Villa Place Historic District – ‘The Ice King’ Cometh – Part 2

Machaven -Park Street Side View
Machaven -Park Street Side View

There must be a special place in hell for people who vandalize buildings. In taking photographs of Machaven, I wouldn’t dream of a photo that shows the front windows boarded up. Such an embarrassment for a historic place that has been holding court at 300 Grace Street these many years. Like a woman who knows her best side, the tilt of her chin just so, we will consider this princely place from a different angle to avoid further humiliation.

300 Grace St. -Machaven
300 Grace St. -Machaven               Park Street Side View

Introducing J.W. Hines (1858-1928): Hines made his fortune as the “ice king” of North Carolina, owning ice plants in railroad towns across the state from Rocky Mount to Salisbury. He became a developer and industrialist and is credited with his involvement in Rocky Mount’s early twentieth-century growth. Hines built tobacco warehouses, helped bring the Atlantic Coast Line repair shops and Emerson Shops to south Rocky Mount in 1892. In 1905  J.W. Hines purchased the 300 block of South Grace Street from R.L. Huffines and in 1907-1908 constructed the impressive Neoclassical Revival style brick mansion, known as Machaven, for his family. I hope you will take the time to read an earlier post about Machaven. Click Here

 Though Machaven is the principal landmark in the Villa Place Historic District, it is but one architectural gem in this depository worth a king’s ransom to architectural historians, preservationists, and to the city of Rocky Mount because of its close proximity to the revitalization of downtown where housing is needed for a growing workforce. If you read much of this blog, you know I am always excited and jumping up and down about something. Take my hand as we walk the neighborhood while I point out,  “Look at this one!” “And this one!” These Queen Anne, Foursquare, Craftsman, Colonial Revival style houses were built between 1900 and the 1940s by employees of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and other businesses in an emerging, successful railroad and tobacco town. You probably know someone who grew up right here on this corner!

If we threw a dart at a Rocky Mount map, no neighborhood is more worthy of a concerted effort to adopt and rally behind, than Villa Place. Our churches participate in community outreach in all kinds of faraway places like Minnesota and Mexico. Why not in our own backyard in a place that is significant to our future? Between now and when you read Villa Place – Part 3 –  I hope you will find time to get in your car with new eyes to see how fabulous this area is.  I invite you to FOLLOW Main Street so you don’t miss future posts.

419 Nash Street
419 Nash Street
222 Villa -For sale Boone Hill, Allen & Ricks 443 4148
222 Villa – For sale Boone Hill – Allen & Ricks  443 4148


336 Villa
336 Villa

5 thoughts on “Villa Place Historic District – ‘The Ice King’ Cometh – Part 2

  1. Hello!
    I grew up living in the Townhouses on Park Place. I was best friends with Walton, who lived at 306 S. Grace Street (Machaven). I spent many days and nights (years) at Machaven. We used to do wall races a lot where we would RUN along the top of the wall, racing to see who would get back to the front gate first. Jack Early was the champion of these races. Walton and I spent hours in the attic (there was a playroom, with an old dollhouse, and lots of cedar lined closets full of vintage dresses that we wore very often, especially on Halloween). We even climbed out of the attic window in the back, scaled the slate roof, and got to the roofwalk a couple of times. Walton and I made a clubhouse in the attic in the garage. We spent days in the field (next to the Balance’s house, behind the Early’s house and in front of the Baldwin’s house on Park Place). I’m delighted to see that Machaven has been restored. I’m very grateful that I got to grow up in such a wonderful neighborhood, back in the Seventies, and I cannot wait to visit Machaven with Walton again.


  2. Stephens, thanks for your reply. I didn’t see it until today.
    I’m so sorry about your husband passing recently, and you’ve been in my prayers!
    Feel free to email me when you’re feeling up to it.


  3. Hi, Stepheny!

    Thanks for all your research and the work you put in to bring us these wonderful posts and photos.

    As a girl I lived for a while at 411 Nash Street, back when all the streets in the neighborhood were tree-lined and shady. It was all residential at that time up to Church Street, except for Harris Conservatory of Music which occupied an old church building at the corner of Nash and Franklin.

    The house pictured on your post today–419 Nash Street–is actually one street over, on Western Ave. I’d love to know it’s history. Will you be mentioning it by chance in your Villa Place – Part 3?

    Thanks again, Stephens!

    Kathy Williamson

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Delighted with this wonderful addition to the post today. Please tell me that we can sit down and talk further about being a little girl on Nash Street. I will check my information on the 419 Nash Street. I was taking photos and making notes. Any chance you’re free on Friday afternoon to talk. (the 2oth) Let me know. Thanks!


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