Weekly Acorns

No Article This Week

November 23rd, 2008

Weekly Acorn #58 

Due to some pending interviews and additional research, and a very busy schedule, I do not currently have a post ready to publish.  Please check back often though (weekly), because I will post another article as soon as I have one completed.  

Thank you for your patience and for taking time to visit my website and read the history of Oak Crest.   Now would be a great time for you to catch up on reading all of the Weekly Acorns if you have not already done so.  They are all archived by month/year listed in the margin on the right.

This wouild also be a good time for you to visit the Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery, where you will find lots of interesting photos and historic facts. 

**Please note - I am currently updating the captions under the photos in the Weekly Acorns and adding new “links” to expand the photos, so, some captions may be temporarily duplicated or confusing until I complete these updates.   The updates should make it much easier to view the larger versions and to access the entire photo gallery.

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Weekly Acorn #57

In addition to Eleanor Lyon’s Oak Crest Florist, there was another neighborhood florist that got its start much earlier.   In August 1937, Rachel and Phillip (Phil) Kivett purchased a lot at 134 Idlewild Dr and then built a small house on it in 1941.  The house sat way back off the street and was very small.  It only had a living room, kitchen, bedroom and a bathroom.  

Later (I am not sure exactly what year) the Kivett’s built a flower shop beside the house and opened Kivett’s Florist.  The shop was actually larger than their little house.   Mr and Mrs Kivett both ran the florist together.  It was a full service florist, catering to weddings, funerals, dances, and other special occasions.   They also sold special gifts in the shop as well, such as christmas ornaments.  

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This is the Kivett’s house and flower shop at 134 Idlewild Dr.  The house was the portion on the left side with the little front stoop and the flower shop was the portion on the right side with the two large windows.  The portion in the center that connects the house and shop was added after the Kivetts sold the property.  Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

Many neighbors and nearby residents patronized Kivett’s Florist.   Marcia Weatherly Barnes, who grew up in the area and currently lives on Long Dr, recalls visiting the florist when she was a little girl with her mother and brother, Royce.  Marcia and Royce always looked forward to picking out a christmas ornament for their tree each year.  

The Kivetts would also host an annual Holiday Open House.  Polly Crater would always assist with the open house.  Mrs Crater lives across the street at 127 Idlewild Dr and was also the first resident to build and live on the street……and still lives here over seventy years later. 

At some point the Kivetts added a large family room on to the back of their house.   Eventually, in the late 1970’s they closed the florist, sold the property, and moved to the mountains.   They have since passed away.  

Martha Martinat purchased the property from the Kivetts in October 1978.   She eventually built another addition that connected the house and the flower shop.   Then in 1989 she sold the property to her daughter, Karen.   Since then, it has been sold several times and it is now a rental house.  

Weekly Acorn #56

I cannot discuss neighborhood businesses and not mention Parks’ Grocery Store, better known simply as “Parks’.”  Although it was not located directly in Oak Crest,  it was still a fixture for many years in the area.   Located at 4014 N Cherry St at the corner of Polo Rd, Parks’ was a family owned and operated grocery store.  

Troy Parks, Jr got his start in the grocery business by working part time in a grocery store while he was still attending Reynolds High School.   After high school he went on to serve 3 years in WWII where he became a First Sergeant.  When he returned home after the war he went back into the grocery business and purchased an existing grocery store that was located on old Cherry St near Northwest Blvd.  He called the store T A Parks Grocery. 

Troy’s father, Troy Sr, had worked for many years at R J Reynolds Tobacco Co, but he had some back problems and needed to work in a less strenuous environment.  So, Troy had his father to come work with him at the grocery store.  

Then in 1950, Troy purchased the property at the corner of Cherry St and Polo Rd and built a new store.  At the same time he also partnered with his father and his brother, Gorrell Parks,  and brother in law, Randall Jones.  The building was also large enough that they rented out space for a barber shop next door and several apartments upstairs.  

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This building at 4014 N Cherry St was built in 1950 and was the location of Parks’ Grocery Store for nearly 40 years.   The building also contained a small barber shop next to the store and several apartments upstairs.  Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

When Troy purchased the first store, many of the customers had credit accounts, which he continued to allow them to maintain.   However, when he moved into the new store, he discontinued the credit accounts.  

Although they shared the responsibilities of the store, one would usually find Troy in the meat department.  His brother Gorrell was in charge of the checkers, and Randall was a “floater” and the head stockboy.   Mary Hawks was one of their checkers for many years.   

Even though I was a small child, I remember them all very well.   My mother would take me with her to the store all the time.   Everyone there was very personable and friendly.   If Mom needed a special cut of meat, Troy would prepare it and bring it out to her in the store.  

Randall was frequently putting out stock and I would always go over and visit with him.   I also remember that they had an incinerator on the back of the building where they would burn the empty boxes.  This was long before the days of recycling.   Sometimes I would see Randall outside throwing boxes into the incinerator, so I would stay outside and visit with him while he disposed of the boxes.   Sometimes he would even let me throw some boxes into the fire.  

Mary was my favorite checker, so if she was available, I would always have Mom to go through her line.   In those days, there were only two or three check out lines and one rarely had to wait to be checked out.  

Troy was also the originator of Shop Rite Food Stores, which was a co-op that was formed for the sole purpose of advertising.   This co-op grew to include 12 stores.  Today, there are two Shop Rite locations remaining with one in East Bend and the other in Midway.  

In 1989 Troy Sr passed away, so Troy and his partners decided to close the store.   Since Parks’ closed Gorrell Parks has passed away as well as Mary Hawks.   Troy and his wife, Margaret, are still in the area and doing well and so is Randall Jones and his wife, Iris.

UPDATE: Sadly, Troy Parks passed away on August 28, 2011 at the age of 88.

For nearly 40 years Parks’ was a community grocery store with a personal touch.  I will always have fond memories of those simpler times when people took time to know one another and trade with one another in their small businesses.  

Weekly Acorn #55

In 1938, two sisters, Gladys Reid Dunnagan and Zelda Reid Taylor, were among the very first residents to build their homes on Idlewild Dr.   Mrs Taylor built her home at 135 Idlewild Dr and Mrs Dunnagan built hers further down the street at 175 Idlewild Dr.  They have remained in Oak Crest ever since.  They are both in their nineties and Mrs Taylor, the eldest, just celebrated her 95th birthday. 

After living in Oak Crest for several years, the Dunnagans purchased a lot and built another home at 222 Friendship Cr.  The reason they moved from Idlewild Dr was because in those days the street was not paved, and because of the steep hill, whenever it would rain the road became very muddy and rutted out making it difficult to drive up the hill.  Mrs Dunnagan told me how the Idlewild residents would sometimes park their cars at the top of the street or along Friendship Cr when it would rain so they would not get stuck in the mud.  So, for this reason, the Dunnagans moved to higher ground. 

Just after WWII the Dunnagans began to build their new home at 222 Friendship Cr.  The detached garage/apartment was built first because building materials were not readily available after the war.  Mrs Dunnagan and her husband, Ed, created a living space in the garage and they lived in it with their two children, Sandra and Alan, for several years until they built the house in 1950. 

Prior to living in Oak Crest and getting married, Gladys and Zelda Reid opened a beauty shop in downtown Winston-Salem in the mid 1930’s.  It was called Win-Sal Beauty Shop.  They ran the shop for several years and finally sold it.  Mrs Taylor went on to work at Town & Counrty Furniture in Old Town.  

Then, a few years later,  Mrs Dunnagan opened a small beauty shop in the basement of her home on Friendship Cr that she called Friendship Beauty Shop.  There she worked part-time hours and saw some of the clients from when she had the shop downtown as well as some of the women in the neighborhood.   Martha Sather (154 Crepe Myrtle Cr) was one of her clients.   This arrangement gave Mrs Dunnagan the flexibility to work, be a homemaker, and raise her children. 

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This house at 222 Friendship Cr is the home of Gladys Dunnagan.  It was in the basement of this house that Mrs Dunnagan ran a part-time beauty shop for several years called Friendship Beauty Shop.   Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

After a few years, Mrs Dunnagan wanted a change, so she closed the shop and went to work at the Reynolda Branch Public Library, where she worked for many years.   She continued to work at other jobs over the years until she was well in her eighties.   She attributes all of her years of hard work to her father who had a strong work ethic and worked hard all of his life.   Her father put her to work at a very early age as so many folks had to do in those days. 

Although she is not able to get out and work now, Mrs Dunnagan still likes to help others.   One of the ways she does this is to crochet little baby blankets for sick infants in the hospital.     

Weekly Acorn #54

Growing up in Oak Crest was a fun and unique experience.  Over the past eight plus decades there have been many children that were lucky enough to grow up here.   Lots of memories and life long friendships, sleep overs, acorn fights, snowball fights, sledding down Idlewild Dr, first loves, bullies, pranks, you name it, they have all been a part of life in Oak Crest. 

Many of the children in Oak Crest had the priviledge to attend their very first days of school right here in the neighborhood at Margaret Hunt’s Kindergarten class.  Mrs Hunt lived at 133 Rosedale Cr and during the 1950’s and 60’s she taught kindergarten in the finished attic of her home. 

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This house at 133 Rosedale Cr was where Margaret Hunt taught Kindergarten in her finished attic.  Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

A typical day in Mrs Hunt’s class, which were half days in the mornings, might consist of reading stories, artwork that they would hang on the walls, gathering downstairs by Mrs Hunt’s piano to sing songs, outings to Wake Forest College, playtime in the back yard, and snacks.   There was even a little playhouse in the classroom.   The children would attend school Monday thru Friday.   Their parents would drop them off and pick them up at the side door of the house.  

The photo below is the class of 1962-63 and two of the girls from this class still live in Oak Crest.   Lisa Talley Palmer grew up on the other side of University Pky on Yellowstone Ln (her father, Hans Talley, named the street), and where her daughter, Holly, now lives.   Lisa now lives on Crepe Myrtle Cr.   Lynn Lincoln Biggam grew up on Rosedale Cr and still lives in her childhood home. 

In addition to Lisa and Lynn, some of the other children from this photo include Mark Boger, Tony Gent, Helen Saunders, Lynn Tillett, Chip Hamrick, David Bailey, Lynn Timberlake, and Steve Hoots (Lisa’s cousin). 

Lynn Tillett and her sister, Janine Tillett Phillips, both attended Mrs Hunt’s Kindergarten and they also grew up on Rosedale Cr.  Janine still lives on Rosedale Cr, three doors up from the house where she grew up. 

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This is the class of 1962-63 of Mrs Hunt’s Kindergarten made in her attic classroom.  Notice Mrs Hunt in the background as well as the playhouse, a built-in bookcase, and the students’ drawings on the wall.  Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

The Hunt’s lived in their house from 1948 until each of their deaths.  Mrs Hunt lived there for nearly 40 years.  After her death the house was sold in 1988 and again several times before eventually being purchased by Wake Forest University in 2000.   The university leases the house to members of their staff.  

Weekly Acorn #53

Over the years there have been several small businesses that were either located in Oak Crest or near the neighborhood that were a significant part of our community.   This multi-part series will cover those businesses.  

I will begin the series with the one business that included the name Oak Crest and the one that inspired me to begin the historical research of our neighborhood.   One day I was cleaning out my attic and found a box with a dried corsage from one of my sisters high school dances.   The box read “Oak Crest Florist, 314 Friendship Circle.” 

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This house at 314 Friendship Cr was the home of Ralph and Eleanor Lyon.  Mrs Lyon ran the Oak Crest Florist in her basement.  Click on the photo above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

314 Friendship Cr was the home of Ralph and Eleanor Lyon.  They built the house in 1947, which was just next door to Ralph’s parents (310 Friendship).  Eleanor started a florist in the garage area of her basement, called Oak Crest Florist.  Later they added a two car detached garage and two greenhouses behind it.

She ran the florist until she decided to sell it and raise their two daughters, Linda and Teresa. So, she sold the florist to Betty Cartwright Seivers who moved the business to her home in Walkertown.  Betty kept the name Oak Crest Florist and ran it until she retired.

Betty was a close friend and employee of Eleanor’s.  Betty also grew up in Oak Crest. Her father, Walter Cartwright, farmed the land of Sunnynoll Farm (the Egbert Davis estate corner of Reynolda Rd & Polo Rd).  The Cartwright’s lived in a small brick bungalow on the farm.  The brick on the house matched the light colored brick on the main house of Sunnynoll. The little house, now demolished, was located on Polo Rd (north side) where the bridge crosses over Silas Creek Pky.

Eleanor later joined her brother at Sherwood Flower Shop on Robinhood Rd until she retired.  After the death of her husband, Eleanor decided to sell the home.  She has since remarried and lives in town and is now Eleanor Brown.

Weekly Acorn #52

Last December I wrote a post (WA #10) about the oldest house in Oak Crest (1203 Polo) being restored by owner Steve Russell.   It has been nearly a year and one can see that progress is being made.  Steve is doing the renovations mostly by himself.  

There is a noticible difference on the outside of both the house and the garage.   The garage has a new tin roof and a fresh coat of primer.  The house is almost complete with a coat of primer as well.   The original color of the house in 1925 was a light gray, similar to the color of the primer.   Steve found some wood siding pieces that contained the original color and plans to have it matched when he paints it.  

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This is the house and garage as they look now.  Click on the photos above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

As for the inside, not much has been done yet.   A new heating and cooling system has been installed.  The huge basement has been cleaned out (which even extends under the front porch) and it also has a fireplace. 

My favorite feature is the original prairie style rope and pulley windows.  They really make the house look very attractive and add such character.   I am glad they are being preserved.  

Steve’s goal is to restore the house to the way it was when his parents bought it 1956.   Steve’s great aunt and uncle built the house in 1925 and at that time owned several adjoining lots which made up their farm.

Weekly Acorn #51

I thougt I would begin the second season of Weekly Acorns by giving a quick update on the Historic Oak Crest project. 

Currently, I am still working on house histories.  What that entails is tracing back all of the owners of each house and lot(s), the year the house was built, identifying the style of the house, and noting any significant stories about the house or families who have lived there.   This type of information is required in order to petition for historic designation for the neighborhood.   I have completed about a fourth of this information.   This is usually good “winter time” work for me, so I hope to make a lot of progress this winter.  

Soon I will begin working on an Oak Crest timeline.  I will present maps indicating the growth of the neighborhood in either 5 or 10 year increments.  This will also accompany another multi-part series of Weekly Acorns.  

Another topic I plan to cover is about Oak Crest business owners.  Several residents of OC ran small businesses either in their homes or in the community.  I will be interviewing some of the residents to learn more about these businesses and business owners.   And as you might have guessed, I will probably create a multi-part series of Weekly Acorns on OC businesses and their owners.  

I also plan to check the archives of Bethabara and Old Salem to hopefully learn more about the Bethabara to Salem Road that passed through Oak Crest back in 1766.  There is a chance that the name Oak Crest could have derived from the Moravians.

I also hope to increase the Vintage Photos section.   Several people have mentioned that they have old photos to share.  As soon as I get copies of them, I will be publishing them in the gallery.  

There are a few other topics currently in the works for future WA posts.   As of right now, I should have another 6-9 months worth of material to post.   I try to publish each post on Saturday’s, however, due to my schedule and responsibilities being quite full, I may not always get them published on time.   This post being published today (Sunday) is a good example.   There may even be some weeks that I may not publish one at all.  In those cases I may just post a message saying “Sorry, no Weekly Acorn will be posted this week.  Please check back next week.”  But, I will try to keep those to a minimum. 

I want to say thank you to all those who support me and my efforts to preserve our neighborhood and to those who actually read these posts.  Please tell your family, neighbors, and friends about this site.   I am amazed at how many people in the neighborhood that still have no idea we are called Oak Crest and that their is a website that contains the rich history of OC available to them.  

Weekly Acorns Turns One Year Old!

September 27th, 2008

Weekly Acorn #50

Exactly one year ago yesterday, September 26, 2007, was the debut of this blog and my first post.  

When my web designer, Carmel Hall, of Celeste Teal Creations designed this blog, I had no idea exactly how I was going to utilize it.  She designed the whole thing using the color scheme of my website, created the beautiful header at the top of the page and Carmel actually wrote the very first post and introduced the concept of “Weekly Acorns.”   With that, I took the ball and ran.  

 Acorns

At first I had planned to fully utilize its functionality as an interactive blog.  But, I soon discovered that most of the comments I was receiving were regarding my massage therapy practice and had nothing to do with the neighborhood history.   To go further, I began to get comments and registrations from spammers that had nothing to do at all with the purpose of the blog.   So, I made a decision to restrict it to a non-interactive blog and to no longer allow comments.  

In the near future I will be having Carmel to redesign the header to say ”Weekly Acorns” instead of “Whoopee Hill.” 

Then in the months ahead you can continue to be educated and entertained by the fascinating history of our wonderfully unique neighborhood, Oak Crest.  

Weekly Acorn #49

It has been six months now since the house at 187 Crepe Myrtle Cr was torn down.   Two months prior to that the smaller house behind it (189) was torn down as well.   Although it was a shame to see either of them go, time has a way of healing the hard feelings that a lot of people had when they were so suddenly taken down. 

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These two houses once stood on Crepe Myrtle Cr.  187 (left) was built in 1950 and the smaller house 189 (right) was built just after WWII using salvaged building materials.  The smaller house sat behind the large one and was the first house built by the Corneliuses until they could afford to build the larger one a few years later.   Click on the photos above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

So, why were these houses torn down and what is next for the property where they once stood? 

In October of 2006, the children of Ray and Louella Cornelius decided to sell the property and houses that their parents had called home since WWII, and where the children grew up, to Maple Springs United Methodist Church.   The Corneliuses had been long time members of the church and the children thought the church could use the property and houses for the good of the church.   They especially thought the larger house, at least, would be spared and used as a missions house or church offices.  

Over the years the church had acquired surrounding properties along Reynolda Rd and expanded the building and parking lot.   Then when they acquired the Cornelius property, instead of renovating the houses, or at least the larger one (which was a very well built house) for church use, they chose to demolish both of them and create a meditation garden (as the neighbors were told). 

In a nutshell, the church did not want to spend any money to renovate the houses and instead only wanted to property for added “green space” which was needed to fulfill the reqiurement for their large parking lots.   Also, earlier this year the church purchased the vacant property at the corner of Reynolda Rd and Woodberry Dr that has been used as a garden for many years.   I assume that property will apply as needed “green space” as well.  

As for the meditation garden,  how about an empty grassy hole where a house once stood?  That is all you get, but then again, meditation is all about “empty” thoughts.   However, I had envisioned a nice pathway with some landscaping and benches along the way and maybe a nice statue or fountain.   I will admit though that when I visit the property now it is very peaceful and quiet and the sound of the birds is very soothing.   

The church has added some child sized picnic tables down near the creek that runs along the back side of the property for the children to use.  

So, what does the future hold for this property?   I do not know for sure.   But I do hope that they will keep the area only as “green space.”  I would not mind at all if they would landscape it as I described above to make it a more functional and attractive meditation garden.   It would also be nice if the area were named in honor of the Corneliuses.  Many of the trees, shrubs, and flowers that the Corneliuses planted and maintained as well as a storage shelter and a unique driveway that Mr Cornelius and his son built brick by brick still remain.  

When the houses were torn down and the debris was being hauled off, I did salvage as much as I could from the site.   I got some windows, cinder blocks, and tons of brick.   I have used some of the cinder blocks to outline a raised bed vegetable garden and I am still chiseling mortar from the bricks which I plan to use to make a driveway and/or patio like Mr Cornelius made. 

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This is the property as it looks now.  The two photos on the left is where the houses stood.   The two photos on the right show the unique driveway and storage shelter that still remain on the property.   Click on the photos above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

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