The Holly Avenue Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Holly Avenue Historic District is comprised of fifty-nine acres in an approximately twelve-block area. The district is an urban residential area with narrow lots on which houses are generally located about twenty-five feet back from the street. Homes are one- and two-stories in height, while three- and four-story apartment buildings are found throughout the district. The Holly Avenue Historic District is bounded on the north by Holly Avenue; on the east by Poplar, Spruce, and Marshall streets; on the south by Interstate Route 40 and First Street; and on the west by Broad and Spring streets.
Located on the western side of downtown Winston-Salem, the Holly Avenue Historic District developed on the rolling, and sometimes steep, hills between downtown and the 1891 West End subdivision (National Register, 1986; see West End Historic District). One of the most important factors in the history of the neighborhood has been the landscape. At the heart of the Holly Avenue Historic District are springs which were used by the eighteenth century Moravian settlers as a water source for the town of Salem, south of the district. Steep hills descend to these springs on all sides, creating a bowl-shaped area. The boundary for the Holly Avenue Historic District essentially runs along the rim of this bowl.
Particularly from the western, northern, and eastern sides of the bowl, the land plunges down to the springs, creating the lowest point in the district at the intersection of Shady Boulevard and First Street, where the branch from the springs passes under First Street. Overall, the Holly Avenue Historic District slopes down from north to south, with the north-south streets generally following this slope. First and Second streets follow the undulating topography down to the springs and back up. Holly Avenue is the district's northernmost street and lies near the top of a ridge that forms the northern rim of the bowl. Fourth and Fifth Streets, further to the north and outside the district's bounds, lie along this ridge's plateau.
North of the Holly Avenue Historic District are Fourth and Fifth streets with a mix of commercial and religious buildings and two or three early twentieth century houses and apartment buildings. To the east is the business district of downtown Winston-Salem. Interstate 40, the eighteenth century town of Salem (National Register, 1966), and a mix of residential and commercial buildings lie to the south. West of the district is Broad Street, which is a commercial corridor, beyond which is the residential area of West End.
Both the steep topography and the town of Salem's desire to protect the springs as a water source made the district less desirable for commercial or residential development. This changed as other water sources were utilized and the successful development of West End and Washington Park (National Register, 1992; see Washington Park Historic District) in the late nineteenth century proved that people wanted to live in naturalistic settings that took advantage of topography and stately trees. Thus, in 1903, with fairly dense development nearly surrounding it and no need to continue protecting the springs as a water source, the Moravian congregation subdivided the property around the springs. This tract, known as the Reservation, was bounded by Holly Avenue, Poplar, Spring, and First streets. On this parcel, they laid out Shady Boulevard in the flood plain of the creek running from the springs, and Second Street was extended from Poplar Street to Spring Street, as was Holly Avenue.
A variety of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century styles are to be found in the Holly Avenue Historic District. Queen Anne and early Colonial Revival homes were constructed through the early 1900s. From the 1910s through the 1930s, bungalows with Craftsman and Colonial Revival details became the common styles. After World War II, Minimal Traditional with stripped-down Colonial Revival detailing became the standard and was most commonly applied to the Holly Avenue Historic District's post-war apartment buildings. Most houses have an irregular footprint and front porches. One and two-story houses occur with roughly equal frequency. Apartment buildings, a common building type in the district throughout the period of significance, were usually two-stories in height with rectangular footprints. Those dating from before World War II were oriented with their narrow ends facing the street. Like houses, they featured Colonial Revival and Craftsman details and porches. Post-war apartment buildings have their long sides facing the street. They are Minimal Traditional in style and do not have porches.
Clusters of homes dating from the early 1900s can be found along Holly Avenue, Spring, and Poplar streets, essentially along the edges of the bowl. Concentrations of homes from the early 1910s are found south of First Street. Along Shady Boulevard, most homes date from the mid-1910s. Post-war housing stock is scattered about evenly throughout the district.
Between 1900 and 1930, seventy-nine percent of the Holly Avenue Historic District's resources were built. The peak of construction occurred between 1906 and 1910. During that four-year period, nineteen percent of the district's resources were built. Several apartment buildings were constructed during the 1940s and early 1950s, but very few single-family dwellings were built between 1931 and 1951. In the 1950s, a few buildings were constructed, but since that time, there has been only scattered building, some of which resulted in the demolition of historic buildings.
The earliest homes in the Holly Avenue Historic District date from the late 1880s and early 1890s, and were located on the perimeter of the Reservation. The three oldest homes are the c.1885 Henry Case House on South Poplar Street, the James Jessup House (c.1889) at 134 Spring Street, and the c.1890 house at 127 Broad Street. The Case House is a gable front, side passage, two-story house with Italianate details. The Jessup House is a two-story I-house with minimal Italianate references. The house on Broad Street has a hip roof and continuous pent roofs on the gable ends. All three homes can be seen on the 1891 Bird's Eye View of Winston and Salem.
Today, only thirteen homes in the Holly Avenue Historic District date from before the 1903 subdivision of the Reservation. Only eight of those date from the nineteenth century, but the 1891 Bird's Eye View shows thirty-seven homes within the district's bounds, most of which were south of First Street. Most of the homes seen in this illustration were torn down in the 1910s and 1920s as the subdivision of the Reservation attracted homeowners of greater means. Similarly, the 1888 Calvary Moravian Church was replaced by the current building in 1923. On the eastern edge of the district, the houses shown on Marshall Street in 1891 were lost to commercial development and multi-family housing. Similar changes occurred on Broad Street at the district's western edge. Houses on the district's southern edge were demolished in the early 1950s during construction of the East-West Expressway (today's Business Interstate-40).
There are numerous outbuildings throughout the neighborhood, most of which are garages. The most stylish outbuilding in the Holly Avenue Historic District is the Kapp Carriage House located at 642 Holly Avenue. The Kapp House has been demolished, but the c.1904 carriage house remains. The structure has three arched bays, a tile roof, and stucco and pebbledash walls. The Henry Foltz barn at 622 West Second Street is another interesting outbuilding. This barn dates from the construction of the Foltz House in 1906 and is one of Winston-Salem's few examples of an urban barn. The building has a jerkinhead roof and board-and-batten siding. Another outbuilding example is the unusual two-story garage and apartment located behind the J.G. Walker House at 115 North Poplar Street. This building was constructed c.1918 from rusticated concrete blocks. The hip roof building is extremely narrow with a garage bay in the short end of the building. A door is located on the second floor of the sidewall, indicating that at one time, the building had an exterior flight of steps. More typical are small, gabled, one or two bay garages dating from the 1910s to the 1950s. One such garage is the c.1920 structure located behind the Luther Hauser House at 653 West Second Street. This small building has clapboard siding and exposed raftertails.
The most prominent non-residential building is the Calvary Moravian Church on the corner of Holly Avenue and North Poplar Street (600 Holly Avenue). Calvary Moravian and Salem Baptist Church, which is not in the Holly Avenue Historic District, were the religious and social centers of the neighborhood, and today, the Calvary Moravian Church dominates the neighborhood. Executed in the Moravian mode of Colonial Revival in 1923, the brick building has a Moravian bonnet over the entrance, arched windows, and small, gabled dormers. The classically inspired steeple has pediments on all four sides and is capped by a low dome. Housed in the steeple is the clock from the tower of the original Winston City Hall, which was torn down in 1926.
Another non-residential building is the Green Front Grocery (c.1937), a small, gabled, brick, Colonial Revival store at the corner of First and Broad Streets (101 Broad Street). T.R. Brann's store (c.1921) at 106 South Poplar Street is also extant. This local gathering spot is a small, gable front building that has lost much of its integrity. Other neighborhood stores were scattered throughout the area, but no others are standing.
Intrusions in the neighborhood have occurred in the form of businesses along South Marshall and Broad streets. Parking lots serving downtown offices have also infringed on the neighborhood's edges. Although apartment buildings and duplexes were historically located in the neighborhood, a small number of larger buildings were constructed in the 1970s and 1980s throughout the district.
Today the area and the district are known as the Holly Avenue Neighborhood. The origins of this name remain unclear, though the neighborhood association took the name when it was formed more than twenty years ago. Older, lifelong members of the community do not recall a specific name for their neighborhood, but the area's largest homes as well as Calvary Moravian Church, were located on Holly Avenue.
The Holly Avenue Historic District contains a total of 136 resources, of which 116 (eighty-five percent) are contributing. Of these, eighty-six are houses, most of which were constructed in the 1910s and 1920s. Seventy-seven of these houses are contributing; eight are non-contributing. Apartment buildings and duplexes account for twenty-seven of the resources. Eighteen of these are contributing and nine are non-contributing. Resources also include thirteen contributing outbuildings and two non-contributing outbuildings, most of which are garages. There are five non-residential buildings, of which two are contributing and three are non-contributing.
The Holly Avenue Historic District is significant in the area of community planning and development and in the area of architecture. Situated on steep hills on the west side of downtown Winston-Salem, the heart of the neighborhood is sited on land once protected by the Moravian Church as a water source for their town of Salem. Because of its terrain and the protection of the land by the Moravians, the neighborhood developed primarily after the tract was subdivided in 1903, although its period of significance begins at c.1885 when the district's oldest building, the Case House, was constructed. In the late nineteenth century, residential and commercial areas were already being developed around the district. Throughout much of the early twentieth century, many of Winston-Salem's citizens with the means were moving to burgeoning suburbs, yet the Holly Avenue Historic District, located downtown, experienced much of its new construction as well as reinvestment as smaller, older houses were torn down for new dwellings. The period of significance ends in 1952, and although the neighborhood had limited development after 1952, the Holly Avenue Historic District does not possess exceptional significance. Therefore, the fifty-year cut-off is appropriate.
Of the several residential sections in downtown Winston-Salem around the turn of the twentieth century, only the Holly Avenue Historic District remains intact. The prominent Cherry Street neighborhood has seen its stately homes torn down or converted to businesses, and Fifth Street's "Millionaire's Row" is now lined with office buildings, gas stations, and parking lots. Thus the area that had been an oasis of trees and springs throughout the nineteenth century has become a residential island in downtown. Consisting of 122 properties comprised of 136 resources, the neighborhood historically was occupied by residents who represented a broad range of incomes and socioeconomic levels, from physicians and company presidents to factory workers, sawmill employees, and store clerks.
Their single-family homes, apartment buildings, and corner stores constitute a collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century styles and types not found in Winston-Salem's contemporaneous neighborhoods. The Henry and Annie Case House (133 South Poplar Street) features bracketed eaves, window hoods, and a turned-post and balustrade porch, while the Charles C. Vaughn House (c.1891; 663 Holly Avenue) and the W.A. Walker House (c.1893; 669 Holly Avenue) are two sophisticated, Queen Anne dwellings that feature irregular footprints, a variety of wall materials, and various projections and bays. More homes were constructed in the early 1900s, such as the imposing George and Laura Roediger House (316 Spring Street) with fluted columns and two polygonal bays. Another example is the 1906 Henry W. Foltz House (622 West Second Street), an asymmetrical cottage with decorative shingles, a pedimented dormer, and Tuscan columns on the wrap-around porch. In the 1910s, plain I-houses and gabled ell cottages were decorated with sawnwork, brackets, and turned porch posts, and as Winston-Salem's prosperity continued in the 1920s, Bungalows were constructed. Multifamily housing has been part of the neighborhood's history from its earliest days. One of the first buildings constructed on the Reservation property was a complex of four brick townhouses on Spring Street, but the majority of the neighborhood's apartment buildings date from the 1910s and 1920s, incorporating Craftsman and Colonial Revival elements. Art Moderne design influences can be seen in the 1930 Wachovia Apartments and several Minimal Traditional apartment buildings were constructed in the 1940s and early 1950s.
Historical Background and Community Planning and Development Context
In 1753, Moravian settlers acquired a 99,000-acre tract of land from Lord Granville in what would become North Carolina. When Moravian Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg led an initial exploration into the area in 1752, he noted that the property had "countless springs, and numerous fine creeks...[and] much beautiful meadowland." The Moravians named the parcel Wachovia and created the settlement of Bethabara and then the town of Bethania. In 1766, clearing was begun south of Bethania and Bethabara, near the center of the tract on what was deemed the most suitable property for a large town, to be called Salem.
In 1849, Stokes County, in which Salem was located, was split into two counties. The new county, the southern half of Stokes, was named Forsyth, and Salem was now located in its center, the logical place for the county's government. Because Salem was a theocracy, governed by the Moravian Church until 1856, the town did not want to host the secular government. Instead, the congregation sold land to the county for the creation of a new town in 1849. The town would be called Winston and was located directly north of Salem. Its original limits were present-day First, Seventh, Church and Trade streets, well to the east of the Holly Avenue Historic District.
Winston grew rapidly. The People's Press, a Salem newspaper, reported in 1852 "an occasional walk to our adjoining neighbor Winston never fails to impress us with the growing importance of that place. New and tasty buildings have been erected in 1851 and others are in progress."
In 1873, the railroad arrived, connecting Winston and Salem with the rail hub of Greensboro. By the late 1870s, Richard Joshua Reynolds had arrived from Virginia and established his tobacco factory. In 1889, the Roanoke and Southern Railroad connected the towns with Virginia's important tobacco trading points. Throughout the late 1800s, tobacco and textile manufacturing companies were being established in Winston setting the scene for significant population and economic gains.
These two towns, one industrial and secular and one with a strong religious heritage, existed side-by-side, with two separate governments for sixty-four years, but while Winston boomed with industry, Salem waned. By the turn of the twentieth century, Salem had to fight just to keep its name on the post office. Although merger of the two towns was proposed in the 1870s, it was 1913 before the towns were unified.
The Reservation and Salem's Waterworks, 1778 to 1903
The siting of Salem was directly related to the topography and available water supply. In Bishop Spangenberg's 1752 description of the Wachovia tract he noted that "water can be led to other pieces" of the property. Two years after clearing for Salem had started, Frederic William Marshall, Oeconomus, or superintendent of all Wachovia's temporal affairs, reported on locating the town's square: "We measured the fall of nearer and more distant springs, from which we hope to obtain a sufficient and constant supply of water for the town, and as we find that it will not be possible to run it to the entire Square and main buildings as at present intended we are considering moving the Square several building lots lower, where the ground is more level, and the plans would not have to be otherwise changed."
His comments illustrate that the laying out of Salem was a process completely intertwined with the available water supply.
Although a water system had been planned for Salem since the town's founding, war and the struggles of establishing a town in the rugged back country made the work slow, and it was 1778 before the waterworks were completed. Wrote one Moravian observer, "Among the many material mercies we have received we particularly mention that early in this year, after several years of longing and preparation...water was brought from a spring north-west of our town...Now in five places in the town water runs from a pipe for drinking and other necessary purposes.
The waterworks consisted of bored logs joined by iron collars which carried spring water to several public water stands around the town and to all the principal buildings. It was the first public waterworks system in the southeast, and was admired in 1791 by the visiting President of the United States, George Washington.
The springs themselves were located on what came to be called the Reservation, north of Salem's boundary, which is the heart of the present-day Holly Avenue Historic District. It is unclear when the area was officially denoted as the Reservation, but as early as 1820, the brethren may have planted trees on the property as an intentional watershed protection measure. It is possible that the area was formally protected and named between 1849, when Winston was created east of the area and 1856, when Salem created official city limits. Between those two dates, Winston expanded so that the Reservation fell within its bounds. The earliest known, official reference to the land being titled the Reservation is an 1876 map of Salem and Winston, drawn by E.A. Vogler.
This initial water system served Salem until 1828 when a second spring-fed system was brought on-line, while the Reservation was retained as a secondary source. The area referred to as the Reservation continued to be undeveloped, with the exception of its northern edge, until its subdivision in 1903, even though it was only used as a back-up water source and occasionally as a water source for the Salem Manufacturing Company.
Beyond the Reservation: Winston-Salem's Industry and Neighborhoods
Protection of the Reservation by the Moravians and the town of Salem created a large tract of undeveloped land in the western section of downtown Winston roughly bounded by present-day Spring, First, Poplar, Spruce, and Fourth streets. By 1900, this wooded tract was surrounded by development fueled by the astounding growth of the tobacco and textile industries. Also contributing were the railroads, banking, and other service industries that supported manufacturing.
The connection of Winston and Salem to Greensboro with a rail line in 1873 spurred fifty years of unprecedented growth. In 1870, Salem's population was 905 and Winston was home to just 443. In the next ten years, Winston's population grew 544 percent, so that by 1880, Winston's population was up to 2,854 while Salem's was 1,340. This gap widened, and in 1910, there were 17,167 people in Winston and only 5,533 in Salem. Between 1910 and 1920, Winston-Salem's population more than doubled, making it the state's most populous city. In the fifty years following the arrival of the railroad, the city grew 1,500 percent.
These new citizens were coming to Winston seeking employment in the tobacco and textile factories and the Nissen and Spaugh wagon works. By 1906, "Winston's factories led the state by turning out $11.3 million in products, a 132 percent increase in just six years." These industries also made the county one of the richest in the state. In 1927, Forsyth County led the state in total assessed valuation of property with almost $200 million worth. It retained this ranking until 1949.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was incorporated in 1890. By 1897, thirty-nine tobacco companies were in business, though by 1909, consolidation left only two. Before selling to R.J. Reynolds in 1900, P.H. Hanes and Company was Winston's largest tobacco factory and the largest employer with 600 workers. Their sell-out made R.J. Reynolds the town's top tobacco company and left the Hanes Brothers with money to start textile mills, one of which was the forerunner of Hanes Hosiery.
In 1913, R.J. Reynolds introduced Camel cigarettes and began importing enough Turkish tobacco and French cigarette paper that Winston-Salem was made a port of entry by the U.S. Customs Service. Even though the city was over two hundred miles from the coast, it was, by 1916, the eighth largest port of entry in the country. By 1930, Winston-Salem was producing more tobacco products than any other city in the world. The city also led the country in the production of men's knit underwear and the South in the production of knit fabrics, woolen goods, and wagons. In 1940, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Hanes Hosiery, and P.H. Hanes Knitting Company employed sixty percent of the city's workforce. With R.J. Reynolds being located on the east side of downtown and the Hanes factories also located downtown, the Holly Avenue neighborhood was home to many of these companies' employees.
Prior to 1890, Winston's residents had to live within walking distance of their jobs, shops, and social activities, but on July 17 of that year, the city's first streetcars began operation. As of 1907, lines ran from the county courthouse north along Liberty Street to the Piedmont Fair Grounds, south on Main Street to Nissen Park, east along Third to City Hospital, and west on Fourth to West End, the city's first suburb.
The two most prominent streetcar neighborhoods in Winston and Salem were West End (National Register, 1986), laid out west of the Holly Avenue neighborhood in 1890 as a resort development around the Zinzendorf Hotel, and Washington Park (National Register, 1992), platted in 1891 and located south of the Holly Avenue area, beyond the town of Salem. Streetcars served both and both utilized curvilinear streets to take advantage of the rolling, and sometimes steep, topography. East of downtown, an African-American neighborhood, Columbia Heights, developed around the industrial school that would become Winston-Salem State University.
Despite the creation of these early suburbs, for Winston's most important citizens, the most fashionable addresses were downtown along Cherry Street and on West Fifth Street between Marshall and Broad streets. As early as the 1870s, Winston's industrial capitalists constructed stately homes along Cherry, many of which were replaced by even grander homes around the turn of the century. Fifth Street was known in the 1890s as "Millionaire's Row" and was home to leaders such as Bowman Gray, W.N. and R.J. Reynolds, R.E. Lassiter, and others.
Simultaneously, tenements housed workers close to factories, and small cottages around both Winston and Salem housed other factory employees, domestics, and other members of the working class. Prior to 1890 and before enactment of Winston-Salem's 1912 ordinance forbidding blacks and whites to live on the same street, races and classes lived within close proximity of each another. The tobacco, bank, or textile executive, his servants, and his black and white employees all lived close together in order to walk to their places of work.
Within the Holly Avenue neighborhood, prior to 1908, both white and African American workers occupied the small homes on South Poplar Street, in north Salem. These residents worked for the railroad and local factories and lived in hall and parlor and saddlebag houses with little or no regard for race. By 1908, the African American residents had been pushed out, and all the cottages were replaced in the 1910s and 1920s with modest bungalows and duplexes whose residents were white. The African Americans who left South Poplar Street apparently moved to nearby streets, such as Shallowford Road (Brookstown Avenue). Only the Henry Case House (c.1885) at 133 South Poplar Street is extant from this integrated period. None of the houses occupied by African Americans are standing.
Prior to 1903, the rapid development of Winston-Salem's industry and neighborhoods occurred around the Reservation, leaving a tract of steep, open land in the heart of the city. By the turn of the twentieth century, the Reservation was bordered by Winston's most elite addresses to the north and east, one of its most desirable neighborhoods to the west, and the cottages of north Salem's working class, to the south. In 1903, with other; better, water sources successfully operating, the Brethren finally felt safe in subdividing the land they had guarded since their arrival.
Development of the Reservation and the Holly Avenue Neighborhood
Before 1903, some modest development on the Reservation had occurred. On the 1876 E.A. Vogler map, the bounds of the Reservation ran behind the properties which face West Fourth Street between Spruce and Broad streets, and then along the western edge of Spruce Street to First Street, along First and then north along Spring Street back to Fourth Street. By 1891, the northern edge of the Reservation had been pushed south to the point where Holly Avenue would be extended across to Spring Street. Further development may have occurred by 1903 since, according to the plat, the bounds of the Reservation had been pushed southwest so that the "Plat of the Reservation" illustrated the division of land bordered by First, Poplar, and Spring streets, Holly Avenue, and the Calvary Moravian Church property on the northeast corner of the Reservation.
The only building on the Reservation as it appeared in 1891, was Calvary Moravian Church, which had been constructed in 1888 by Salem's Moravians to serve Winston's population. The church stood, as does its 1923 successor, at the corner of Poplar Street and Holly Avenue, on the northeast corner of the Reservation. Besides the church, brick townhouses constructed in 1904 on the corner of Spring Street and Holly Avenue constitute one of the oldest buildings on the Reservation. By 1900, scattered residential development consisting of gabled ell cottages and I-houses was located on the immediate periphery of the Reservation. These houses were considerably smaller and simpler than their neighbors to the north, east, and west. Most of these homes were located on South Spruce, Marshall, and South Poplar streets, with a few on the north side of Holly Avenue and a few on Spring Street. Other streets, beyond the Reservation's edges but adjacent to the Holly Avenue Historic District were well developed by 1903.
By the mid-1910s, West End and Washington Park were filling up with the homes of upper-middle and upper class residents. In 1914, R.J. Reynolds and his wife, Katherine, completed construction of their country estate, Reynolda, several miles from downtown. Following this pattern, the suburbs of Buena Vista and West Highlands were being platted by the late 1910s. These two suburbs would become home to Winston-Salem's most wealthy citizens who desired their own "country homes," for which there was not space in West End or Washington Park. Also in the mid-1910s, the Ardmore subdivision, southwest of West End, began attracting middle-class car owners who built bungalows on modest lots.
With such emphasis on suburban development, it is unusual that downtown would remain attractive for residential purposes. Homes were eventually built on all the Reservation's lots subdivided in 1903 while older homes south of First Street were torn down to make way for bungalows and somewhat larger houses. Homes in the Holly Avenue Neighborhood are smaller than those found in West End, and accordingly, occupants were less affluent, but the mix of late nineteenth century, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman styles and the terrain of the area, link it closely with West End. The Holly Avenue Historic District, however, was not a suburb but a residential section of downtown Winston-Salem created by working class residents at a time when many whites with moderate incomes were moving into the suburbs.
Although most residents of the Holly Avenue Historic District were members of the working class, the area did have its wealthier citizens. Generally, these residents lived north of First Street, in Winston. South of First Street, in Salem, houses were noticeably smaller and were often used as rental property.
Among the most prosperous residents were Henry H. Kapp, a physician at 642 Holly Avenue; Henry W. Foltz who lived at 622 West Second Street and was a banker, real estate investor, and strong supporter of Calvary Moravian Church and the Wachovia Historical Society; and James N. Weeks, the secretary-treasurer of Hanes Hosiery Mill who lived at 409 West First Street. Irvin McIver lived at 412 West First Street and was a carpenter and contractor who may have been involved in the construction of some of the district's buildings. Peter Blum built his house at 111 North Poplar Street in 1902. Blum was a tinsmith well known in Winston-Salem both for his skills and for his role in preserving the craft by working at Old Salem, Inc. when it opened as a museum in the 1950s. Other residents were a mix of upper management, factory workers, grocers, bookkeepers, railroad employees, tradesmen, salesmen, and clerks.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Holly Avenue residents maintained gardens and orchards and kept goats, sheep, and chickens. Residents hunted and trapped rabbits and squirrels in a wooded area west of Brookstown Avenue. Children played in the numerous creeks that are now hidden by culverts and attended West End Graded School, Wiley School, and Reynolds High School.
Neighborhood stores were located at First and Spruce streets and on South Poplar Street. The store on First Street has been lost, but the extant T.R. Brann Grocery Store at 106 South Poplar Street was a popular gathering place. The Branns grew some of the store's produce, and the store was especially known for its strawberries raised by Mrs. Brann. Clodfelter Roofing on Brookstown Avenue was another local business whose owner lived in the neighborhood. Supplies for the roofing company arrived by rail and were picked up from the rail spur behind Arista Mills on Brookstown Avenue. Goods sold at Brann's store probably also arrived this way.
Based on the city directories and Sanborn maps from the time period, it appears that the Holly Avenue neighborhood continued to be the scene of residential construction throughout the 1920s. Residents continued to be white, working class citizens.
Holly Avenue Neighborhood Since 1930
Since the 1930s, the Holly Avenue neighborhood has been the scene of increased commercial encroachment particularly along Marshall and Broad streets, and has experienced an increase in the number of rental units, as apartment buildings were constructed and older houses divided into several units. Although duplexes had been a component of the traditional housing stock in the neighborhood since the 1910s and 1920s, the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s saw the construction of several larger apartment buildings. One such building was the 1930 three-story Wachovia Apartments located at 100 South Spruce Street at its intersection with First Street.
In the early 1950s, south of the Holly Avenue Historic District, construction began on the East-West Expressway, now known as Business Interstate-40. The first section of the highway was completed in 1958, bisecting the city. In the Holly Avenue neighborhood, Spruce and Poplar streets became dead-end streets, effectively ending the historic connection of the neighborhood with Salem to the south and the industries of northern Salem. Longtime neighborhood residents, Robert Brann and Jake Clodfelter did not recall out-spoken objection to the highway, but both men and their families went to court to recoup some of lost value of their properties. The Clodfelter home and several rental properties owned by that family are located on South Poplar Street, very close to the interstate while Brann's childhood home, in which he, his mother, and his sister were living at the time, was torn down to make way for the highway.
Brann constructed a Ranch house in 1952 at 115 Shady Boulevard and moved his family there. Both Brann and Clodfelter recall that Brann was an exception; most people displaced by the interstate moved farther away. One family moved to Davidson County. Others moved to Ardmore and Washington Park. Today, peach trees and other domestic plants occasionally gain a foothold on the interstate embankment between Poplar Street and Brookstown Avenue.
The new interstate and suburbanization had an impact on the community. By the middle of the twentieth century, property owners began leaving, either selling or renting their homes, creating a neighborhood with a transient population, absentee landlords, and a crime problem. Although Calvary Moravian Church continues to be the steadfast neighborhood intuition it has always been, in 1958, it declared that "the Holly Avenue neighborhood was no longer appropriate for a parsonage." The church moved its pastor's home to Country Club Road, illustrating the movement of many of the area's long-time residents to other parts of the city.
In the mid-twentieth century, downtown lost its luster as a prestigious shopping and residential district, and thus, the other remaining vestiges of downtown neighborhoods began to be eroded. "Millionaire's Row" on Fifth Street was slowly destroyed to make way for parking lots, a county library, and automobile service stations. The grand homes on Cherry Street were torn down or renovated for use as office space.
Today, the Holly Avenue Historic District represents Winston-Salem's last intact downtown neighborhood with many of its homes extant and used for residential purposes. Homeowners are returning to the area and many rental properties are being renovated and rehabilitated as downtown living is becoming more desirable. In March 2000, a collapsed storm drain created a sinkhole behind 649 West Second Street. Although no above ground evidence resources associated with Salem's first water system, this sinkhole made visible a portion of a wall constructed in two parts, the earlier of which may be related to the original Salem waterworks of 1778. Unfortunately, the drainage problem that created the sinkhole subsequently caused the building at 649 West Second Street to become unsafe, leading to its demolition. The find, however, has sparked interest in the earlier history of the district, and brought positive attention to the neighborhood and its viability as a residential community. The archaeological feature was buried with clean fill so that an in-depth study of the site can be undertaken in the future. It is expected that a full excavation will yield more information about Salem's water system.
The current population of recent and long-time residents represents a wide range of renters, property owners, races, and economic classes. In effect, the balance of the neighborhood's population has returned to what it was in the early 1900s when white and African American factory workers, physicians, grocers, and even a Hanes Hosiery executive, lived side-by-side.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, America was in the midst of an industrial revolution. Technological advances were allowing goods to be produced rapidly and cheaply while railroads were making the transport of these products, as well as people, relatively easy and inexpensive. Construction methods were also evolving. Balloon framing and other light framing techniques allowed for the easy creation of houses with irregular footprints, overhangs, and complex roofs. Houses were no longer confined to rectangles or squares. Factories were able to mass-produce pressed brick, cut stone, plate glass, and cast iron. Sawmills were creating spindles, posts, brackets, bargeboards, decorative shingles, window sash, and doors in innumerable designs and patterns, and cheap nails made it even easier for the country's prosperity and boundless energy to be expressed through the application of these exuberant and eclectic decorations and materials.
It was in this atmosphere that the Queen Anne style emerged. Popular from coast to coast, Queen Anne featured asymmetrical facades and irregular footprints. High-style examples are usually two-stories in height. Complex roofs feature hips, gables, and turrets. Porches create outdoor living spaces and often wrap around one or more corners of the house. Balconies are often integrated into the design. Round, square, or polygonal towers are sometimes located on the corners of Queen Anne buildings. Decorative shingles, stucco, headboard, and German siding are often used together to create rich wall surfaces. Windows, sometimes incorporating stained glass are irregularly spaced while small, round or diamond-shaped windows are sometimes utilized. Even chimneys are decorated with corbelling and banding while pressed metal shingles add more pattern and texture.
Developing concurrently with the Queen Anne style was the Colonial Revival style. The country's 1876 Centennial sparked a new interest in American history, and in historic architecture. Following the Centennial, and through the 1880s, the well-known architects, McKim, Mead, White, and Bigelow, began studying Colonial American architecture and incorporating those traditions into their work. Most early Colonial Revival designs were not accurate reproductions of Colonial homes; rather Palladian windows, friezes, classical columns, pilasters, and fanlights were applied to designs that were often more Queen Anne in style. As information concerning America's earliest homes was disseminated through books and popular magazines, buildings began to be more "academically correct" in their interpretation of Colonial, Federal, and even Greek Revival architecture. By the 1920s, most Colonial Revival homes, though more accurate in their replication than their predecessors, could be easily distinguished from their prototypes. Some, however, with the exception of their suburban locations, could easily be mistaken for the real thing.
A third nationally popular style emerged in the 1910s and 1920s as well. Inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement, the work of Gustav Stickley, and the work of Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene in California, and a desire to produce a smaller-scale home less fussy than Queen Anne dwellings and less formal than Colonial Revival designs, Craftsman Bungalows began to proliferate. The style sought to exhibit the craftsmanship of the building's construction by leaving raftertails and roof beams exposed. Knee braces were also used to reinforce the notion of exposed structure. Multi-pane sash were hung above single-light sash. Deep porches were supported by thick square or round columns or by square, round, or battered posts on piers clad in stone, stucco, weatherboard, or brick. Plans for Craftsman homes were sold in magazines and publications that were distributed nationwide. Although not restricted to smaller homes, the style was most often applied to bungalows that the common man could afford.
During this time period, essentially from the late 1800s through the 1920s, these styles were being constructed at a rapid pace in the new subdivisions of Winston and Salem. In the late 1800s, builders in Winston and Salem were working to keep up with the demand for new housing as industry in the towns, in Winston in particular, boomed. Contractor Henry McIver averaged the completion of one house every two weeks in 1885, and by the 1890s, seven development companies were operating in the towns, whose combined populations totaled less than twenty thousand. In 1902, Salem's Bishop Rondthaler reported the construction of "a number of nice residences, a large number of medium dwellings and tenements besides some business houses." Most of this construction was being executed in Queen Anne, Italianate, and early Colonial Revival styles.
Two large subdivisions were opened during this time period in Winston and Salem. West End, located on a hilly tract west of the Holly Avenue Historic District, was marketed towards Winston's wealthier residents. Homes were large, usually two-story Queen Anne and early Colonial Revival structures set along winding streets on narrow lots. Tall retaining walls across the front of lots and the siting homes atop hills created imposing facades equal to the owners' status. Development continued into the 1920s with the construction of Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes on a scale that reflected the affluence of the neighborhood.
Washington Park, south of Salem, was laid out at around the same time as West End, but its actual development started slightly later. Cascade Avenue, the subdivision's most prestigious street, was lined with mansions executed in various modes of the Colonial Revival style, including Georgian Revival and Dutch Colonial Revival. Tudor Revival was also a popular style. Washington Park's heyday continued throughout the 1920s, when the Craftsman style joined the ranks of the revivals. Like West End, Washington Park became the home of some of Winston and Salem's most prominent citizens.
Ardmore, a sprawling development of Craftsman Bungalows south and west of downtown Winston-Salem, was laid out in the 1910s and developed primarily in the 1920s. Houses here are generally one-story in height and are either Craftsman Bungalows or Period Cottages, although a few small Colonial Revival houses can be found. Without access to a streetcar line, Ardmore catered to middle class, working, car-owners.
North and west of downtown Winston-Salem are Buena Vista and West Highlands. These subdivisions were platted in the late 1910s and, like Ardmore, developed mostly in the 1920s. It was here that Winston-Salem's wealthiest citizens moved when West End and Washington Park began to lose some of their attraction. Mansions and stately homes are setback on deep lots and are usually accompanied by a multi-car garage. Winston-Salem's grandest Colonial Revival homes, many designed by Charles Barton Keen and some of the city's best architects, are to be found on these tree-lined streets.
While these subdivisions were being opened up, the Holly Avenue Historic District was also experiencing the height of its construction. Holly Avenue exhibits a wide range of late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century styles, beginning with the Italianate Henry Case House from c.1885. The Case House features bracketed eaves, window hoods, and a porch with turned posts, brackets, and a turned balustrade. Less decorative is the James Jessup House (c.1889), an I-house with minimal Italianate references. The Charles C. Vaughn House (c.1891) and the W. A. Walker House (c.1893) are two sophisticated, Queen Anne dwellings that feature irregular footprints, a variety of wall materials, and various projections and bays.
More homes were constructed in the early 1900s, and thus are a mix of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. Around 1900, George and Laura Roediger built an imposing, two-story, Colonial Revival and Queen Anne house with fluted columns and two polygonal bays on Spring Street. Another example is the 1906 Henry W. Foltz House, an asymmetrical cottage with decorative shingles, a pedimented dormer, and Tuscan columns on the wrap-around porch.
In the 1910s, plain I-houses and gabled ell cottages were decorated with sawnwork, brackets, and turned porch posts. The John W. Peddycord House at 516 West First Street has knee braces, a sawnwork porch balustrade, and a central roof gable. The c.1911 Thomas B. and Rosa Powell House (120 Spring Street) is a gabled ell cottage with a partial-width, hip roof porch with turned posts, a turned balustrade, and sawnwork brackets.
As Winston-Salem's prosperity continued in the 1920s, bungalows were constructed in the Holly Avenue neighborhood. The Clyde and Annie Rich House (523 West First Street) was constructed around 1924 and features knee braces, battered porch posts on brick piers, and windows with multi-light sash hung over single-light sash. The James and Burnice McIver House at 111 South Spruce Street is a one-and-a-half story bungalow with a large, shingled, shed dormer, arched kneebraces, and paired porch posts on brick piers.
Multifamily housing has been part of the neighborhood's history from its earliest days. One of the first buildings built on the Reservation was a complex of four brick townhouses on Spring Street, but the majority of the neighborhood's apartment buildings date from the 1910s and 1920s, incorporating Craftsman and Colonial Revival elements. An apartment building at 658-664 West Second Street dates from 1914 and has a full-width, engaged, double tier, front porch, exposed raftertails, and eight-over-one and nine-over-one windows. The "Forsyth Apartments, built at 649 West Second Street around 1922, are two-stories with pedimented, double tier porches, bracketed eaves, and a stuccoed exterior. Apartment building continued to be built throughout the period of significance. The largest building is the Wachovia Apartments at 100 South Spruce Street. The Wachovia is a three-story brick building with Art Moderne design influences. Several buildings were constructed in the 1940s and early 1950s and are usually Minimal Traditional in style.
While Winston-Salem's other contemporaneous neighborhoods were somewhat homogenous, comprised of houses executed in only a few architectural styles with residents of similar backgrounds, homes in a wide range of styles and scales were constructed in the Holly Avenue neighborhood. Also unique among some of the city's other neighborhoods was the incorporation of corner stores and multi-family housing. Both doctors and factory workers lived in the Holly Avenue neighborhood, and the housing stock reflects this diversity.
Brann, T. Robert and Nancy. Interview by the author, 3 March 2001.
Clodfelter, Jake. Interview by the author, 27 March 2001.
Fries, Adelaide, ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Vols. 1-7. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Printing Company, 1925- 1947.
Fries, Adelaide, Stuart Thurman Wright, and J. Edwin Hendricks. Forsyth: The History of a County on the March. Revised ed. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1976.
Hartley, Michael O. and Martha B. "Examination of Stone Wall, 649 W. Second Street" (photocopy, 2000). Old Salem, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC.
Hartley, Michael O. and Martha B. Narrative Interview by the author, 30 January 2001.
Historic Monograph Committee, eds, Winston-Salem in History. Vol. 1, The Founders, by Manly Wade Wellman. Winston-Salem; Historic Winston, 1976.
Historic Monograph Committee, eds, Winston-Salem in History. Vol. 6, Government, by Larry Edward Tise. Winston-Salem; Historic Winston, 1976.
Neilson, Robert W. "The Story of the Water Supply Systems in the Town of Salem, NC: 1778- 1913" (photocopy). Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem, NC.
Oppermann, Langdon Edmunds. "Washington Park Historic District National Register Nomination" (photocopy, 1991). North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, NC.
Oppermann, Langdon Edmunds. "Winston-Salem's African American Neighborhoods: 1870- 1950," preliminary planning report prepared for the Forsyth County Joint Historic Properties Commission, 1993.
Phillips, Laura A. "Agnew Hunter Bahnson House National Register Nomination" (photocopy, 2000). North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, NC.
Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1890, 1895, 1900, 1907, 1912, 1917, and 1949.
Taylor, Gwynne Stephens. From Frontier to Factory: An Architectural History of Forsyth County. Winston-Salem: City-County Planning Board of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, 1982.
Tursi, Frank V. Winston-Salem, A History. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1994.
Winston-Salem City Directories, 1891-1985.
‡ Sarah Woodward, David E. Call, AIA, Architect, Holly Avenue Historic District, Forsyth County, NC, nomination document, 2001, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
1st Street West • 2nd Street West • Broad Street • Brookstown Avenue • Holly Avenue • Marshall Street South • Poplar Street North • Poplar Street South • Shady Boulevard • Shallowford Street • Spring Street • Spruce Street North • Spruce Street South