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North Cherry Street Historic District


The North Cherry Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.

Description

The North Cherry Street Historic District, an extension of the historic Boston Cottages neighborhood, is located north of Winston-Salem's center-city. The North Cherry Street Historic District is in an area that was cut off from the remainder of the historic Boston Cottages (Boston-Thurmond) neighborhood by the construction of University Parkway in the 1960s. The North Cherry Street Historic District lies primarily along North Cherry Street and is bounded by 14th and 23rd streets with a small number of properties being located on 17th Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Pittsburg Avenue. The topography of the area is hilly, rising to a relatively high peak with a commanding view of the city skyline at 23rd Street.

Almost all of the eighty buildings within the North Cherry Street Historic District are residential. The majority of these are single-family dwellings, but there are several historic duplexes and six historic apartment buildings; five of these have the Y-stair configuration that is associated with Winston-Salem's African American community. The Y-stair buildings, as defined by Langdon Oppermann in the "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, NC" Multiple Property Documentation Form, are often found constructed of brick with "the 'letter Y' staircase found within porches inset beneath the roof and extending the full front of the building." Although there were once "dozens" such apartment buildings on North Cherry Street, Pittsburg, and Garfield streets and many more in the old Depot Street neighborhood and other African American residential sections, there are now fewer than eight Y-stair buildings in the entire city, making the five within the North Cherry Street Historic District an extremely rare cluster. The sixth brick apartment building within the district is located at 2026-2036 N. Cherry Street. It is not in the typical Y design, but is longer, containing five bays instead of three. It does, however, follow some of the same design principals with exterior stairs, double porches under the main roof, and double-height brick piers.

Developing from circa 1925 through the early 1950s, the North Cherry Street Historic District's architecture represents the designs popular at this time, particularly the Craftsman Bungalow. Both one and one-and-a-half-story bungalows exist in either the front or side-gable formats with a range of details such as battered posts, exposed rafter tails, and knee braces. There are four brick and stuccoed examples as well as one stone bungalow in addition to the frame examples (some of which have replacement siding). Additional stylistic influences are found in a few dwellings and include the Spanish Eclectic (515 West 20th Street), Cape Cod, Period Cottage, and Minimal Traditional.

While the majority of dwellings are representative of the types of houses being built across Winston-Salem by those in the middle-income sector, there are fourteen dwellings that were built in a simple form for lower-income families around 1940. These small, frame, side-gable cottages feature unadorned, front-gable porches. Located off of North Cherry Street on 17th Street and Lincoln Avenue, these small houses, along with the apartment buildings, illustrate a mixed-income African American neighborhood during the second quarter of the twentieth century.

Although the North Cherry Street Historic District is only a small remaining portion of a once-larger historic neighborhood, it maintains a number of important character-defining features in addition to the residential architecture. The North Cherry Street Historic District's collection of medium-size houses are evidence of the status of a North Cherry Street address during the historic period. The desirability of Cherry Street was probably related to the location of Kimberley Park School at the intersection of North Cherry and Seventeenth streets. Although the original Kimberley Park School, built for African American children in 1925, burned in the mid-1960s, the replacement building is still located in the neighborhood on the school's original site and maintains the carefully articulated, original stone retaining wall. In fact, stone walls are found at the sidewalk property line of several of the houses on Cherry Street and, along with mature trees, give the streetscape definition.

Additional buildings that defined the community were the corner stores located at Fourteenth, Twenty-third, Pittsburg, and Seventeenth streets historically. While most of these have been demolished or substantially remodeled, one historic example remains at the northeast corner of North Cherry and Pittsburg Street (formerly Glenn Street). This small, one-story, brick building dates from around 1930. It has a replacement gable roof, but maintains its original door and window openings.

The architecture in the North Cherry Street Historic District maintains a good level of integrity with typical alterations including replacement siding, windows, and porches. While there are five late twentieth century buildings and vacant lots along the neighborhood's streetscape, these do not alter the district's dense historic character.

Significance

The North Cherry Street Historic District, located north of downtown Winston-Salem, is a rare example of a mixed-income African American neighborhood in the city. Many of the largest and most prosperous early twentieth century African American neighborhoods have been demolished, but here a middle-class, single-family residential area remains and is made more diverse by several duplexes, apartment buildings, and workers' houses that served a less financially-successful population.

African American history in Winston-Salem reaches back to the village of Salem, but with the rise of tobacco and other industries in the Twin City during the late nineteenth century, the black population rapidly increased and a middle class began to emerge. Rising population and increasing industrial capacity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries spawned the construction of new suburban developments for both blacks and whites. Built immediately north of the earlier Boston Cottages, the North Cherry Street Development was platted in 1924 and was fully developed by 1951. This neighborhood was ideally situated between Boston Cottages, Kimberley Park (1913), and Alta Vista (1927) and became the location of Kimberley Park School in 1925. With its mixture of single-family bungalows, duplexes, small houses and apartment buildings this area became a buffer zone between the lower income Boston Cottages and the black professionals in Alta Vista. Although relatively few North Cherry Street residents owned their own homes, their employment as tobacco workers at R.J. Reynolds Company, as butlers at the city's best hotels, as drivers for the Safe Bus company and as employees of local businesses and individuals, placed these citizens among the African American community's middle class. The North Cherry Street Historic District is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the African American history of Winston-Salem as a mixed-income neighborhood, complete with small commercial concerns — once found in many areas of the city — but now extremely rare. The district is also eligible in the area of Community Development and Planning as a rare surviving example of a planned, mixed-income, African-American neighborhood in Winston-Salem.

Additionally, the North Cherry Street Historic District is eligible for the National Register for Architecture. The district holds the largest collection of Y-stair apartment buildings remaining in Winston-Salem. This property type was heavily used in the Depot Street area and in much of northeastern Winston-Salem during the 1930s as an alternative rental option to the frame shotguns of an earlier day. These buildings were very common along North Cherry Street historically, but now the five examples (plus a similar, six-unit apartment building) are the only survivors. Within the entire city, there are only two other examples that maintain their integrity; these are located in the Depot Street area and are listed on the National Register. The remaining architecture in the North Cherry Street Historic District is representative of the rental and owner-occupied houses in African American neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem during the first half of the twentieth century. Within the district there are thirty-seven bungalows, of which about half are Craftsman Bungalows. Other popular architectural styles are also evident, including: Spanish Eclectic, Colonial Revival, Period Cottage, and Cape Cod, and Minimal Traditional houses.

The period of significance of the North Cherry Street Historic District begins in ca.1925, the date of the earliest resources in the neighborhood constructed after its platting in 1924. The period of significance ends in 1954, when development virtually ceased.

Historical Background, African American Ethnic Heritage, and Community Planning and Development

In the introduction to her 1998 Multiple Property Documentation Form, "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, North Carolina, c.1900-1947," Langdon Edmunds Oppermann summarizes the history of African Americans in Winston-Salem as "the story of a society composed of a large working-class population, first attracted to the city by burgeoning factory jobs, and the parallel rise of a black professional class whose influence is seen in surviving community landmarks and institutions."[1] As a study of the most concentrated section of African American resources in the city, Ms. Oppermann's Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) defines as its boundary the northeastern section, leaving out several African American neighborhoods, including that along North Cherry Street, a short distance west of the MPDF boundary line. Ms. Oppermann's MPDF, however, and her earlier architectural survey of African American resources in Winston-Salem, develop an excellent context for African American neighborhoods city wide.

African American history in Winston-Salem reaches back to the village of Salem, but with the rise of tobacco and other industries in the Twin City during the late nineteenth century, the black population increased rapidly and a middle class began to emerge. The city's reputation as a "place of unusual possibility for African Americans" rivaled that of Durham.[2] The effect that the influx of population and the rising middle class had on the development of neighborhoods in Winston-Salem was significant.

Boston Cottages, one of the African American neighborhoods that developed during the growth of the 1890s, is located northwest of downtown. Platted in 1892 by a group of white businessmen, this small neighborhood was not built according to its plat, which showed a lake at its southern end. The area appears to have flourished, however, supporting a school and at least two churches by 1920. In 1917, the Sanborn Map shows the original Boston Cottages area with additional development scattered to the east similar to what exists today. By 1928, however, development had exploded to the north and east of the original plat. The focus of Boston Cottages' early development was on modestly sized, one-story "cottages" for workers.[3]

Langdon Oppermann writes of the tremendous industrial growth that spawned the need for additional African American workers housing:

"The growth of Winston-Salem continued in the new century, and the city's black population grew at a rate equal to the white. In 1900, the city was forty percent black with 5,500 African Americans. Tobacco factories became increasingly mechanized after 1909 and work became year-round rather than seasonal, bringing more workers and more permanent housing. By 1910 total population had increased by sixty-six percent, with blacks remaining at about forty percent of the total, or 9,000, indicating a parallel sixty-six percent growth in the black population. The rapid growth continued, increasing by over 113% to 48,000 in 1920, and was second only to Baltimore in a federal index of industrial cities in the South. African Americans were at almost forty-three percent, indicating an even larger growth in the black population. By 1930 Forsyth County had grown from one of the smallest in the state to one of the most populous. Winston-Salem showed an increase of fifty-five percent over 1920 and the proportion of blacks held steady at forty-three percent with about 33,000 blacks in the city in 1930. Since 1915 Winston-Salem had been the largest city between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., but by 1930 Charlotte's population of 82,600 had surpassed Winston-Salem's, making Winston-Salem the second largest city in the state. It nevertheless saw an increase of 550% in the thirty years after 1900.

...in 1913, the Reynolds Tobacco Co. introduced its Camel cigarettes, which became the best-selling cigarette in the country. The company's fortunes surged, and by 1915 Reynolds had built additional factories. Two years later the Moravian Bishop in his annual Memorabilia stated that "In the tobacco industry, 1917 is the greatest year the city has seen. Sales have come to be thrice instead of twice a day at each of the warehouses...Wages have been increased again and again [for] the ordinary day laborer in the tobacco factories...." The city's financial success was at its height in the 1920s. With the influx of new residents vast business and professional opportunities opened, and Winston-Salem became home to a prosperous and growing black middle class. Living in the city were African American attorneys, physicians, dentists, ministers, factory workers, barbers, restaurant owners, grocers, dry cleaners, funeral directors, woodworkers, chauffeurs, domestic servants, insurance agents, teachers and others, with the center of African-American life in the Depot Street area just east of downtown where Reynolds's first tobacco workers had created a community. Winston was known in the southeast, as was Durham, as a place of opportunity for blacks and whites, and people came here from all around, especially South Carolina and Virginia as well as North Carolina."[4]

Throughout Winston-Salem in the 1910s and 1920s, a housing boom raced to keep pace with the expanding industrial base. Lands adjacent to earlier neighborhoods were quickly developed as the city grew outward. The historic district, which lies primarily along North Cherry Street, is almost equally divided between areas lying within the original plat of the Boston Cottages neighborhood and areas to the north that were part of a major, northward expansion in this vicinity between 1917 and 1928.

One of the earliest African American developments north of Boston Cottages was Kimberley Park, which lies immediately east of the North Cherry Street Historic District. It was platted by the Winston Realty Company in November of 1913. Kimberley Park first appears in the city directory in 1916 as "a colored settlement NW of city beyond city limits." By 1930, the location was specified as a "section E side of Cherry beyond NW Blvd."[5] The Winston Realty Company and its officers were involved in a number of low-income and African American neighborhoods. During the 1910s, Winston Realty was reported to have "made more suburban developments in the City than all other real estate organizations combined." The company had been in business since 1906 and made easy payment plans for those with lower incomes an important feature of its services.[6]

Between Boston Cottages and Kimberley Park a third development, the North Cherry Street Development, was platted in October of 1924. Three companies were involved in North Cherry Street: Southern Loan and Discount Company, Southside Realty Company, and Franklin Real Estate Company. These companies were closely related to one another. Southern Loan and Discount Company had S. Carter Williams as its president; Williams, a Yadkinville resident, was also the president of Southside Realty Company. Further, Franklin Real Estate Company was headed by William E. Franklin and had Roger J. Franklin as its secretary. Roger and William Franklin were both involved in the above-described Winston Realty Company; the former was vice president and the latter was president in 1924-1926.

In October of 1926, two years after the platting of North Cherry Street, the North Cherry Street Development Company was chartered by Roger J. and Mary Franklin with Dr. S.W. Hurdle for the purpose of buying, selling, renting, building, and financing real estate. It appears that this company was set up to sell lots and build houses in the development. In 1933, the North Cherry Street Development Company held an office on North Cherry Street and was at that time owned by Dr. Hurdle and the white proprietor of Tillitt's Confectionary at 1603 North Cherry, Edward T. Tillitt.[7]

The original plat of the North Cherry Street Development included the area on either side of North Cherry Street from 14th Street, north to 23rd Street. The easternmost street was Garfield, while Grant bounded the area on the west. A notation on the 1926 plat states that this "map is supplementary and is intended to supersede map known as Boston Cottage and also Woodrow Place."[8]

Placing the North Cherry Street Development within its context of earlier and later developments illustrates how this area was part of the substantial growth in African American residential areas near Boston Cottages. For example, following the North Cherry plat, Alta Vista was platted in 1927, immediately northwest of the North Cherry Street Historic District. This area is said to have been the first subdivision in the South for African American professionals.[9] Thus, North Cherry Street was well situated between the established Boston Cottages and the newly developing Alta Vista. With its mixture of single-family bungalows, duplexes, and apartment buildings this area became a buffer zone between the working class cottages in the south and the single-family houses of black professionals in the north.

The centralized location of the North Cherry Street Development made it a likely place for the construction of Kimberley Park School in 1925 (additions in 1928) in the 1700 block of North Cherry Street. This large school building, complete with an auditorium, was a focus of the surrounding African American neighborhood. Kimberley Park school replaced the earlier Oak Street Elementary (built in 1913 in Boston Cottages). J.W. Paisley was Kimberley Park's first principal. By 1938, there were five African American elementary schools within the city, but Atkins High School (1931) was the only secondary institution serving black students.[10]

Development north of Boston Cottages came into its prime during the late 1920s and, although relatively few houses in the district were constructed by 1928, nearly all were built by the publication of the 1951 Sanborn map. Additionally, Kimberley Park School had received two large additions on each of its rear classroom wings indicating the rise in population in the vicinity. Another indicator of the population growth was the annexation of an adjacent area (that included the district) during the 1920s. The prominent, primarily white, neighborhoods of Ardmore and Waughtown were also annexed during this period.[11]

The North Cherry Street Historic District was never an isolated neighborhood, but part of the larger Boston community. To residents, "Boston" stretched from the old Boston Cottages section at Northwest Boulevard north to Alta Vista at 25th Street. The area lay between North Cherry Street on the east and Thurmond Street on the west, encompassing the Boston Cottages, North Cherry, and Alta Vista plats; the Kimberley Park development lay immediately to the east. The neighborhood was similar to most of Winston-Salem's early twentieth century residential areas — replete with corner groceries, barber shops, repair shops and other small businesses. Church congregations tended to build within the older Boston Cottages section, but Kimberley Park School on North Cherry Street was an important locus of the community. In 1933 within the historic district, there were two corner groceries (both demolished) and Tillitt's Confectionary at 1603 North Cherry Street. By 1950, the commercial entities included Sackie's Flower & Gift Shop, The Community Beauty Salon and Pardue & Davis Cash Store (both demolished); 1603 North Cherry was vacant in this year, but held a grocery store in 1945 and 1955.[12]

The entrepreneurial spirit was strong within the African American population in Winston-Salem during the early twentieth century and is well-represented within the North Cherry Street Historic District. While small, neighborhood-oriented businesses were the norm, the most significant business venture was transportation, employing the largest number of African Americans of any African American-owned business. In 1926, C.T. Woodland and other jitney operators combined their efforts and formed the Safe Bus Company. The impetus for its formation was the need for bus (jitney) service in the outwardly expanding African American neighborhoods like Boston/North Cherry. This was a service that the white bus companies were unwilling to provide. Safe Bus Company grew to serve 8,000 customers daily by 1939, and carried a compliment of eighty African American drivers with a total payroll of $66,000. The company survived into the 1970s when it was purchased by the City of Winston-Salem. Two Safe Bus drivers lived within the district between 1940 and 1955: Earl Norwood who lived in an apartment at 2006 North Cherry Street and Leroy Bennett whose residence was a duplex at 1607 North Cherry Street. Further, the vice president-general manager of Safe Bus lived at 2060 North Cherry Street (demolished) in 1950. The jitney also served as the connection between the neighborhood and downtown Winston-Salem. Residents used the early buses to easily reach the vibrant African American community in the Depot Street area where shopping and social activities were numerous. The jitney also provided important transportation to jobs in downtown businesses, hotels, and, most importantly, at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.[13]

Between 1933 and 1955, nearly sixty district residents, both male and female, are recorded in the city directory as working at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. This company far over-shadowed any other employer during this period and the occupational history for Winston-Salem's African Americans generally. In fact, during the same period, only nine persons were recorded as being employed at one of the three Hanes textile plants (P.H. Hanes Knitting, Hanes Dye and Finishing, and Hanes Hosiery).[14] Langdon Oppermann writes about this city-wide scenario:

"Although both tobacco and textiles spurred the city's rapid growth and expansion, it was chiefly the tobacco factories that provided jobs for African-Americans. Cotton manufacturers in Winston-Salem as elsewhere generally hired white workers, drawn mainly from poor farmers who preferred factory work to tenant sharecropping. For example, Hanes Mills boasted, "No Negroes save janitors are employed in the Hanes Cotton Mills." By contrast, in Winston-Salem in 1931, the tobacco industries employed thirty-three percent of black male adult workers in the city and forty-eight percent of black female adult workers. In all the factories, as historian Wilbur Cash has pointed out, the pattern of the antebellum plantations was repeated; control over labor seemed simply to have been transferred from the old landholder to the employer. For instance, in his factories Reynolds had strict rules about talking on the job, but singing was encouraged. Standard spirituals and work-songs from the slave years were prevalent. Work in the tobacco factories was difficult and all foremen were white, but the city's sixty-year population explosion indicates most workers considered it preferable to the life of a tenant farmer."[15]

In addition to Reynolds and Hanes, the occupational picture of the North Cherry Street Historic District as a whole is representative of the typical employments among middle-income African Americans in the city during the early twentieth century. In 1945, North Cherry Street was home to several employees of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other tobacco-related concerns, grocers, janitors, and drivers, but relatively few people who worked at lower paying day-laborer or helper positions.

Women, and there were a number of women heads-of-household in the district, tended to hold factory jobs and domestic positions. Jobs for men were somewhat more varied and included a number of drivers, bellmen, butlers, and janitors. Many of these positions were at downtown hotels and restaurants, such as the Robert E. Lee and the Zinzendorf hotels, or at large office buildings. For example, in 1933, Buford West of 1620 North Cherry Street was employed as a janitor at Wachovia Bank and Trust. Because the jobs held by African Americans in the district were better-paying than day-labor work, some of the homes in the area were owner-occupied. The 1945 city directory indicates that thirteen houses within the North Cherry Street Historic District were owner-occupied at that time. This was a relatively small percentage of housing units in the district, but it is notable since almost all of these were on North Cherry Street. None of the small houses on Lincoln and 17th streets were owner-occupied. By the 1955 City Directory, however, there were at least thirty-one homeowners on North Cherry Street. Many of these owner-occupied dwellings were across from Kimberley Park School in the 1700 block of North Cherry Street with further concentrations in the 2000-2200 blocks.[16]

On North Cherry Street, residents were proud to live near Kimberley Park School. Oral tradition holds that several teachers lived on Cherry Street near the school. Elizabeth Leach, a teacher who lived at 2054 North Cherry Street in 1933, may have worked at the school as did Louise Lewis, the owner of 2020 North Cherry Street in 1955. Rosa Faulkner, a native of the North Cherry area remembers a thriving community during the 1930s and 1940s with a cluster of homeowners. "On that end across from the school," she recalled, "they were high society."[17]

By the late 1960s, however, "society" had moved further into the suburbs and Boston Cottages and North Cherry Street were seen as being in decline. The area became the site of a significant urban renewal project in 1971. Covering nearly 650 acres, primarily in the former Kimberley Park plat, the construction of a large complex of public apartment buildings significantly altered the character of the area immediately east of the district.[18] Another important project, the construction of University Parkway during the 1960s laid a second significant blow as it bisected the neighborhood between Harrison and Lincoln Avenues destroying the historic cohesiveness of the older section of the Boston neighborhood and the North Cherry, Alta Vista, and Kimberley Park areas. These projects were typical of the kind of whole-sale destruction that occurred in African American neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem. Thus, the small section that is the North Cherry Street Historic District is a rare surviving example of a mixed-income African American neighborhood in Winston-Salem. Many of the largest and most prominent neighborhoods, such as Depot Street and Columbian Heights have been demolished, but here a glimpse of a middle-income, single-family residential area remains tempered with several duplexes and apartment buildings.

Architectural Context

Adding to the significance of the North Cherry Street Historic District is the large and rare collection of Y-stair apartment buildings that were a unique part of Winston-Salem's African American heritage. Langdon Oppermann, in her 1998 "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, North Carolina, ca.1900-1947," developed a definition for the Y-stair apartments:

"Of the apartment buildings in this property type, some may be one-story, but most will generally be two-story frame, brick, or brick-veneered buildings with hipped or gable roofs. Many will have porches on one or both levels, and a staircase to reach the second level. A popular style in the numerous apartments once found in these neighborhoods is the "letter Y" staircase, found within porches inset beneath the roof and extending the full front of the building. The buildings will have entrance and window bays on the front and back, with domestically-styled windows, usually double-hung."[19]

Oppermann goes on to give a clear statement of the architectural significance of these apartment buildings.

"The porch and stair form was a popular one in Winston-Salem. At one time there were dozens of similar apartment buildings on North Cherry Street and on neighboring streets such as Pittsburg Street and Garfield Street. The Depot Street area itself had dozens of these buildings, most brick, but some frame. Today, only two of these survive in the Depot Street area, and a handful are scattered along North Cherry Street, most remodeled, outside the boundaries of the district. They have not been recognized locally as being of significance, probably due to their familiarity to those who grew up at a time when they were abundant. However, as far as has been determined, the stair design of these apartment buildings is peculiar to Winston-Salem. They are not found in other cities that historically had large African American populations, such as Raleigh, Durham, Wilson, and Charlotte. Despite interviews with about twenty elderly residents, with current and former owners of some of these buildings, and with children of earlier contractors and realtors, the origin of this design remains a mystery. (The design is believed to have been developed by a local construction company.)[20] Most of these apartments were built by white realtors or private individuals who invested heavily in real estate. That is the nature of apartment buildings, however, regardless of their design. Several white real estate firms concentrated in African American neighborhoods where they managed their own rental properties and those of their white clients, who were absentee landlords. Until recently as the 1980s, the real estate firms sent employees door-to-door to collect rents.

A few surviving apartment buildings are therefore of extreme significance as the only remaining examples of a highly popular type — the apartment building — that came into heavy use in the Depot Street area, on North Cherry Street, and in much of northeastern Winston-Salem in the 1930s as an alternative to the frame shotguns of an earlier day. Sanborn maps updated in the 1940s show rows of similar apartment buildings on the streets crossing and paralleling Patterson Avenue, on North Cherry Street and nearby streets including Pittsburg and Garfield streets."[21]

Thus, the concentration of Y-stair apartment buildings found within the North Cherry Street Historic District is the largest remaining collection of this building type that was once prevalent in Winston-Salem's African American neighborhoods. They are representative of a property type that is significant because they were both architecturally unique to the city and served to provide multi-family housing within some of Winston-Salem's most vibrant middle income African American neighborhoods during the early twentieth century.

In addition to the apartment buildings, there are five examples of historic duplexes (most dating to around 1930) in the North Cherry Street Historic District. A good example is 1411-1413 North Cherry Street. Like many of the duplexes, this house is a bungalow. It is brick with a front-gable roof. Each unit has a front-gable porch. Built for Home Realty Company (or perhaps Kapp Ogburn, Sr.) by J.R. Stewart, a white contractor from Waughtown, The units were occupied by Robert and Thelma Dixon, a gardener for Mrs. Annie M. Harris on Country Club Road, and Lee and Rosie Crowell, a tobacco worker at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1940.

The remaining architecture in the North Cherry Street Historic District is representative of the rental and owner-occupied houses in African American neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem during the first half of the twentieth century. In the introduction to "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, North Carolina, c.1900-1947," Langdon Edmunds Oppermann writes that the three neighborhoods that housed the city's "most successful African-American professionals" were all characterized by "fashionable houses in the popular styles of the time, as well as smaller houses for the less well-to-do." This scenario holds true in the middle-income North Cherry Street neighborhood as well. Within the district there are thirty-seven bungalows, of which about half are Craftsman-style Bungalows. Other popular architectural styles are also evident including: Spanish Eclectic, Colonial Revival, Period Cottage, and Cape Cod. Altogether, these styles number only seven houses, however. There are eleven examples of Minimal Traditional houses.

Although lacking a definitive style there are eleven, one-story, side-gable, three-bay houses dating from about 1940. Located along West 17th Street and Lincoln Avenue, these houses are virtually identical and are represented by 509 West 17th Street. Built about 1940, the house is one-story with a side-gable roof. The three-bay facade is shaded by a front-gable porch supported by square posts. The house is sheathed in weatherboard siding with a standing seam metal roof. Details include exposed purlins and a central, corbelled chimney. The house was occupied by Mary Beck, an employee of Brown and Williamson Tobacco, in 1945.

Thus, the architecture of the North Cherry Street Historic District is illustrative of its mixed-income residents with duplexes and apartment buildings standing beside Craftsman Bungalows and other styles that are found throughout the city's early twentieth century neighborhoods. The collection of one-story, side-gable houses, which were all rental units, is an important aspect of the neighborhood and is a rare example of a concentration of identical rental houses, which housed many African Americans throughout the city during the historic period.

Endnotes

  1. Langdon Oppermann, "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, North Carolina (c.1900-1947)," Multiple Property Documentation Form, State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1998, 1.
  2. Oppermann, MPDF, 12.
  3. Langdon Edmonds Oppermann, "Winston-Salem's African-American Neighborhoods, 1870-1950," Architectural and Planning Report, State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1994, 37-39 and 1907, 1917, and 1928 Sanborn Maps.
  4. Oppermann, MPDF, 16-19.
  5. Plat Map, "Kimberley Park Belonging to Winston Realty Company, 1913," Forsyth County Register of Deeds and Oppermann, report, 52.
  6. C.A. Weaver, ed. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: City of Industry (Winston-Salem: Winston Printing Co., c.1918), 10.
  7. Articles of Incorporation, Book C6, Page 432, Forsyth County Register of Deeds; Walker, J.A., engineer, "Map of North Cherry Street Development, 1924," Forsyth County Register of Deeds; and 1924, 1926, and 1933 Winston-Salem City Directory.
  8. Walker, "Map."
  9. Oppermann, MPDF, 41.
  10. Linwood Davis, et al, African Americans in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, (Virginia Beach: Donning Co., 1999), 48-9.
  11. Adelaide Fries, Forsyth: A County on the March, 206.
  12. Boston Roundup Committee, "Boston Community Historical Information," undated material, from the files of Mary Giunca, Winston-Salem Journal, and 1933, 1945,1950, and 1955 City Directories.
  13. Davis,73 and 75.
  14. 1933, 1940, 1945, 1950, and 1955 City Directories.
  15. Oppermann, MPDF, 32.
  16. 1933 and 1945 City Directories.
  17. Mary Giunca, "Many Feel Historic Designation Hinders Redevelopment Plans for Neighborhood," Winston-Salem Journal, 24 July 2003.
  18. Fries,301.
  19. Oppermann, MPDF, 48-49.
  20. Langdon Edmunds Oppermann, "Graver Apartment Building National Register Nomination, 1998," Raleigh: State Historic Preservation Office.
  21. Oppermann, MPDF, 48-49.

References

Boston Roundup Committee. "Boston Community Historical Information." Undated material, from the files of Mary Giunca, Winston-Salem Journal.

Davis, Linwood et al. African Americans in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. Virginia Beach: Donning Co., 1999.

Fries, Adelaide. Forsyth: A County on the March. Chapel Hill, UNC Press, 1976.

Giunca, Mary. "Many Feel Historic Designation Hinders Redevelopment Plans for Neighborhood." Winston-Salem Journal, 24 July 2003.

"Kimberley Park Belonging to Winston Realty Company, 1913." Plat map. Forsyth County Register of Deeds.

North Cherry Street Development Company. Articles of Incorporation, Book C6, Page 432, Forsyth County Register of Deeds.

Oppermann, Langdon E."Winston-Salem's African American Neighborhoods, 1870-1950." State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1994.

________. "Historic and Architectural Resources of African American Neighborhoods in Northeastern Winston-Salem, North Carolina (c.1900-1947)," Multiple Property Documentation Form. State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1998.

________. "Craver Apartment Building," National Register Nomination. State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1998.

________. "W.C. Brown Apartment Building," National Register Nomination. State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, 1994. 1998.

Walker, J.A."Map of North Cherry Street Development, 1924." Forsyth County Register of Deeds.

Weaver, C.A., ed. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: City of Industry. Winston-Salem: Winston Printing Co., c.1918.

Winston-Salem City Directory. Years 1932-1955. North Carolina Room, Forsyth County Public Library.

Winston-Salem Sanborn Maps: 1907, 1912, 1917, 1928, 1951. North Carolina Room, Forsyth County Public Library.

† Sherry Joines Wyatt, North Cherry Street Historic District, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, NC, nomination document, 2003, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

North Cherry Street Historic District Map

Street Names
17th Street West • 20th Street West • Cherry Street North • Lincoln Avenue • Pittsburg Avenue

**Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. You should independently verify any information you use for decision making.
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