Some historic neighborhoods and rural communities are fortunate enough to still have buildings that once housed corner grocery stores or other retail businesses. The buildings come up for sale occasionally, and there are now four historic properties for sale in the Triad that feature former stores as homes or outbuildings. For the most part, there are relatively few available details about the structures themselves and the businesses they housed. But there are at least a few facts known about all but one.
2401 Urban Street in Winston-Salem was built to be a neighborhood grocery store with an apartment upstairs. 400 W. Main Street in Reidsville may not have been designed with a residence in mind, but it has provided a location for a business and a home for its owner as far back as 1959. The Robert G. Mitchell Store in Wentworth was built in 1900 and is barely standing, an unsound building with no heat or electricity. At 3405 Maple Avenue in Burlington, the tiny old store behind the house is a mystery.
2401 Urban Street, Winston-Salem
2401 Urban Street, Winston-Salem
- Sold for $64,500 on March 23, 2023 (originally $144,900)
- 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2,104 square feet, 0.10 acre
- Price/square foot: $31
- Built in 1900 (possibly later; see note)
- Listed July 18, 2022
- Last sale: $76,000, July 2018
- Neighborhood: Belview, Waughtown-Belview Historic District (NRHP)
- Note: Urban Street doesn’t appear in the city directory until 1915.
- The former neighborhood grocery has been sold seven times in this century.
- This property’s original address was 201 Urban Street.
- The store was operated by I.L. Campbell in 1915; J.B. Whitley, 1916-22; Daisy M. Williamson, 1923-37; William B. Wicker, 1938; James T. Lawrence, 1939-1959; and others later. It was a grocery store through at least 1963.
- District NRHP nomination: “Another prominent building in the Belview area of the district is a rare example of a two-story store/house combination located at 2401 Urban Street. … Although altered with vinyl siding, the building is a rare example of a frame commercial building in the district.”
- “Two-story; hip roof; vinyl siding; recessed entry; upper level porch; one-over-one windows. Appears on 1917 Sanborn map.”
400 W. Main Street, Reidsville
400 W. Main Street, Mayodan, Rockingham County
- Sold for $125,000 on April 24, 2023 (listed at $149,900)
- 1 bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom, 2,000 square feet, 0.1 acre
- Price/square foot: $62
- Built in 1927
- Listed December 21, 2022
- Last sale: $55,000, September 2013
- Neighborhood: Downtown
- Note: Former commercial building, has a kitchen and separate breakfast area.
- The property includes a deck and a two-car driveway.
- Little information on the property’s history appears to exist online. Between 1959 and 1963 (and perhaps before and after those years), it was the photography studio of Joseph Michael Dalton (1915-1972). Joseph and his wife, Minnie Boaz Leath Dalton (1914-1975), were listed as living in the building as well. It was the only photography studio in Mayodan (although there was another in Madison).
- The current owners bought the building from a descendant of Joseph and Minnie in 2019.
1129 N.C. Highway 65, Wentworth
1129 N.C. Highway 65, Wentworth, Rockingham County
- Sold for $130,900 on May 12, 2023 (originally $189,900)
- Two houses and an old store building, 4 acres total
- The Robert G. Mitchell Store — county tax card: 1900, 720 square feet, no heat, no electrical, construction grade F, unsound.
- Robert Mitchell (1870-1954) bought the property for $300 in October 1905, probably from his brother Julius (1877-1905, identified as “Jule G. Mitchell” on the deed. The store faces the road at the eastern end of the lot. Robert’s home was next door.
- The Robert G. Mitchell house — county tax card: 1907, bedrooms and bathrooms not listed, 1,216 square feet, no heat, no electrical, construction grade F, unsound condition
- The Dewey Adams House, 1935: 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,164 square feet
- Price/square foot: $42
- Listed March 3, 2022
- Last sale: Not identifiable in online records
- Note: The properties are in Wentworth but have a Reidsville mailing address.
- The listing gives dates for the buildings that vary slightly from county records.
- Looking west on N.C. 65, the store and the 1907 house with the 1935 house beyond (August 2021 Google StreetView):
3405 Maple Avenue, Burlington
3405 Maple Avenue, Burlington, Alamance County
- $190,000 (originally $200,000)
- 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,552 square feet, 1.67 acres
- Price/square foot: $122
- Built in 1933
- Listed June 10, 2022
- Last sale: October 1932, deed not accessible online (see below)
- Listing: “.. and a building on the property that once served as an old grocery store. There is a separate driveway used to access the building which has potential to be a great flex/workspace.”
- There appear to be no clues about the store’s history online. The for-sale listing has noting further about it. Oddly, the county tax card doesn’t provide any information on it. It’s not included in old Burlington city directories because it was well outside the city limits (1 1/2 miles south of Interstate 40/85). The store may originally have sat on a lot separate from 3405 Maple Avenue, but it’s impossible to determine without going to the Register of Deeds office, as the online deeds database has been offline since December 2022 (as of January 19, 2023, due to a cyber attack, on its computer services vendor, reported here).
- The store itself faces Whites Kennel Road, behind 3405 Maple Avenue (N.C. 49).
- Since 1933, 3405 Maple Avenue has been owned by Paul Wilton Whitesell (1898-1976) and Lillie Conklin Whitesell (1893-1963) and their descendants. The property is being sold by their granddaughters.
- Looking up Whites Kennel Road toward Maple Avenue/N.C. 49 and 3405 Maple Avenue (June 2021 Google Streetview):