Explore Historic Downtown Wilson!
Wilson Visitors Center is the starting point for the Historic Walking Tour Downtown. Located in the CW Stokes House, one of Wilson’s outstanding bungalows designed by architect S.B. Moore, located in the Broad-Kenan National Register Historic District at 209 Broad Street. The 1.5 story brick house features an unusual double-clipped gable roof with an engaged front porch supported by buttressed tapers on brick plinths, heavy brackets and stuccoed gables with half-timbering. The Broad-Kenan Historic District is one of five districts in Wilson listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The remarkably cohesive late 19th-early 20th century neighborhood contains 280 properties; more than 60% are bungalows. The bungalow is open free to the public Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Handouts of the Historic Walking Tour are available at the Visitors Center.
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Passenger and Freight Station
401 East Nash Street. This Mission-style train station was completed in 1924. Architect A. M. Griffin employed an umbrella canopy with curved brackets that run the length of the station on the track side. This complex is a reminder of the important role the railroad played in the town’s development since the 1840s, and it is still in use today as Wilson’s passenger station. Completely renovated in 1998.
333 East Nash Street. In the 1920s the Hotel Cherry was the most stylish hotel in Wilson. Constructed between 1919 and 1923 by Joe W. Stout &. Co., the hotel was designed by Charles C. Benton for proprietor Rufus A. Cherry. The Hotel Cherry epitomized hotel design for the period. The Beaux Arts entrance features lion’s masks supporting the elaborate pressed metal canopy. The interior is well-appointed and quite well preserved. Step inside and ask to see the handsome ballroom. The hotel is now being used as 100 units of housing for the elderly.
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
224 East Nash Street. This imposing four story Beaux Arts post office was built in 1927 and was designed by James Wetmore of the Treasury Department staff. Stone veneer on brick, its central bay arches create a pleasing rhythm. Home of the Imagination Station Science Museum.
201 East Nash Street. This attractive Classical Revival-style building was constructed in 1920. The building’s graceful columns add a strong sense of dignity to the whole structure. City of Wilson offices are now located here.
Wilson Municipal Building
112 North Goldsboro Street. This building is probably the best example of the Art Deco style in Wilson. It was constructed in 1938 with financing obtained through the W.P.A. It was built by the Jones Brothers from Frank Benton’s design.
Arts Council of Wilson
124 East Nash Street. Located in the center of Wilson’s commercial district, this building was the original home of the Branch Bank and Trust Co. (BB&T). The oldest bank in continuous operation in North Carolina was founded by AIpheus Branch, a prominent 19th century Wilson merchant. Erected in 1903 this elegant neo-classical building retains to a high degree its architectural integrity. It is one of the most sophisticated designs of its scale and period in the state, but its architect is unknown. The bold Tuscan windows, quoined comers, and forceful entrance portico create a monumental composition. This building was the first structure in Wilson County to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1985, BB&T donated this structure to the City of Wilson. The city in turn gave the property to the Arts Council of Wilson. The Wilson Visitors Center is also located in this building.
Wilson County Courthouse
Courthouse Square. The Wilson County Courthouse is the most monumental Classical Revival structure in town. The fine classical detailing complements the proportions of the structure. Massive fluted Corinthian columns support a recessed porch. Built in 1924 by William P. Rose and designed by Fred A. Bishop, the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Edna Boykin Cultural Center
108 West Nash Street. The Edna Boykin Cultural Center was built in 1919 for Dr. L. V. Grady. This arcaded building was designed by local architect S. B. Moore. The theatre itself was originally a vaudeville house with unusually ornate details such as classical cornices, plasters and intricate circular medallions. The Hammond Gallery is accented with original elements including plasterwork and a pre-existing skylight. Open during performances and other times by appointment.
James Roundtree House
206 West Nash Street. This house is thought to have been built by James Roundtree c. 1888. The steeply pitched roof is set gable end to the street and a boldly-styled gable brace and a spire make this facade seem taller than it really is. Scalloped and square shingles are used to enrich the texture of the exterior walls, and the generous use of stained glass adds jewel-like tones to the composition. Handsome porches grace the front facade and side wing; elaborately scrolled brackets, turned spindle work, columns and latticed balustrade are prominent features.
Wilson County Public Library
249 West Nash Street. Constructed in 1939, and designed by Frank W. Benton, the Wilson County Public Library is one of the most imposing Colonial Revival buildings in Wilson. As one of the biggest Works Progress Administration projects in Wilson County, it was intended to stimulate the post-Depression economy. Open Monday – Saturday.
J. R. Boykin-Daywood Edmundson House
304 West Nash Street. Constructed c. 1897 for J. R. Boykin, this house soon passed into the hands of prominent farmer Haywood Edmundson. Representative of the early Colonial Revival-style houses built in Wilson at this time, this building has been sympathetically adapted for use as lawyers’ offices.
B. L. Jordan House
406 West Nash Street. This charming Queen Anne-style cottage was constructed in the 1880s for E. L. Jordan. Although the Jordan House is small, its rich sawn and carved details with the polygonal pavilion and handsome three-sided bay window make it an outstanding example of late Victorian architecture in Wilson and presently is used as a frame shop.
James Davis House
600 West Nash Street. James Davis bought the land upon which this house stands in 1858, and the house was built shortly thereafter. In the 1870s a second story was added. In 1872 H. G. Whitehead bought the house and is credited with the remodeling of the house in the Italianate style which includes carved brackets, a latticed balustrade, and exquisitely detailed window surrounds. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Judge D. G. Connor House
109 Gray Street. This house was completed by Judge Connor in 1907. One of Wilson’s outstanding judges, Connor represented this district in the State Senate in 1885 and served in the House of Representatives from 1889 to 1901, acting as Speaker of the House in 1889. In 1893 he was elected president of Branch Banking & Trust Company. In 1902 he was elected an associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and from that office he was elevated by President Taft to the U.S. District Court in 1909 where he served until 1924. The house was built in the Colonial Revival style.
Dr. William S. Anderson House
316 West Green Street. Dr. William Anderson, a leading physician in late 19th century Wilson, ordered the construction of this home about 1905. Built in the popular Colonial Revival style this imposing house offers a glimpse of the lifestyle of a well-to-do physician in turn of the century Wilson. The steeply-pitched roof boasts dormers with heavy pediments, and the Palladian windows of the cross gable are echoed directly below in the second floor. The columned two-story porch is unusual in a house of this style in Wilson.
A. P. Simpson House
310 West Green Street. Built for A. P. Simpson, a dry goods merchant c. 1880, this cottage is one of the most outstanding in the neighborhood. The rare survival of the beautifully detailed sawwork spandrels, balustrade and ornamental porch trim is found in this lovely house.
Wilson Primitive Baptist Church
301 West Green Street. The Wilson Primitive Baptist Church is the home of the oldest congregation in Wilson, founded in 1756 in what was to become Wilson. Construction was begun on the present church in 1920 and the design is attributed to Wilson architect S. B. Moore. The Gothic Revival church, unlike many of its contemporaries, has been little-altered since its construction. The lofty ceiling with its exposed framing, the original oak pews and pulpit furniture, and the outstanding stained glass windows distinguish this modest size church.
Toisnot Historical Company
200 West Green Street. The original frame for this house was built in 1853 as the Wilson Male Academy. The building was sold to Silas Lucas in 1897. Extensive Victorian changes were made by Lucas between 1877 and 1900. In 1907, J. T. Barnes of the Boykin Grocery Company bought the house and made several minor alterations.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
202 North Goldsboro Street. Built c. 1906, the church is constructed in Gothic style architecture with an outstanding interior. The altar and stained glass windows are highlights of particular interest.
206 North Douglas Street. This house was probably built in 1872 for J. T. Wiggins. He is credited with being one of Wilson’s pioneers in the culture of tobacco as he is said to have been the first who planted tobacco as a cash crop around 1879. He sold the house in 1887 to Civil War veteran J. C. Hadley. The house was moved from North Goldsboro Street to its present site c. 1901. Capped with a shallow-hipped roof, the eaves are supported by paired Italianate brackets. The richly-ornamented porch boasts similar brackets, chamfered square posts and the original turned balusters.
Fire Station Number One
209 North Douglas Street. This handsome building was designed in 1926 by S. B. Moore. Stylistically related to the Mission and Bungalow styles, the structure also has overhanging eaves supported by paired curved brackets.