The Home of Z.B. Bulluck – An architectural gem – Renaissance Revival

I stood in silence, alone, with only bird song to welcome me to the Z.B. Bulluck home. The house stands empty of laughter and hospitality, though I am sure it remains filled with memories of the man responsible for this particular Renaissance Revival gem and his family. I imagined the day Z.B. ushered Foy Mae Williams Bullock through the door of her new home. Could she possibly have imagined that her young husband would prosper and flourish through his good works and one day provide a home of this magnitude that she would come to preside over? I wonder how much she even knew about the elements and style of the house. It is cause for weeping that this amazing home, on a piece of land with beautiful old trees only a few miles from Main Street, continues to wait for a new life. If only I could win the lottery, I would buy it and turn it into a retreat center, a sanctuary for people to come and catch up with themselves, to participate in silent or lead retreats for all denominations across the state. (But I digress.)

While I walked around the house taking photos, I imagined the four Bulluck children playing, free and safe to roam the considerable property. Growing up in Evanston, IL. the first suburb on the lake north of Chicago, the city provided many examples of Renaissance Revival buildings. You will recognize the style even if you couldn’t name what you are familiar with.

Chicago Loop area, Wacker Drive

Picture 1: Includes rusticated (heavily outlined) stonework on the ground floor, large round-arched windows, triangular pediments over the side windows, oval windows, and quoins to emphasize the corners.


Picture 2: Chicago, IL. Colonnaded, round arched windows supported by columns (below the string course), and gigantic triple-arched window reminiscent of the biforate windows of Renaissance palaces.




Picture 3: Chicago, IL. Includes arched, ground-floor windows, ornate window balconies.




Here is a great example of a residence in the Rennasance Revival style. 

For middle and upper-class suburban homes and townhouses, the style often displays a low-pitched, hipped, or flat roof, often with ceramic tiles to hint at its Mediterranean source region. Like the Italian Renaissance palazzo, the roofline includes wide, overhanging eaves with large, decorative brackets under the roofline. Doors and windows are often framed with round arches, primarily on the first floor, sometimes in the form of an Italian loggia or covered patio.

             The magnificent home of Z.B. Bulluck – A Rocky Mount architectural treasure


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Rocky Mount Welcomes Entrepreneurs – Meet Z.B. Bulluck – Part 1

Giving This Entrepreneur Our Utmost Consideration 

Meet Zebulon Benjamin Bulluck, born April 9, 1884 – April 6, 1981 – Proprietor and Operator of the leading Meat Market of Rocky Mount. The summer of 1905  Z.B. as he was called, entered the meat market business.  With considerable business acumen, treating all his customers with the ‘utmost consideration,’ and offering the best and freshest meat available, it was a business plan that brought him considerable success. At an early age of twenty-seven, his extensive real estate holdings would have reached twenty thousand dollars. Among other things, he became a valued and influential stockholder in the First National Bank of Rocky Mount, the only bank in the city at that time.

Z.B. Bullock married Foy May Williams in Edgecomb County on December 27, 1906. They had four children. Foy Mae Bulluck Branch -1914-2004,  Charlotte Bulluck Wyatt – 1916- 2002. Z.B. Bulluck, Jr. -1918-1986, – Thomas Wayne –1920-1989. Z.B. Bulluck’s 1917 World War 1 draft card will make you smile. It says he was thirty-four years old, medium height and weight, blue eyes, light hair. He and his wife were living at 230 Rose Street in Rocky Mount, NC.

Z.B. Bulluck developed the Englewood Subdivision on the western outskirts of the city, a 10-minute drive from Main Street. Driving on Sunset today it is hard to imagine how the undeveloped area might have looked when in 1927 the Bulluck House was built occupying an entire block that represents Englewood’s  early spaciousness and was the development’s premier resident.

Join me tomorrow for part 2 – The Renaissance Revival Architecture – The Bulluck Home

PS: A personal note – I have missed seeing you on Main Street having taken time out after the brief illness and death of my sweet boy, Bob Houghtlin. After a terrible cold, I have my energy back and have headed out the door to begin research and writing again. I appreciate your prayers and concern more than I can say.  THANK YOU!   I wanted to get back in the swing of things by writing about Z.B. Bulluck, an early Rocky Mount entrepreneur because Rocky Mount is all about entrepreneurship these days. We need men and women like Z.B. who work hard, treat people well, offer only the best. Mr. Bulluck had a vision for the community, offered his leadership and expertise, helped build a future. That’s exactly what we need in our entrepreneurs today, those who are already here and all those who are on their way.

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Main Street Rocky Mount Blog Honored – Sharing My Good News

Staff Writer
Monday, March 27, 2017
A local blogger has received state recognition for writing about downtown Rocky Mount.

Stepheny Houghtlin was named a Main Street Champion, which are individuals who have gone the extra mile in working to make their downtown successful, announced N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copland.

Houghtlin has a tremendous love for downtown Rocky Mount, said John Jesso, the city’s downtown development manager.

“If you do not subscribe to her blog Main Street Rocky Mount, you don’t know what you are missing,” Jesso said.

Houghtlin blogs about the opportunity and need for the community to get involved, Jesso said.

Downtown districts are important economic engines in North Carolina, Copeland said.
“The men and women we’re recognizing today are the people who keep those engines running, generating prosperity for communities all across North Carolina,” Copeland said.

Houghtlin blogged: “It is never too late to have a grand passion.”

Houghtlin has several passions. One is architecture. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to the magnificent architecture of the Windy City. Her interest in architecture was renewed when she came to Rocky Mount.

“Rocky Mount is a community rich in history and with a vast architectural inventory,” Houghtlin blogged.

Jesso said Houghtlin deserves the recognition because she doesn’t just talk about making a difference, she rolls up her sleeves and engages the community in sharing their stories.

“This year’s champions represent Main Street board members and volunteers, elected officials and city employees, developers, entrepreneurs, artists and leaders in the local food economy,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center.

Houghtlin and 35 other Main Street Champions across the state who have advocated for downtown revitalization were recognized for their commitment at a recent awards ceremony breakfast in Shelby. This year’s group of Main Street Champions brings the total number to 639 since Champions were first named in 2000. Today, the Main Street Center celebrates its 37th anniversary as the state’s leading resource in downtown revitalization.

Since 1980, the N.C. Main Street program has generated $2.5 billion in private and public investment. More than 22,400 cumulative NET new full-time and part-time jobs and 5,500 new businesses have been created in North Carolina Main Street districts since the program’s inception.
More information about the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center and its programs is available online at

Houghtlin’s blog can be found at

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Your Friend on Main Street – Asking For Your Prayers

Remembering Robert G. Houghtlin, Jr.

You have been keeping me company on Main Street since July 2015. We’ve spent time together remembering the interesting and wonderful people who have been a part of Rocky Mount’s Story and we have celebrated the many steps that are being taken in the revitalization of the place we call home. You might find me taking photographs in the middle of the road, or taking notes while listening to someone’s story. You know I can shed a tear with little provocation or clap my hands when celebrating the progress that is being made. I know you will understand if I tell you that I’m operating on a lower frequency than usual. My dear boy, Robert Houghtlin, Jr. slipped off early Monday morning. He was proud of my involvement in writing the blog and didn’t fuss when I knocked on strangers doors. I want to share the link where Bob’s obituary is posted on Wheeler & Woodlief web page, which I wrote in case you have time to help me honor this fine man.. I look forward to continuing the series on West Haven when I have my feet under me again. You’ll understand the delay. Until then, your prayers would be a blessing.


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Seeing the Beauty of Historic West Haven Through the Eyes of Its Architecture – Part 2

A Dry Stacked Stone Wall to Appreciate in Historic West Haven

 (The walls) endure in part because a rock is as near a definition of “forever” as exists. Do it right — square, plumb, and well-tied throughout — and the wall will be standing long after you and I and all our other accomplishments and failings are forgotten.”                               -John Vivian-How to Build a Dry Stone Wall

I’ve written about placing my hand on a brick when admiring the preservation of a building. Appreciating the stonework in West Haven is an opportunity, as deceased Irish Priest, author, poet, John O’Donohue says: “Draw alongside the silence of stone until its calmness can claim you.” I stood for a few moments before the stone wall pictured above. I’m not going to tell you where the wall is because you must go and find your own stone to find its calmness. The home on the right is fronted with a low stone wall and pictured is this stunning entrance pathway that speaks of lasting beauty. This is the 1930 Margaret Griffin House (1617 Rivera Drive) also referred to as Pine Hall.

The two-story brick Colonial Revival style house is laid in Flemish bond. The seven-bay symmetrical facade features decorative stone and brick work, including a stone frontispiece. This photo doesn’t do the house justice, I apologize, but it does show you the results of John Wells wisdom in specifying that only a minimum number of trees could be cleared during construction. An abundance of mature trees is part of the glory of West Haven. Haven’t we all driven through a neighborhood with beautiful homes and tried to imagine what our lives would be like if we walked through the front door of one of our favorites and called it home. Could you blame me when I stopped to take a closer look at 408 Wildwood? I’ll let it speak for itself, but the gardener in me said, “Oh, yes!”


 NEXT TIME: Part 3- Looking at Historic West Haven Through the Eyes of Its Architecture

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Seeing the Beauty of Historic District West Haven Through Its Architecture – Part 1

“A place without meaning is no place to be.”
Wayne Gerard Trotman

I experienced a glorious early spring day on March 9, 2017, while driving through the Historic District of West Haven. I knew the weather was a gift to relish because it would not last. Entering into a quiet world, free of traffic, it allowed me to take photographs while standing in the road, yet I was only a mile west of downtown. I was accompanied by bird song celebrating the day. LISTEN.  The photo on the right is Wildwood Park that sits along Waverly and Rivera Drive where I stood to breathe in the warm sun and birdsong, definitely a Lenten blessing.

What one appreciates immediately about West Haven is its curvilinear streets, the first planned neighborhood in Rocky Mount to deviate from the usual grid system found in the other Historic Districts. Like the beads on a rosary, we touch each esteemed name associated with the creation of this idyllic twenty-five block area that reminds us how important beauty is to our lives. We remember John Wells, the local civic engineer who was the developer and realtor for the 211 acres of wooded property. (1928) The architects Thomas Herman of Wilson and Harry Harles of Rocky Mount and….drum roll please….local contractors D.J. Rose and Samuel Toler, who built homes in West Haven.

Come, educate your eye! Let’s look at two Colonial Revival style homes that will help you recognize this style when you see it.  Many of you are fortunate to know the stories and the people that call these lovely places home. I had to use my imagination. When writing about the homes pictured in this post, I thought of the 1950’s  and the clothes that were worn, the music listened to, and the cars people drove. One doesn’t need the personal details of these homes to fall in love with these architectural treasures in yet another historic district of Rocky Mount. Whether it is a shotgun house, a bungalow, or a Colonial Revival, our cup runneth over with architectural gems.

On the right is an example of a typical Colonial Revival style home found in West Haven. This is the 1951 Robert Walker House at 515 Piedmont Avenue.  This two-story, brick house has a symmetrical three-bay facade with a recessed entrance with sidelights and side panels and a segmental arched wood transom over the door. Note the house is balanced by exterior end chimneys on the side elevations along with one-story wings on each end.

Here is a frame version of the Colonial Revival Style, the 1950 Edgar Joyner House at 322 Piedmont Avenue. A two-story, side gable house with beaded weatherboard siding with typical Revival style details that include dentils at the cornice, a symmetrical three-bay facade, and a pedimented portico supported classical columns. A one-story addition includes a side sun porch.

TOMORROW: Seeing the Beauty of West Haven through its Architecture – Part 2

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Celebrating The Rocky Mount Historic Districts – Why They Are Important

Central City Historic District

There is a reason why Rocky Mount’s seven historic districts matter. Neighborhoods preserve the historic, architectural, and aesthetic character and heritage of a community. They provide a sense of place and continuity that not only contributes to community pride but to a better understanding of how the future can be shaped. Thus the by-line of Main Street Rocky Mount …Honoring the past, building a future. I’ve changed a thought of author Walker Percy’s to suit my purposes – It means you’re a person living  Somewhere not just Anywhere.

Can you name the districts?

Central City Historic District Edgemont Historic District
Falls Road Historic District – Lincoln Park Historic District
Rocky Mount Mills Village Historic District
Villa Place Historic District
West Haven National Historic District                                                                                 Edgemont Historic District

The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s official list of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture. For a private owner, the chief practical benefit of National Register listing is eligibility for a federal and state investment tax credits that can be claimed against the cost of a certified rehabilitation of a historic building. The National Register was created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 to recognize and protect properties of historic and cultural significance.

NEXT TIME – The Historic District of Westhaven

You may want to read:

Edgemont- A Jewel in Rocky Mount’s Crown -Part 1

Villa Place Historic District-Taking a Chance on Love -Part 1

Historical Vila Place District

Historical Edgemont District

Historical Rocky Mount Mill Village District

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