly (not Nolley) Zachary.]

Wilson Daily Times, 27 April 1953.

Ida Barnes died 26 April 1953 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 March 1874 in Wilson County to John Hinton and Margaret Matthew; was a widow; lived at 602 [sic] Viola. Daughter Lurean Zackery, 604 Viola, was informant. She was buried in Masonic Cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1963.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

602 Viola Street.

The one hundred-fifty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; two-room, central-hall house with turned post porch.”

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In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson William H Rev h 613 Viola

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map shows that the original house number was 613.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: White James (c) hostler h 613 Viola

In 1918, George Lane registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 1 June 1879; lived at 613 Viola Street; worked as a brick laborer for John M. Barnes, Green Street, Wilson; and his nearest relative was Mamie Lane, 613 Viola. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lane George (c) col h 613 Viola

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting at 613 Viola, George Lane, 43, tobacco factory laborer; wife Mamie, 30, washing and ironing; and children John, 11, Clyde, 7, George Jr., 6, and Louise, 1.

On 21 November 1920, an unnamed infant girl was born dead at 613 Viola to George Lane and Mamie Washington Lane. Her mother was informant for her death certificate.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Sweny, 53, painter, and children Neoma, 17, Laney, 15, Easter, 13, Gracy, 12, John H., 10, and George P., 7.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Saml (c) pntr h 602 Viola; also, Swinney Naomi (c) student h 602 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Swinney, 76, painter, daughters Ester, 22, a tobacco stemmer, and Gracie, 22, superintendent at NYA project, and sons Johnnie R., 18, “in CCC camp,” and George, 17.

Samuel W. Swinney died 24 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 59 years old; born in Roberson County to Richard Swinney and Fannie Manning, both of Dillon, South Carolina; and a widower. Grace Swinney of 602 Viola Street was informant.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Swinney, maid; George Swinney, tobacco worker; Grace Swinney, teacher; and John Swinney, grocer, at 602 Viola. John Swinney’s grocery store was at 612 Viola.

In 1942, Johnnie Richard Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 May 1921 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Lonnie Thompson, 602 East Viola, Wilson; and he worked in “business (store).” 

In 1942, George Cleo Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1923 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Naomi Hunter, 11 1/2 North Pender Street, Wilson; and he worked for Thurston Motor Line, Wilson. 

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Geo (c) student h 602 Viola; also, Thompson Lanie S (c) cook ACC h 602 Viola

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1963.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

900 Viola Street.

The one hundred-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1910; 1 story; Frank Barnes house; L-plan cottage especially intact, with turned porch posts and sleeping loft; Barnes was a blacksmith.”

This house has recently undergone extensive renovation.

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In the 1912 and 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Barnes Frank (c) blksmith C Culpeper h Viola nr Reed

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Boykin Jas (c; Nancy S) carp h 900 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Viola Street, owned and valued at $4000, private practical nurse Nancy S. Boykin, 59; husband Christian Church clergyman James, 44; daughter Lila R., 19; and roomers Ines Williams, 23, and Minnie Nelson, 20, both servants.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Viola, farm laborer George Richardson, 40; wife Annie, 26, tobacco factory stemmer; and John B. Barnes, 27, tobacco factory packer.

In the 1941 and 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Richardson Geo (c) Annie lab h 900 Viola

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2021.

More renovation in East Wilson.

I mentioned here and here the recent renovation of houses on East Green Street, a phenomenon that actually extends throughout East Wilson. Some are on the market for sale; others are upgraded rental properties. Here are two more:

  • 900 Viola Street

More about this house later.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2021.

607 Viola Street plat map.

N.C. Mutual Life Insurance affiliate Home Development Company was a major player in East Wilson real estate in the mid-twentieth, buying and selling distressed properties by the dozens. Below, a plat map the company recorded in 1944 for two lots on Viola Street between C.E. Artis at 308 North Pender and Sadie Joyner at 609 Viola. 

The house at 607 Viola Street was demolished in the early 1980s. There has never been a house on the second lot.

Plat book 4, page 13.

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Church Alton (c; Hattie) lab h 607 Viola; Church Helen (c) maid Cherry Hotel H 607 Viola.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Clark Saml (c; Cath) h 607 Viola; Clark Martha (c) dom h 607 Viola.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $16/month rent, Catherine Clark, 42, born in S.C., hospital cook; husband Sam, 52, born in Georgia; granddaughter Martha Clark, 15, born in S.C.; grandson Willie McGill, 6, born in N.C.; and two roomers, Talmage Smith, 21, and Roy Maze, 26, both orchestra musicians. [Orchestra musicians?]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $6/month, Nora Farmer, 28, tobacco factory hanger, and lodgers Maggie Smith, 23, also a hanger, and Lester Parker, 28, highway laborer. Also, at $8/month, Charlie Williams, 42, service station attendant; wife Ellen, 38, laundress; son David, 23, tobacco factory laborer; and niece Eloise Tarboro, 18, servant.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city director: Williams Chas (c; Ellen) porter G Duke Ricks h 607 Viola

Seeds of Hope sends follow-up.

In response to the post about the historic residents of the land now occupied by Seeds of Hope Wilson, Priscilla Morello sent these before-and-after images of their corner of Viola and Carroll Streets. At the top, Samuel H. Vick Elementary School is just visible across Carroll Street. Its parking lot was once the site of C.H. Darden High School.  (The original Vick Elementary on Reid Street now houses OIC.) The white house with red roof is 505 Carroll Street, which has been demolished.  At bottom, some of Seeds of Hope’s bounty!

906 and 908 Viola Street; 505, 507 and 509 North Carroll Street.

The one hundred twenty-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.

Seeds of Hope Wilson tends a teaching and community garden at the corner of Viola and Carroll Streets and, in a revamped cottage at 906 Viola, a small community center for the neighborhood surrounding Samuel H. Vick Elementary School. (The garden had not been installed when the photo above was taken.) Community members who work in the garden take home the food they grow after donating a portion to charities such as Hope Station, a local shelter. If you’d like to support Seeds of Hope’s fine work in East Wilson, see here.

Seeds of Hope’s property is a consolidation of five original lots — two on Viola Street and three on North Carroll. Below, a look at some of the families who lived at these addresses in the first half of the twentieth century.

Detail from Plat Book 42, Page 20, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, showing Seeds of Hope’s consolidated parcel.

  • 906 Viola

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1910; 1 story; John Dudley house; Queen Anne cottage with hip-roofed, double-pile form and turned porch posts; owner in 1925 was Dudley, a carpenter.” [The house was heavily modified for Seeds of Hope’s use.]

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dudley Jno H carp h 906 Viola

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dudley Jno H (c; Della) carp h 906 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Ned (c; Malina) truck driver h 906 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Viola, rented for $12/month, Ned Barnes, 31; wife Malline, 46; stepson Johny, 20; and sons Robert, 18, and Jessie B., 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Viola, rented for $12/month, Amos Moore, 39; wife Mattie, 29, born in Georgia; children Joseph, 5, Patricia, 3, and Iris V., 8; and sister-in-law Lillie Blue, 33, born in Georgia.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory:  Moore W Amos (c; Mattie; 3) firemn Hotel Cherry h 906 Viola

  • 908 Viola

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1945; 1 story; gable-end bungalow with metal porch supports.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cannon James (c; Debora) drayage 908 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cannon Jas (c; Deborah) taxi driver h 908 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 908 Viola, rented for $15/month, James Cannon, 34, taxi cab driver, born in S.C.; wife Deborah, 25, born in S.C.; and children Dorthy, 10, James Jr., 9, Beatrice, 6, William H., 3, and Willie W., 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 908 Viola, rented for $12/month, Polly Evans, 56, widow; children Charlie, 24, Josie, 16, Alphonza, 13, and Eloise, 10; son-in-law James Parker, 30; and daughter Virginia, 25.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Evans Polly (c) h 908 Viola

  • 505 North Carroll

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 1 story; one-room, gable-roofed house with bungalow type detail; aluminum sided; late example of traditional form.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ellis Jno (c; Georgia) soft drinks 1009 Carolina h 505 N Carroll

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ellis John (c; Georgia) lab h 505 Carroll

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 Carroll, rented for $10/month, James Tinsley, 30; wife Jensy, 23; and sister-in-law Arrie Williams, 34.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bynum General B (c) lab h 505 N Carroll; Bynum General B Jr (c) lab h 505 N Carroll

  • 507 North Carroll

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; gable front house with two-bay facade and side-hall plan; aluminum sided; built by black developer William Hines.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ellis James (c; Matilda) lab h 507 N Carroll

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the house at this address was vacant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 507 Carroll, rented for $10/month, Wade Boddy, 36; wife Mildred, 32; and children Wade O., 2, and Mildred, newborn; mother-in-law Vicey Jones, 63, widow.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Vicie (c) lndrs h 507 N Carroll; Body Wade (c; Mildred; 2) lab 507 N Carroll; Body Wm (c; Susie) lab 507 N Carroll

  • 509 North Carroll

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 2 stories; gable front house matching #507; also built by William Hines.”

Aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.