The Ernest Nissen House is one of the most striking and historic homes in the Waughtown-Belville Historic District, and this is the entire description in its new for-sale listing: “PROPERTY HAS NO PERMANENT HEATING.” May St. Joseph protect it, because the owner and listing agent don’t appear to care much what happens to it.
The house is associated with the Nissen family and the more than 100-year history of the Nissen Wagon Works just down the street. It’s listed at $189,900. It needs cosmetic work, but a surprising amount of interior detail has survived.
1402 Waughtown Street has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms in 3,173 square feet. The lot is 0.34 acre (the listing’s figures vary a bit from these, which are from county records). The price comes out to $60 per square foot, which appears reasonable for a restoration project like this (provided there are no structural or mechanical surprises).
The property includes a dilapidated barn and a two-car garage with at least one broken window.
Queen Anne-Colonial Revival
The historic district’s National Register nomination dates the house as circa 1905 and lists it among the “few more elaborate dwellings [in Waughtown-Belville] that combine elements of the Queen Anne style with Colonial Revival-style motifs.”
“This two-story house features a gabled, upper level bay, decorative shingles in gable ends, upper level porch with slim Tuscan columns, and polygonal bays on first floor. …
“Two story; side gable; aluminum siding; hip-roof dormers; front gabled, upper level bay; decorative shingles in gable ends, diamond vent; upper level porch with slim Tuscan columns; hip-roof main porch; paired Tuscan columns on brick piers; polygonal bays on first floor; one-over-one windows; pressed tin shingles; one-story, hip-roof addition on east end. … Appears on 1917 Sanborn map.”
On the exterior, there’s aluminum siding that a new owner might want to remove. Some interior walls have had wallpaper removed and look awful; some haven’t and look reasonably good. The ceilings are in good shape, especially in the kitchen. It looks like some of the floors may have been cheaply replaced, which would be sad. The kitchen and bathrooms are in surprisingly not-awful shape.
The Nissen Family
“Local tradition,” the nomination says, has it that Frank Nissen built the house for his son William Ernest Nissen. The Nissens were one of the more prominent Winston-Salem business families of the 19th century. John Philip Nissen (1813-1874) established the Nissen Wagon Works in 1834. It became one of the largest wagon makers in the South.
After the Civil War, two of his seven sons ran the company (John Philip and Mary Ann Elizabeth Vawter Nissen [1813-1881] also had five daughters). Another son started his own wagon business, which he later turned over to his brother Christian Francis (1847-1916), known as Frank. In 1910, the two companies merged.
The company was sold in 1925 and remained in business until 1948. It was located just a couple blocks down the road at 1539 Waughtown Street.
1402 Waughtown Street, Winston-Salem
The Ernest Nissen House
- 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 3,173 square feet, 0.34 acre
- Price/square foot: $60
- Built in 1920 (per county, more likely ca. 1905)
- Listed May 3, 2022
- Last sale: $25,000, January 2012
- Neighborhood: Waughtown-Belview Historic District