Eyes on Main Street 2016

eyes on main street

This years Eyes on Main Street Wilson Outdoor Photo Festival starts on April 9th and goes through July 16th.

During my after-lunch constitutionals on Nash Street, downtown, I have gazed on some spectacular display window-sized photos for the festival from all over the world, making Wilson look quite cosmopolitan.  But you don’t have to go alone and uncurated, for artistic director, Jerome DePerlinghi, will be leading many walking tours during the several months of the festival.

Noble’s Chapel ca. 1918


Class at Noble’s. The boy to the back right of the boy with the black suit is James Willard Williams

nobles chapel2

This photo was taken in the 1920’s. The church was near Sims and I believe that Noble’s Baptist Church is now at the site.

A patron came by yesterday with a photograph of a group of students at Noble’s Chapel. Her great grandfather, named James Willard Williams, is in the picture.  She told me that he was born in 1909 which led to the 1918 date of the image. The patron didn’t have much information on the Chapel, but I found an image in our collection of the outside of the building, which is now, supposedly, no longer standing.

The First Children’s Story-time at the Wilson County Public Library


Mrs. Townsend has a very cool hat. It may be the sorting hat.


I recently found these pictures of the first children’s story-time at the newly opened Wilson County Public Library.  The pictures date from November 18, 1939 and the story-teller is Matilda Townsend.  The picture below is from the summer of 1947 and the story-teller is Sara Harrell.


I think this photograph was taken by a professional, maybe Guy Cox of Raines and Cox Photography

The Art of the Shine


Curtis Phillips by John G. Zimmerman

Our collection of photographs taken by Life magazine photographer John G. Zimmerman from the 1953 shoeshine contest in Wilson, NC are going to be on display at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.  This exhibit is titled The Art of the Shine and will be in the Crowe Lobby Gallery starting just after the New Year until March 15, 2015.  We have partnered with the Flanders Gallery in Raleigh and they are creating the exhibit which will also include Curtis Phillip’s shoeshine chair.

I am looking forward to visiting the exhibit!

Oliver Nestus Freeman’s Family Albums Now Online



Freeman family


Unidentified woman from the Freeman family.

The NC Digital Heritage Center continues its great work of making archival resources more accessible by digitizing the family albums of Oliver Nestus Freeman.  This great window into East Wilson in the early 1900’s can be reached at this link.

But we need help with metadata so if you can identify anyone or anything in the photographs please let me know.