Washington Park NR Historic District Walking Tour

Follow us through time as we explore the Washington Park NR District

Washington Park NR Historic District Walking Tour

Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27127, United States

Created By: Preservation Forsyth

Tour Information

In 1791, George Washington travelled north from Salisbury to Salem through what would become, over a century later, a planned suburb and a dedicated greenspace aptly named Washington Park. Once a hilly hunting ground for the Moravian settlers of Salem, Washington Park is now a quiet, tree-shaded neighborhood with broad lawns and a wide variety of architectural styles. It is significant in the history of Winston-Salem as one of the early residential suburbs developed as a result of the streetcar, reflecting the city's evolution from a small business center to one of the leading manufacturing centers of the South, and contains the residences of many of Winston and Salem's most prominent leaders from that period.

Located on steep lands at the crest of a ridge overlooking Salem Creek to the north, the Washington Park neighborhood was approximately one-half mile south of the early Moravian community of Salem (1766) and one and one-half miles south of the central business district of Winston. Initially consisting of a limited number of rural farmhouses on large tracts and uninhabited wooded land on the steep hills, the neighborhood was subdivided into smaller parcels, with multi-acre parcels assembled by the wealthy.

In 1870 Winston was still a small town with a village atmosphere, having been established less than twenty years earlier in 1851. Its population was 473, but just ten years later its population had multiplied to 2,854 and then almost quadrupled by 1890. This rapid growth was driven partly by the establishment of the railroad, but also by the optimism of energetic entrepreneurs who built early factories and warehouses. Winston's boom gained speed in the 1880s when the burgeoning tobacco and textile industries spawned numerous new residential areas. The first suburb, West End, was developed in the 1890s, quickly becoming the neighborhood of choice for prominent families. The plan for its development was designed by Jacob Lott Ludlow who also drew the Washington Park/Sunny Side neighborhood plat.

[Ludlow came to Winston-Salem from his native New Jersey in 1886 and started a general civil engineering practice in municipal, sanitary and hydraulic problems. Over time, he helped design water supply and sewerage systems throughout the South. From 1889 to 1892 he served as Winston's first city engineer, and appears to have been instrumental in initiating a sewerage system and street-paving program. He received his Masters degree in civil engineering from Fayette College in Pennsylvania in 1890 while working for Winston. In that same year he was asked to draw the plan for the West End suburb, and concurrently or shortly thereafter, drew the plan for what is today Washington Park and immediately east, Sunnyside. They were developed on land that was originally part of the Good Spring Estate, and later, the Sunny Side Plantation as well.

The West End plan more closely adheres to the teachings of Frederick Law Olmsted, with a large hotel on a hill (the lost Zinzendorf Hotel) and residential lots along curvilinear streets, interspersed with small parks. The curvilinear pattern used there was a major departure from the grid patterns of Winston and Salem. Ludlow's plan for Washington Park, however, contained the more customary grid pattern in the center moving west into curvilinear streets which heeded the topography of the ridge overlooking the floodplain of Salem Creek.]

Ludlow's plat gave no name to the area, but was titled "Plat of the property of the Winston-Salem Land & Investment Company (WSL&I) situated at Winston-Salem, NC, as developed by J. L. Ludlow C.E., Winston, NC." It is generally accepted that Washington Park was named in honor of President George Washington, who passed through the area on his way to Salem on May 31, 1791. His route from the south brought him along Old Lexington Road, today's Rawson Street within the Washington Park historic district.

The neighborhood and others nearby, however, were as a group simply called Southside for many years, apparently from the area’s earliest development. City directories use 'Southside' or 'S'Side' to identify the location of streets in Washington Park, Sunnyside, and elsewhere in the city's southern sector. The Sanborn Map Company's index maps of 1895 and 1900 provide no name for the neighborhood, but show the area with 'Winston-Salem Land & Inv. Co.' written across it. Real estate auctions in 1911 also advertised the area as Southside.

And the park itself has not always been called Washington Park, in fact, Ludlow's plan shows the name "Sunny Side Park" in the ravine. (Adalaide Fries notes in her history of the county that the name Sunnyside was derived from a plantation owned by Elias A. Vogler, sited where today’s Sunnyside neighborhood exists.) Over several decades, the name of the actual park morphed from Sunny Side to Washington Park to Southside Park, finally swinging back around to Washington Park. That was solidified in 1928 when the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented the stone gateway at the foot of Gloria Avenue with the name Washington Park in an iron arch above.

Like the West End neighborhood, the development of Washington Park followed Ludlow's plat with remarkable loyalty. A comparison of Ludlow's plat with the map on the title page to the 1895 Sanborn Insurance Maps shows few differences. By 1912 Wachovia Creek had been renamed Salem Creek. By 1917 the neighborhood was sufficiently developed to warrant inclusion of parts of eighteen blocks in detailed enlargements showing the residential development which had taken place in the area. (It’s important to note that the original plat included what is today both the Sunnyside historic district to the east with its rectangular grid pattern and the Washington Park historic district which incorporates a grid pattern along with the curvilinear streets surrounding the v-shaped park.)

In mid-July of 1890 Winston-Salem's streetcar began to run regularly. The streetcar lines eventually ran south on Main Street to Cascade, where a branch turned to the west on Cascade Avenue and traveled all the way to the park. (The car then reversed back to Main Street, turned onto Sprague Street and continued through the adjoining Sunnyside neighborhood to Nissen Park, since demolished). The streetcar was the major means of transportation; hence property along or near the line was more expensive and fashionable. (Nothing on Ludlow's plat identifies Cascade Avenue as the choice street in the suburb; its lot sizes and layout are similar to those of other streets. The only difference is the checkered line labeled “Winston-Salem Electric Railway.")

[In January 1891 the Electric Company and the Street Railway Company were consolidated under the name of Winston-Salem Railway and Electric Company, and on March 11, 1899, the Winston-Salem Street Railway Company was incorporated. The streetcar system was purchased from Henry Fries in 1913 by Southern Public Utilities Company (SPU), which was later acquired by Duke Power Company.]

On October 16, 1890, just three months after the opening of the streetcars, the Winston-Salem Land & Investment Co. was incorporated. Among the fourteen “incorporators” were Henry E. Fries, A. H. Eller and Henry Bahnson. Two and a half weeks later, on November 3, 1890, the next listing in the deed book is the Winston Development Company. These companies were followed by others which invested in the Washington Park neighborhood including: the Inside Land Co. (1894); the Inside Land and Improvement Co. (1904); and the Southside Land and Investment Company (1901).

Individuals were also actively engaged in real estate during these years of rapid expansion. The Fogle family alone has twenty pages in the Grantor Index from 1849 to 1927, with each line representing a transaction. The Fogles sold a number of parcels here in the 1890s to purchasers that included Southside Land & Investment Co.; Winston-Salem Land &Investment Co.; Inside Land Co.; Winston Development Co.; and individuals.

The developers of Washington Park were among the local entrepreneurs who became wealthy during this period, and much of that wealth was poured into large and grand houses. In fact, Winston-Salem has had three areas known as Millionaire's Row. The first, during the 1880s and 1890s, was Fifth Street in Winston, later replaced by the West End suburb. Ultimately the title passed during the 1910s and 1920s to Cascade Avenue here in Washington Park.

Many prominent families opted to move to Washington Park from Salem, central Winston, and the West End neighborhood and as a result, large parcels on the south side of Cascade Avenue (which continue through the block to Banner Avenue) contain some of the city's largest and most architecturally developed pre-World-War II houses. Buyers would simply purchase several lots, combining them into an individually created parcel. Therefore, houses built on the first three blocks of Cascade have much larger lots (and larger houses) than elsewhere in the district.

Among the wealthy residents of Washington Park were Henry E. Fries (104 Cascade Avenue), president of the Arista Cotton Mill, the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad, the Fries Manufacturing and Power Company, Forsyth Manufacturing Company located in Sunnyside. and mayor of Salem. In 1884 he was the moving spirit behind the NC Industrial Exposition in Raleigh, and in 1885 he organized and served as president of Southside Cotton Mills. He was also a member of the three-man committee that helped plan the NC College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now NCSU) and for 53 years was a trustee of what is now Winston-Salem State University. (https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/fries-henry-elias)

Another significant resident was Burton Craige at 134 Cascade Avenue. On January 3, 1911, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Burton Craige of Salisbury had been appointed counsel for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The paper noted that “in the profession he is looked upon as one of the leading lawyers in the state ... Mr. Craige considers Winston-Salem the best city in the state, and this he says was the chief inducement that determined him in making this his home for the future.”

Also living on Cascade was Frederic Fries Bahnson, one of the founders of the Normalair Company which produced a centrifugal humidifier," and a number of prominent businessmen and attorneys. Dominating a hill to the west is the house built at 514 Banner Avenue (1896-1899) for Christian Henry Fogle as a small cattle farm. Barbed wire still fenced the land when it was sold for development in the 1950s. Fogle, with his brother Charles Alexander, had founded Fogle Brothers Lumber Co. which built many of the buildings generated by Winston-Salem's real estate boom.

Several builders lived in Washington Park and developed lots there, including Stamey C. Ripple, who was not only a contractor but owned a real estate agency, and a number of houses in the neighborhood. Others were L. C. Kimel and M. C. Hodgins, a contractor for quite a few houses in the neighborhood. William F. Miller, vice-president of Fogle Brothers Lumber Company, built speculative houses near his own on Park Boulevard, some with his architect son. From the records, it seems clear that several real estate companies operating in Washington Park had their own contracting firms.

The development of Washington Park was aimed at a white, middle- to upper-middle class clientele. Only Rawson Street and the 100 block of Acadia appear to have been black. The houses in these areas were working-class dwellings which housed tobacco and furniture workers as well as those who worked as maids, cooks, chauffeurs and gardeners for wealthy white families. Odell King, who lived on Rawson Street, was chauffeur and gardener to the Craiges on Cascade. Many of the black families here were related, and an impressive number owned their houses. Shelton Penn bought land on Rawson Street as early as the 1890s; his son James V. Penn built a house there by 1915, and other family members built nearby. Sadly, many of the original structures on Rawson Street have since been demolished.

ARCHITECTURAL CONTEXT

Willard C. Northup, who with Leet O'Brien formed the noted local firm of Northup & O'Brien, has been identified as the architect of five houses in Washington Park: the Horace Vance House at 100 Banner, built in 1914; the Charles Siewers House at 20 Cascade, built in 1916; the A. H. Eller House at 129 Cascade, built in 1918 to replace the Victorian house moved to 14 Park Boulevard (attributed to the firm); John L. Gilmer's house at 605 Cascade, built in 1929 to replace an earlier house destroyed by fire; and the Henry E. and Rosa Mickey Fries House at 104 Cascade Avenue. (Cicero Lowe's imposing Neoclassical Revival house at 204 Cascade, is sometimes attributed to Northup as well.)

Northup was born in Michigan, moved to Asheville as a child, then received his architectural degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Around 1906 he moved to Winston-Salem, later partnered with Leet O'Brien, and was active in the state's professional organizations. He was president of the North Carolina State Board of Architectural Examiners as well as a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He designed both commercial and residential buildings in Winston-Salem and throughout the state, and is most well known for his many Georgian Revival houses designed in the 1920s and 1930s. (https://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000213)

Luther S. Lashmit, who practiced both with Northup's firm and alone, designed the award-winning 1925 Fleshman-Graham House at 207 Cascade Avenue for the daughter of parents just next door. (Their house, the Victorian Langenour-Fleshman House, was unfortunately demolished in 1967.) He also designed a major remodelling of Burton Craige's house at 134 Cascade in 1928, transforming a mid-nineteenth century brick farmhouse into an elegant Colonial Revival style house.

Lashmit was a native of Winston-Salem, where he practiced for many decades, passing away in 1989. He studied architecture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and attended the École des Beaux-Arts Fontainebleau In France. Like Northup & O'Brien, Lashmit designed a large number of period revival residences, primarily for wealthy families. Perhaps his best known is Graylyn, the Norman Revival estate completed in 1931. The fact that he also designed the 1940 Streamline style Merry Acres for R. J. Reynolds, Jr. (demolished 1978) is a testament to his versatility. (https://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/buildings/B001945).

Several architects lived in Washington Park as well. Hall Crews grew up at 418 Acadia Avenue, graduated from Salem Boys School, studied architecture at Columbia University, and then apprenticed with a New York firm. Upon returning to Winston-Salem, he was first hired by Northup, then obtained his license in 1923 and practiced from the house at 418 Acadia for many years. (He was, in fact, the first architect to pass NC’s newly instituted licensing examination.)

Crews designed the 1926 Augsburg Lutheran Church in the West End neighborhood, and the Streamline style 1947 Modern Chevrolet dealership (demolished). He is said to have designed the 1920 Schlatter Memorial Church, a Gothic Revival style brick building at 236 Banner Avenue, however, this would have been before he became a registered architect.

Harold Macklin was a popular local architect who lived first on Gloria, then in a bungalow at 330 Vintage Avenue; no buildings in the district have been identified as Macklin designs. J. T. Levesque, office manager for C. Gilbert Humphreys (Southside Baptist Church), lived at 180 Park Boulevard. Like Macklin, Humphreys was born in England. He designed some of the grand houses for Winston-Salem's wealthy in the Stratford Road and West End areas, and it is possible that some of Cascade Avenue's large houses are his work as well. Finally, William E. Miller's son, William F. Miller, was an architect. "Big Will" was a vice-president of Fogle Brothers Lumber Company; "Little Will" and his father built several houses together on Park Boulevard.


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What You'll See on the Tour

This corner has always been a commercial area in the neighborhood. Originally, a frame store owned by C. D. Couch housed Southside Grocery on the first floor with a private school run by a Mrs. Poindexter above it. Maurice M. Brame bought t... Read more
A brick-veneer flat-roofed commercial building with large plate-glass display windows. When Conrad Stonestreet was preparing to expand his drugstore at 301 Acadia Avenue, he and cousin Ashley Stonestreet agreed that the latter would move to... Read more
A filling station with a glass-walled office and two automotive bays, set back to allow space for cars in the paved lot. Conrad Stonestreet bought this lot at auction, and demolished the house with consideration towards building a drugstore... Read more
A flat-roof brick-veneer Art Deco commercial building with large display windows in the facade, a 9-section transom above them, and soldier course lintel. On the north and west elevations, which face Acadia Avenue and Hollyrood Street, is a... Read more
A small side-gabled one-room deep frame house with rear gable ell and hipped-roof front porch supported by turned posts with spandrels and picket balustrade. It features a central door, two-over-two windows, two central interior corbelled b... Read more
A brick gable-roofed Gothic Revival style church with a three-stage crenelated entrance tower on the diagonal at the corner and parapet gables with crenelation on the gable sides. The tower features a belfry with tall louvered vents and spa... Read more
A frame weatherboarded Queen Anne style house that features a hipped roof with a gable-roofed front wing at the north end. It is three bays wide and one room deep with a two-story rear gable ell and three interior chimneys. The front projec... Read more
This large frame Queen Anne style house sits on a prominent tree-shaded hilltop facing Freeman Street. It features classical details along with decorative use of shingles between levels, and is also an interesting example of an early versio... Read more
A large frame Queen Anne style house with a projecting semi-octagonal bay and modified turret roof that includes interior chimneys with corbelling and caps. A one-story hipped-roof wrap porch is supported by classical columns (replacements)... Read more
A large side-gable brick-veneered Colonial Revival house that sits atop a hill overlooking Park Boulevard and Washington Park with a view of Winston-Salem's downtown. The symmetrical five bay structure includes two one-story side wings; one... Read more
In 1892, the Winston-Salem Land and Investment Company dedicated a 17 acre tract originally mapped as “Sunny Side Park” for use as a public recreational area. The original v-shaped area flanked a creek that ran through the development... Read more
A weatherboarded gambrel-roofed frame house with a large shed dormer in the front. The front first story features four grouped nine-over-nine windows and a small engaged shed hood over the recessed entrance porch. There is a one-story sunro... Read more
A side-gabled Craftsman bungalow with a central shed dormer; a front-width porch supported by square posts on brick piers with cast stone caps; and a picket balustrade with heavy newel and railing. The structure has an unadorned central ent... Read more
A side-gabled frame Craftsman house that includes a full-facade shed-roof porch supported by square posts on brick piers with cast stone caps. and a small projecting bay at the central entrance.There are also false knee braces and pent eave... Read more
A hipped-roof frame foursquare house with a full-facade hipped porch supported by square posts on shingled piers with a shingled balustrade, The facade features three asymmetrical bays on the first floor with two bays of paired windows on t... Read more
A brick Colonial Revival style H-shaped house that is oriented perpendicular to the street. It was built to face the home of the owner’s parents, although that Victorian style home was demolished in 1967 (by Geraldine). The main entrance ... Read more
The three houses built along this stretch of Cascade Avenue were constructed in 1985 on the site of what had been the Langenour-Fleshman House, a large Victorian demolished in 1967. Each house was sympathetically designed to blend with the ... Read more
A frame foursquare house with a deck-hip roof, and hipped central dormer on the front and both sides. The central entrance, which features a beautiful leaded glass elliptical fanlight and sidelights, sits beneath a gabled and arched portico... Read more
A large hipped-roof frame Neoclassical Revival style house, one of the only classical designs in Washington Park. The weatherboarded, two-story dwelling features a full-height central pedimented portico that rises above the projecting semic... Read more
A large wood-shingled Colonial Revival style house with one-story porches to each side, both supported by Tuscan columns: the right one topped by a pergola, the left an entrance porch featuring an elliptical fanlight and sidelights. The fir... Read more
A stuccoed "English bungalow"' attributed to architect Willard Northup that features a Ludowici green tile gambrel roof with a full-front shed dormer. The wide eaves create a “prairie style” feel. The central entrance shows off a cantil... Read more
A frame shingled house with a complex hipped roof and a front gabled, slightly projecting entrance bay that includes a massive wood single-leaf door with partial sidelights. First floor cladding is weatherboard, the second wood shingles. Th... Read more
A frame shingled house with a hipped-roof; three corbelled brick interior chimneys; and a one-bay porch with a "rainbow roof" supported by large brackets. The eastern side bay of the second floor front facade is cantilevered above paired Cr... Read more
A large hipped-roof brick Neoclassical Revival style house with a full-height gable-on-hip portico. The paired fluted Doric columns with matching pilasters shelter the double-leaf entrance which is framed by a leaded-glass fanlight and side... Read more
A two-story brick building with its original one-story brick wing, both with pencilling and both hip-roofed with cement shingles. It includes a central brick chimney, wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafter ends, and tall vertical four-o... Read more
A gable-on-hipped-roof house, stucco on frame built by the architect/owner in a design sensitive to the neighborhood. This property was formerly the gardens of the Fries House (see #104 Cascade).
A large stuccoed Tudor Revival style frame house with a one-story porch on the west wing, a porte cochère on the east wing, and a steep-gabled entrance porch. The design features typical Tudor style half-timbering and steeply pitched gable... Read more
Although many houses in the Washington Park historic district have Colonial Revival elements, the Siewers House is a fully rendered example. A large German-sided frame house with one-story side porches supported by paired Doric columns, the... Read more
A large brick asymmetrical two-story Queen Anne style house with an elaborate turned and sawnwork porch. (Originally with metal roof cresting.) A wide frieze crosses the structure below the cornice. The gable ends are frame with false half-... Read more

 

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