The ninety-sixth 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 house is: “1927; 1 story; William Wells house; bungalow with gable roof and engaged porch; built by Nestus Freeman; Wells was an auto mechanic.”
The house lies within the boundaries of the first phase of the Freeman Place housing redevelopment project and is the sole remaining pre-World War II house between Carroll Street and U.S. Highway 301.
In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Mazie tchr h 1209 E Nash; (also) Wells Wm auto repr RFD No 4 h 1209 E Nash;
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Wm (c; Mazie H) prop Wells Garage h 1209 E Nash
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1207 [sic] East Nash, owned and valued at $1500, auto mechanic at garage William Wells, 34; wife Mazie, 32, public school teacher; son George, 7; brother-in-law George Cooper, 46, tobacco factory laborer; and sister Aldreta Cooper, 26, cook.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wells Wm (c; Mazie H) (Wells’ Garage) h 1209 E Nash; (also) Wells’ Garage (c; Wm Wells) 1401 E Nash
Charles Rudolph Bridgers died 15 January 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 7 months, 5 days old and was born in Wilson to Jessie Bridgers and Margaret Kittrell.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting for $8/month, Jessie Bridgers, 32, truck driver for furniture company; wife Margaret, 27; and children Elizabeth, 6, and Jessie Jr., 5.
In 1940, Jessie James Bridgers registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 July 1905 in Halifax, N.C.; his contact was wife Margarette Bridgers; and he worked for J.W. Thomas and V.C. Martin at Thomas Yelverton in Wilson.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bridgers Jesse (c; Margt; 4) furn repr h 1209 E Nash
Wilson Daily Times, 19 January 1946.
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Currie David (c; Rematha) lndry wrkr h 1209 E Nash
In a 3 September 1993 Wilson Daily Times article, “City OKs Owner Occupancy-Based Redevelopment”:
“City Council unanimously approved the Redevelopment Demonstration Project Area plan Thursday night despite concerns expressed by some property owners.
“The city proposes to redevelop the two-acre area bounded by Nash, Carroll, Atlantic and Wainwright streets through housing acquisition, demolition and new construction activities. The redevelopment plan calls for construction of 12 new single-family homes for owner occupancy.
“The sole existing house to be spared demolition — and the only owner-occupied unit — is at 1209 E. Nash St. Charity Speight and her husband own that property.
“‘I was very concerned that no one came to talk to us,’ Mrs. Speight told council. ‘I feel we should have some input too.’ She said the house was rehabilitated two years ago. Even with those improvements, the house will not meet the standards of the new houses to be constructed on the rest of the block. Mrs. Speight said she and her husband are still paying off the rehabilitation loan and cannot afford to put more money into home improvements.”
A notice of conveyance published in the Times a year later made clear the exclusion of the Speights’ home from the city’s redevelopment project:
Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1994.
Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2018.