Home Sweet Home – The American Bungalow – Save Rocky Mount’s Bungalows

At the turn of the century, bungalows, equipped with the latest conveniences, helped fulfill Americans’ wishes for their own home. The bungalow’s popularity was the idea that simplicity and artistry could be combined in one affordable house. The appreciation for bungalows include the fact that serious architecture was found outside the realm of the rich. Bungalows allowed people of modest means to achieve something they had long sought: respectability. With its special features – style, convenience, simplicity, sound construction, the bungalow provided fulfillment of the American dream. The bungalow was practical, and it symbolized for many the best of the good life.

Most bungalows were constructed between 1880 to 1930 in the United States. A bungalow’s distinction is its low profile and most of the living space on one floor. Before World War I, a small bungalow could be built for $900. The bungalow became the architecture of the city and its suburbs.

Open Your Eyes to Possibilities – Restoration – A Thing of Beauty!
A Craftsman style bungalow I found in Goldsboro

I could have exchanged these photographs for boarded up, neglected, detierorating bungalows in Wards 1-4. I have these photos. But, I think of it this way…..When praying for people who are ill, I never picture them sick and captured by illness. If they love to walk, I see them vigorously walking. Perhaps on the tennis court, digging in their gardens. I’m confident that our bodies want to be well. I pray for open hands to receive healing. I look at the boarded housing through the lens of a beautiful restored home. I remember the safe neighborhood I grew up in, the smell of cut grass, the beautiful architecture of my home.

Join me in imploring the leadership that will be handling the HUD GRANT to set aside, “What is in this for me?” Beyond saving our bungalows and shotgun housing, remember this!

“Rehabilitating historic properties conserves taxpayers’ dollars, conserves our local heritage, and conserves the natural environment. Rehabilitating historic buildings and using the infrastructure that is already in place to serve them is the height of fiscal and environmental responsibility.” – Donovan Rypkema , Place Economics

PS: An invitation from Stepheny – Did you know you can listen to the 5 minute podcast, Talking Main Street With Stepheny at any time you please. The latest episode, after watching hours of the Afghanistan news coverage, gave me further insight into our leadership on the Council. Click on the link below and catch up with the episodes on your time. I hope you enjoy this platform where I can talk Main Street Thanks.



Let’s All Make Some Ripples

A Pebble Thrown in Water

I hope you are finding five minutes to listen to my Podcast, Talking Main Street With Stepheny. It has surprised me how much can be said in a short time. When I first started this blog, I asked a college granddaughter, to help me, and she downloaded WordPress, and gave me a few simple instructions. By guess and by golly, and help from younger friends, I carried on.

I am proud to say that I added to Facebook a Main Street page where photographs say more than words about the preservation, restoration and repurposing of our architectural inventory. The posts on my repetitive push to save the shot gun houses, the bungalows, the neighborhoods at risk, seem to be of interest to the readers. This page has 1004 followers so far. I learned how to use Instagram and finally added the Podcast. It is all a work in progress, but I’m smarter today than the day I started. I was determined not to be left behind in these matters.

If you don’t know about Canva.com, it is a free download of templates you can work with to spiff up the looks of your social media. Below is one I created to announce today’s podcast. I think it is effective, I hope you do too. For someone who can’t draw a straight line, a program like Canva satisfies my creative urge which is fun.

Learning how to use social media helps me reach people about Main Street and beyond. Someone told me, “I’m enthusiastic now because you are.” One of my goals is for you to see the possibilities with a determined eye to be part of the solution, not the problem. I want you to join me in making ripples. Listen to the podcast for the meaning and the means to do so. CLICK ON : http://anchor.fm/stepheny-houghtlin

Stepheny Announces Her New Role: Campaign Manager, Blogger, Podcaster For City Council Election March 8, 2022

I am temporarily amused with the image of the woman running around with her hair on fire. No one else need apply for the position, I have taken it on for now. It all started when I was spending significant time with James Baker, who I have always admired, while collecting my thoughts about the upcoming City Council Elections. One of the Baker books I read is called The Art of Politics According to James Baker. It was time well spent and my admiration for the life and times of James Baker runs deeper. I knew the most about his time as Secretary of State under President George Bush. It was endlessly fascinating to read about the Reagan and Bush years, two men James Baker loved and served.

Beyond time with Baker for pure enjoyment, it was a jump start I needed after identifying Ward #2 and the replacement of Councilman Rueben Blackwell as the most important race in the 2022 election. I have been to the Board of Elections. I have print-outs that tell me there are 2,196 registered voters in #2. That 1,458 votes were cast on 11/3/20 election. I even paid $4.00 to have a map of the Ward. (The lady with her hair on fire is underway.)

James Baker ran election campaigns for three presidents. It was he who posed the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” How about we ask Ward #2 about being better off than 21 years ago? I loved President Reagan’s words to the Joint Session of the Congress. “The people are watching and waiting,” he said. “They don’t demand miracles, but they do expect us to act.”

Here is Pete Armstrong on August 2, 2021 Announcing his candancy Ward #7

James Baker talks about “Prior preparation to prevent poor performance.” How I would love a woman in Ward #2 to bring forth the CHANGE that is needed there. More important, that the registered voters in #2 would say, IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE.

PLEASE take less than 5-minutes and listen to the newest podcast about the change that is needed in the upcoming City Council election. Episode 15: anchor.fm/stepheny-houghtlin

I Choose the Possibilities in Life, the Beautiful and the Good

The title for this blog post comes from the latest podcast published today. I love creating the blog, Main Street Rocky Mount, and the podcast, Talking Main Street with Stepheny. These platforms allow me to talk about the preservation, restoration and repurposing of the commercial architecture downtown and the breadth of residential architecture throughout the Wards. The Facebook page with the same name as the blog is fun too. Each platform has its own opportunity to learn the language of Main Street. The theme, Honoring the Past, Building a Future, continues to guide the content of my efforts.

The #14th Episode of the podcast has now been published. The story-telling I weave through an episode comes from my reading life that began with the books of my childhood up to and including the last two books I’ve just read about James Baker during the Reagan, Bush years.

I have finished writing a 3rd novel that I can’t seem to release into the reading life of others just yet. Research, reading and the writing that follows brings me great joy. Along the way, it stills surprises me when someone tells me, “I read your blog.” There are times when I dare to hope that cheerleading for Main Street has reawakened an interest, even pride in the place we call home. We all have a part in the chorus, and my part includes stamping my foot from time to time, using my voice to encourage people to take a stand when it comes to the dodgy business that lines the pockets of those who work the system, and believing as I do, in the reimagining of Rocky Mount.

There are countless people in Rocky Mount that are the best kind of people anywhere. God-fearing, generous, talented, tireless, smart, and hopeful. Those brothers and sisters living in unacceptable housing, unsafe neighborhoods, are the focal point and the reason I write about Main Street. If you can take 5-minutes to listen to my point of view in this latest podcast, I hope you will agree about living peacefully side by side and the dignity of improved housing, pride in ownership, living the American dream.

Ward #1

Podcast Link: anchor.fm/stepheny-houghtlin

Join Me For A New 5 Minute Podcast -July 14, 2021

I am having fun with another social media opportunity to talk about Main Street Rocky Mount, NC. It’s called Podcasting! The basketball expression…let the game come to you…has proved to be true when it comes to the subject of each episode. Something is happening downtown or the latest book I’m reading jump starts my imagination.

I must say that two weeks in the mountains with a five year old great-grandchild drained my imagination battery. “Grammy, tell me a story.” This request comes with directions. “I want a story about a queen who has scraped her knee and is in the forest.” I introduced a new story line about fairies. We each added our ideas to the telling. Annaclaire has learned to whistle, so the stories had parts when she whistled in the background while I spoke. The stories must start with Once Upon a Time, but soon have a life of their own. The questions are important. “Grammy, do you believe in fairies? Are they real?”

When I tell stories about Main Street it is because I do believe in repurposing the commercial architecture in historic downtown. I am fascinated with the world of preservation. And yes, the results are real.

When it came to this week’s episode, I reread a book my mother read to me called, A Tree for Peter. I’m not sure what became of the original copy of the book but I will explain further during the podcast. Whether it is writing the blog, or creating a new podcast, my reading life has come into play more than I could have imagined. How grateful I am that my interior life is cluttered with books. These books are there when I need them. When I began creating the podcasts, I hoped that storytelling would add to the perspective I bring. A favorite book from childhood was the backdrop for Episode #13.

CLICK ON THIS LINK http://anchor.fm/stepheny-houghtlin

What You Will Find at the Top of the Stairs: Emerson Esthetics and Medspa

What you will find is a beautiful space on the second floor of a restored building owned by Witt and Robert Barnes at 200 Sunset Street facing Howard Street. Witt & Robert are both natives of Rocky Mount, NC. who have a stake in the revitalization of historic downtown.


Cortne Pope, born and raised in Rocky Mount, NC across from City Lake has opened a new business on the second floor of the Sorsby Building. This beautiful young woman graduated from Rocky Mount High School. She attended Howard University in Washington, DC and Shaw University in Raleigh earning a biology degree. She fell in love with nursing at Nash Community College and continues to work in that profession today. In 2020, she found the space and location she’d been looking for. Emerson Esthetics opened in May of 2021 in the Sorsby Place building.

“The International Spa Association defines a medical spa differently than a day spa. A medspa has a licensed medical professional on-site, able to provide services not readily available through conventional spa facilities. The majority of medspas take a more comprehensive approach to treatments while simultaneously offering the relaxation and wellness attributes found in a day spa setting.”

Emerson Esthetics provides advanced treatments such as I-V and immunity infusions. I’ve had a facial with Cortne who explained step by step as we went along. When I look in the mirror, the effects continue to reveal themselves with dry skin renewing itself. One facial doesn’t make you a beauty queen, but I do look ‘more better.’

Cortne said, “I could have opened my business elsewhere, but it was important to me to open the spa in Rocky Mount.” We have a building saved and repurposed, a new business created, with spectacular results, a team of wellness and beauty specialists are waiting at the top of the stairs to take care of you. You will make a lovely new friend as I have, Cortne Pope, who has planted her flag in historic downtown Rocky Mount.

I feel lucky to have experienced a moment in time that is the emerging downtown. Standing with Cortne, we looked out the impressive palladium window on to Howard Street. A man was working on his car. He looked up and waved. We waved back. Cortne motioned him to come over. What a blessing this turned out to be. It was Garland Jones, pastor of Mount Zion Christian Church on the corner of Sunset and Main, backing up to Howard Street. At least 45 minutes later we hugged goodbye. Filled with good Garland Jones stories and a few history lessons, I was having a Stepheny kind of day. I’m still smiling! It was a Spa day and the company of lovely and interesting new friends. My photos never do things justice, but iI will give you a look into the new wellness and beauty world of Emerson Esthetics. Way Cool!

Episode 11: Celebrating the 4th of July with Patrotic Hearts

I suggest celebrating this 4th of July, 2021, in a mindful way in the light of the war within the country over the mind and soul of America. Most of you know I started a weekly, 5-minute podcast, Talking Main Street with Stepheny. Though a few days early, Episode 11 is about Celebrating the 4th with a patriotic heart. I hope my point of view will cause you to do your own remembering of what the 4th symbolizes in your experience and the preserving of our nation.

Episode 25: Stepheny Is Cheerleading for You Talking Main Street With Stepheny

Stepheny thinks of herself as your keen observer, your researcher, your tour guide looking at the shotgun and bungalow housing in need of a new life. In her enthusiasm, she hopes to have you feel that way too. She believes in the downtown stakeholders and writes about them, so you come to know them and want to support their businesses. She tells a new story, talks about the expiration date coming due on a city council seat up for election, and believes successful revitilization must include everyone. #Preservation   #Historic Restoration #Main Street Rocky Mount, NC 
  1. Episode 25: Stepheny Is Cheerleading for You
  2. Episode 24: RESPECT – Troy Davis Cuts the Ribbon of Opportunity: Living Above the Store
  3. Episode 23: What Does Charing Cross Road Have To Do With Main Street?
  4. Episode 22: The Proposed City Land Grant
  5. Episode 21: The Moe Deloach Generation: Picking Up The Right End of The Stick

Save The Shotgun Houses of Rocky Mount With Hud Grant Money

These little gems are in Ward #4. I believe T.J. Walker, Councilman, has a heart for saving them. The more the Ward gets involved with their neighborhood housing, chances increase that others will join in the financial end of saving them. The possibilities of this significant housing has been ignored. The state of them proves this is so. Over the roofs of these small homes fly’s the banner of RESTORATION. Make saving the shotguns a priority in Wards 1-4 where the bulk of them are.

I’m all excited because $1.4 million in grant money is coming from Hud. These grants are used to build, purchase and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or providing direct rental assistance to low-income people.

What an opportunity to change the lives of people who have been living the reality of blighted and unsafe housing. I talk on todays new 5-minute podcast, Talking Main Street with Stepheny, about this grant money; the opportunity and my concerns. Hope you will listen in PODCAST Link:


PODCAST: anchor.fm/stepheny-houghtlin

Podcast Day: “Every Brick Wants to be Something.”

I hope you have started listening to the 5-minute podcast, Talking Main Street with Stepheny. The brick of Rocky Mount is near to my heart. I would like you to appreciate the beauty of brick in the commercial architecture of Main Street and beyond. I’m learning ‘more better’ with each episode. Put brick on your radar and enjoy the scene.

Living Above The Store – A Brick Wall in Play

HERE IS THE AUDIO FOR EPISODE 9 – “Every Brick Wants to be Something