Mr. Charles Grimes at Home in a D.J. Rose house

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“No friendship is an accident. ”  O. Henry, Heart of the West

Driving slowly down the 1200 block of Sunset Avenue, I spotted a couple standing on their front porch. Hopefully they could help me. Though they knew nothing about D.J. Rose, they assured me that Mr. Grimes, living next door, was the one to ask.  Now I have a new friend. We’ve even had a date at the Prime Smokehouse where he had never been. (He loved it.)

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In 2002, Mr. Charles Grimes bought what is called the Rosenbloom-Feurst House that D.J. Rose built in 1922 for Jacob Rosenbloom, the man who established the large department store on Main Street, Rosenbloom-Levy Company.  Mr. Grimes says he is 88 years old, but he neither looks nor acts it. Other than rehabbing a broken hip that has taken the zip out of his step, he remains interested in a mired of things, his books, an extensive collection of National Geographic magazine, collages he makes from a stamp collection and clay African masks that he creates and sells. He spent 65 years as a professional performing actor, writer , director, and his passion, building sets. He is taking care of this wonderful home as best he can, but needs help now to do so, which weighs on his mind. I would love to get Mr. Grimes some help so this Rose home can live on.

It is an “if only” situation for me because I know nothing about finding money for historic preservation, or fixing the roof, but I’m willing to learn. Someone will need to hold the ladder! There must be folks who wouldn’t charge to put shutters back on aren’t there? If there isn’t an organization called Helping Seniors, a branch of Habitat, there should be. I’d start one, but I would need one more day in the week. Besides, Mr. Grimes needs some help with his D.J. Rose home sooner rather than later. Here is a prime example of why a D.J. Rose ‘society’ could help with the preservation of these homes. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to leave information about other Rose homes OR if you can suggest some help for Mr. Grimes. Thank you!IMG_4107IMG_4116IMG_4106

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So far, no one has sent me any good news about a Rose house. I have two more on my radar, already taken some exterior photos, but need to knock on the doors before I can write more. If you love architecture, as I do, I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts on D.J. Rose. There is a wonderful PS: to this story about Mr.Grimes. After we took a trip to Nash Arts, look what has happened.

 FYI: The Nash County Arts Council is seeking African American women to audition for our February production of Ramona King’s “Steal Away,” directed by Charles Grimes. Auditions have not yet been scheduled and, by Mr. Grimes’ request, interested parties should call Shelly Gray (Nash Arts Director) at 252-459-4734.  I’ll keep you posted so you can attend one of the performances.

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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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6 Responses to Mr. Charles Grimes at Home in a D.J. Rose house

  1. Rachel Fuerst says:

    I was forwarded this information. This is my family’s former home. It was built by Minnie and Jacob Rosenbloom. Later, their elder daughter, Lila Dale Rosenbloom Fuerst, and her husband, Herbert Fuerst, lived in the home. If you would like more information about the history of the home, please feel free to contact me. Thank you, Rachel Fuerst.

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  2. lee fritz says:

    Lee Rosenbloom Fritz -Like my brother, Jake, I was born in this house and married there too! I feel extremely blessed to have lived in such a beautiful house. I’d like to send you a copy of a picture of me walking down the steps (you’ve pictured) with my father waiting at the foot to escort me into the living room to be married. As my greatniece, Rachel Fuerst wrote, they later lived in the house and repurposed it to include her father’s dental office and later an art gallery and finally a bed and breakfast. But in my mind it will always have the beautifully proportioned and elegant rooms of the original design. I wish you well in your preservation efforts,, and I hope Mr. Grimes enjoys living at 1210 Sunset Avenue!

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  3. Charlotte Beck says:

    I knew that was Dr Feurst Office/Home when I saw it. I didn’t know the connection – his wife being Jake’s daughter. I got braces from Dr. Feurst back in the day. Nice man. He did embarrass the heck out of me one day. He motioned for me to come over where a young boy was at – in the chair. He asked me in front of the boy if would kiss the boy. I was a teen and it took zero to embarrass me. I said no and stepped back. He looked at the boy, shrugged and said ‘sorry’. LOL. I didn’t mean to humiliate the boy…I was just very shy and that came from left field. LOL

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    • Delighted you took the time to leave this comment about your first-hand experience with Dr. Feurst. My interest in the house, as well as its story, is that it was built by D.J. Rose. They have a fine inventory of Rose’s commercial endeavors, but not all of the residences. Kissing the boy must have been his sense of humor, but he forgot how easily this would embarrass both you and the boy. I didn’t realize Dr. F. could do orthodontal work too. Would love to talk further with you about your memories of growing up in Rocky Mount. Interested?

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