HIGH POINT, N.C. — A newly formed civic group believes it’s time for a historic neighborhood to gain local recognition.
During segregation, High Point’s Washington Street was the center of African-American business and culture. Today, the long row of bustling businesses is gone, but not forgotten. In 2010, the neighborhood made it on the National Register of Historic Places. But a new group, the Washington Street Preservation Society, believes it’s time for the neighborhood outside of downtown High Point to receive a local honor. Rishaunda Moses is a member of the civic organization.
“We are not exactly sure how the area was overlooked,” Moses said. “There are three other locally designated areas in High Point. Whatever the reason, we think that now is the time to correct that.”
The Washington Street Preservation Society is taking the first steps to obtain a historic district designation for Washington Street. A historic district label will help maintain the historic character of the neighborhood. Plus, some feel the historic designation from the city will bring an extra layer of pride. Dr. Carl Little has a dentist office on Washington Street. The practice is inside of the same building his father built and practiced dentistry in 1952. So Little is in favor of regulations that will help guide current and future development.
“I think it would be a great thing for us in the black community,” Little said. “To have this district recognized locally, it really should have been done a long time ago.”
Dr. Burdell Knight lives near Washington Street. Knight and others feel the local historic district classification will give Washington Street an extra layer of pride.
“The more you know about your culture, the more you know about your history, then you can feel good about it,” Knight said. “It’s one of the things recognizing it locally would help to create.”
It’s also possible that the historic district identification could help bring in new businesses that want the added charm of being in a historic neighborhood.
“We want to revitalize this area, bring businesses back to this area,” Moses said. “We also want to celebrate the history and get the word out so this is very helpful.”
The Washington Street Preservation Society will meet with High Point’s Historic Preservation Commission. The next likely step is a meeting with Guilford County officials to see if Washington Street.
Currently, High Point has three historic districts. Johnson Street, Sherrod Park and West High Avenue.