Advocating for Rocky Mounts’ Shot Gun Houses – Gifts That Keep on Giving

Merry Christmas

I know the last thing on your mind as we enter this Holy Season is the shotgun houses of Rocky Mount. Under your tree, however, I am leaving this last blog post for 2019. (The Main Street Facebook page will continue to post in December) I ask that you consider these valuable assets as one of the important answers to our housing needs. How can we make a case for their protection? When it comes to the architectural appreciation of Shotguns you need eyes to see.

The answer lies in advocating the Shotgun’s historical significance. To get our feet wet, here is a short video filmed in New Orleans where after Katrina, their Preservation Group championed the saving of their Shotguns with great success.

FYI:  Shotgun houses generally consist of a gabled front porch and two or more rooms laid out in a straight line. Rooms are directly connected without hallways. Although shotgun houses are small, were inexpensively built, and generally lack amenities, they have been praised for their architectural virtues, which include the ingenious use of limited space and decoration such as gingerbread trim and brightly painted exteriors. They represent a uniquely African American contribution to architecture in the United States.

Here is a small collection of some Shotgun homes in Ward 2 that I photographed in 2018. I wrote to Councilman Blackwell about these homes without a reply. It doesn’t matter, let’s become a voice in the New Year and get active in the on-going life of these architectural assets. Protecting these houses will make our neighborhoods safer and even restored, affordable. It is a win-win for everyone.                                                                                                    SCROLL DOWN TO READ FURTHER COMMENTS

Shotgun House on Pine St. Rocky Mount, NC
Shotgun House on Pine St. Rocky Mount, NC
Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount NC
Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount NC
Shotgun House on Gay St. Rocky Mount NC
Shotgun House on Gay St. Rocky Mount
N. Vyne St Rocky Mount, NC
Star St. Rocky Mount, NC
Shotguns on Pine Street
Double Shotgun corner of Star & Harris St. Rocky Mount, NC


Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount, NC

6 thoughts on “Advocating for Rocky Mounts’ Shot Gun Houses – Gifts That Keep on Giving

  1. Very interesting I feel this would enhance our community. Redo these eye sores and make them eye pleasers to enhance our city on the rise.I enjoyed this article. Positivities for Rocky Mount.


    1. Glad you see the positive in this, Annette. If you have a camera on your phone and you pass any of the Shotguns, take a picture and add the location. An updated inventory of them is in order. It would have to be official, but just locating the ones you pass by would help. That goes for everyone. Thanks for chiming in!


  2. I am surprised that the champions of African American culture in our community have ignored this rare – and fragile – part of preserving African American architecture here. Why the apathy? Only a few miles away from Princeville, and no interest in it here in Rocky Mount? Maybe that will change now. I hope for better in 2020.


    1. It seems only elections bring out how many councilmen care about their district’s housing. About how much they care for the people living in these run-down places. Saving Shotgun Housing doesn’t line anyone’s pockets but what it does do is restore the living conditions in our neighborhoods, make them safer places to live because priorities are being set for what stays and what must be removed. It brings back the feeling of neighbors looking out after one another. It provides housing we have, restored, and available for senior citizens, singles, couples who are part of the workforce, etc. Main Street voices leading the way on this effort. I appreciate your thoughts on this important part of our community’s story.


  3. The Shotgun house was once considered a solution for lower income families. Illustrating that “necessity is the mother of invention”. As time passed people began to see their merit as little jewel boxes worthy of restoration, embellishment and having earned their place as an architectural style—not just cheap housing.

    The shotgun house is now vogue across America. This small unique home satisfies the needs of many young urban first-time homeowners on multiple levels—easy living, low maintenance, lower pricing, cheaper taxes and a great starter home. Moreover, shotgun homes are popping up all over as a solution for retirement homes. Why? Easy living, low maintenance, lower pricing, cheaper taxes and a great retirement home.

    Why would you not want to save them, replicate them and advocate for their place in Rocky Mounts architectural history? It seems better to restore the neighborhoods than to build hotels and other nonessential boondoggles.


    Learn to pronounce

    plural noun: boondoggles
    1. work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.


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