As always, click on pix for full size…

This blog post was inspired by a regular listener to the J.R. and Fam show on WSJS, who asked if we could replace the ancient crumbling mostly unreadable newspaper clipping about her grandmother. We did. And here it is:

Here, around 1908, we see the center of the downtown Winston-Salem universe from the 1890s through World War II, at the intersection of Fourth and Liberty Streets. Since everyone from R.J. Reynolds to street car motormen to police officers to shop girls visited the soda fountains at the two drugstores daily, it was the social and information center of the metropolis. On the right was V.O. Thompson’s drugstore, which had a second entrance around the corner on Liberty Street. It was a mecca for cigar smokers, because Thompson also manufactured stogies in a separate building on West Third Street. At the left, 402-404 North Liberty, was Edward W. O’Hanlons drugstore. The northern bay, 404, was occupied by William H. Watkins, books, magazines and newspapers, art supplies and art framing. Upstairs were the offices of six doctors: J. Pass Fearrington, D.N. Dalton, E.A. Lockett, C.L. Summers, J.L Hanes and W.J. Conrad. When the outdoor bowling alleys at Nissen Park on Waughtown Street opened in 1903, touching off a fad for bowling parties, Dr. Summers’ wife, Bessie, held the women’s record for several weeks with a score of 118. To the right of the power pole, the first building, 406, was Fred N. Day’s jewelry store. That building wrapped around O’Hanlon’s and had a second entrance on West Fourth Street, in the exact same location as the later Woolworth’s Five and Dime.That 18,000 square foot building is currently available for lease. Next, at 408-410, was the Meyers-Westbrook department store, undergoing a major remodeling in this picture. Next, at 412, was Vaughn Bros & Co, shoes. 414 was occupied by offices, including the headquarters of the Winston-Salem Retail Merchants Association. At 416-418 was A. Daye & Company’s department store. You can see their sign near the center of the picture. Beyond, the building with the cupola was the Twin City’s first federal office building / post office, on the site of the current Millennium Center on West Fifth Street, opened in 1906 and dramatically enlarged in 1914. By then it contained a US customs office, one of the few in the nation not on a navigable body of water, established because of the vast amounts of Turkish tobacco and French cigarette paper being imported for the manufacture of the world’s number one selling cigarette, Camel. At the center of the picture, we can see the transition of transportation taking place, with a “horseless carriage” parked at the curb, a local streetcar and a nice horse-drawn carriage.

The adventure began on Thursday afternoon, August 10, 1905. Ransom Wilson, a well known farmer from the Midway area of Davidson county, had business at the firm of A Daye & Co at 416-418 North Liberty Street in Winston-Salem. He left his wagon and two-mule team at the curb, under the command of his thirteen-year-old daughter Florence. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there came a brilliant flash of lightning and a cannonade of thunder. The mules, sensing armageddon at hand, decided to return home posthaste. The story ran on the front page of the Winston-Salem Journal the next day:

In the latter part of the 19th century, L.B. Brickenstein took over the old Mickey tin shop on Main at Belews Street. The building was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the East-West Expressway, and the iconic coffee pot was moved to the Old Salem Bypass.

Certainly, L.B. Brickenstein was the hero of the day, but that was expected of a man of his caliber. The real adulation was reserved for thirteen-year-old Florence Wilson, the pluckiest girl of the year, who wound up getting a ride on the streetcar as a reward.

Some notes on this story:

The adventure began in front of the store of A. Daye on North Liberty Street just a few doors up from E.W. O’Hanlon’s Drugstore. A. Daye was Annam Daye, an immigrant from Syria, yet another of the millions of immigrants who helped build the USA. His entire family was involved in the business, and most of them became important leaders in the Winston-Salem community.

L.B. Brickenstein began as a tinsmith and ended up operating one of the largest plumbing establishments in North Carolina. He was one of the city’s wealthiest men. Yet he knew what to do when faced with a crisis. His house, designed by the noted southern architect Franklin Pierce Milburn, is a National Register property, seen below.

Florence Phebe Wilson…the pluckiest girl…was born in 1892 in the Midway community of Davidson County to Flora and Ransom Wilson, who were farmers. On December 6, 1919, she married Paul Glascoe at the home of V.M. Swaim, a Baptist minister, who lived in the Broadbay section of Forsyth County. The recorded witnesses were William A. Smith and C.A. Charles of Winston-Salem and Bertie Pitts of Wallburg. She and Paul had children and farmed for many years in Davidson County, just across the Forsyth line. Florence died in 1986 in Lake County, Florida.

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