Edgemont – A Jewel In Rocky Mount’s Crown – Part 1

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I wonder if you have eyes to see? Let me show you something that lay beneath an overlay of time. In some cases, that time has dimmed the color and vivaciousness of what once was, but don’t be put off by that. I want you to look at the historic district of Edgemont, a subdivision three blocks east of Main Street in Rocky Mount. The principal avenue is Tarboro Street, flanked by Sycamore and Hill Streets, that compose the core of the area. There are also four crossing streets and service alleys through the centers of the blocks.

The first time I drove through Edgemont it was as if I had discovered a table laid before me set with beautiful crystal, china and sterling silver. I know you’ll think this too flowery, but Edgemont deserves hyperbole! What we are looking at is a significant area in the community’s development that is one of the major subdivisions of the city’s pre-World War II boom. The area warrants our attention and new found appreciation. In the world of real estate, Edgemont has one of the most intact collections of historical residential designs in Rocky Mount. These houses and garages of matching architectural design have strong architectural significance.

Please share this post with any realtors you know because this is a call to them and everyone who appreciates architecture and our history;  go and reacquaint yourselves with the area. Imagine how these homes came to be.  Think of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which had its repair shops in Rocky Mount, and the town’s tobacco market booming in the early twentieth century. Edgemont developed as one of the most stylish of the town’s neighborhoods. For the next twenty-five years doctors, lawyers, tobacconists, salesmen, clerks, and employees of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built Bungalows, Foursquares, Colonial and Tudor Revival style houses on the spacious, flat lots. The preservation of this exceptional neighborhood is in keeping with a sense of place that is available to those who are drawn here. Edgemont is exactly what they want in their lives, but if realtors don’t bring them into the area, how will it be found?What could be better than owning a home that honors the past, while going forth from your front door into the future.

We will continue with more about Edgemont tomorrow. I want to leave you with a Harry Potter line from the Goblet of Fire. Harry walks into what looks to be a small ordinary tent from the outside. When he steps inside he finds a large and beautifully decorated palace-looking space. Amazed, he slowly grins. Harry says, “I love magic.”

Edgemont is a magic kind of place.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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10 Responses to Edgemont – A Jewel In Rocky Mount’s Crown – Part 1

  1. Ron and I considered this neighborhood when we first came to town back in 2006 because the homes were so unique and beautiful. But our desire and purpose was to restore a historic 2 level downtown building. Hilarie

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  2. This was my neighborhood, and without exaggeration there were hundreds of kids here when I was growing up. Halloween was droves of us. It was a great place to grow up.

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    • I would love to talk further with you about growing up in Edgemont. Would you be interested in telling me some of your ‘growing up’ stories? I think you will like part 2 tomorrow. Please let me know if we could have a visit. Thanks.

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  3. Helen Raper says:

    How many of you yea Sayers live on the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount?

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  4. patsypridgen says:

    Stepheny, thanks for writing about this neighborhood. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending the night with my “uptown” cousins on Sycamore Street (mid-1960s). Although most of the houses there were starter homes for young families and thus weren’t as grand as those on Tarboro Street, I still thought I was living it up when, as a country girl come to town, I could get on a bicycle and pedal to Gurganus Brothers’ Supermarket and the Oakwood drug store. One interesting note: the mechanical horse that kids could ride at Gurganus Supermarket is now on the second floor of the Children’s Museum (it has a plaque identifying it). My grandchildren have taken it for a spin (after Grandma put in a dime).

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    • Thank you for this wonderful memory. I love the expression “uptown” cousins. What a GREAT bumper sticker this would make. What a GREAT occasion we could make out of it. A driving open house to get reacquainted with Edgemont. Everyone that comes gets a sticker that says, “Visiting the Uptown Cousins.” Listen up realtors…this is the kind of marketing to be done. Patsy and I will help!

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  5. How would one go about finding out about a grant? I paid cash for my home on Eastern Ave a little over a year ago and would love the ability to fix it up and keep the original integrity.

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