The last of College Hill’s originally African American-owned homes is sold for the first time

1110 w. mcgee under renovation seen from the street

1110 W. McGee Street, the Booker-Benton House, built in 1923

1110 W. McGee Street has been sold for the first time since it was built in 1923. The Booker-Benton House is one of just two pre-1980’s houses left on the block. The area was once a rare African-American neighborhood in otherwise all-white west Greensboro.

“After the Civil War, African-American citizens sought to avoid high costs of land by living in the area alongside and behind the white-owned homes of South Mendenhall Street.  Some of these early residents purchased land from Cyrus P. Mendenhall, once mayor of the city and a Quaker. Others rented their homes. …

“During the Jim Crow Era of racial segregation, black residents in the neighborhood began to decrease in numbers as renters and homeowners relocated to traditional African American neighborhoods such as East Greensboro. Their modest College Hill homes were sometimes destroyed to make way for larger white-owned homes. By the 1970s, less than ten structures with African American associations remained in College Hill. All but one of those structures were razed to make way for condos by the Greensboro Redevelopment Commission in the early 1980s. The Booker-Benton House is likely the sole survivor.”

Benjamin Briggs, Preservation Greensboro

Sisters Mattie and Louie Booker bought the lot in 1919 and by 1923 were living in the house. “The Craftsman-style bungalow was stylish, incorporating a theme of Asian architecture that is exemplified in the low-pitched roofline, wide overhanging eaves, and exposed structural timbers such as rafter tails and knee braces,” Briggs wrote in 2017. “The sisters shared ownership of the house until their deaths. Louie Booker married Oscar Benton in 1935, and the house remains in the Benton family today through Oscar’s son Ted.”

Ted was the last family member to live in the house. He moved away a few years ago, and the house has been vacant since. An LLC called Signature 31 bought it last month for $60,000 (property records indicate the heirs of Maggie Bridges retain a 12 percent stake in the house). They are making significant renovations and have applied for a certificate of appropriateness. The Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the application Wednesday July 31, 4 p.m., at the Melvin Municipal Building, Plaza Level Conference Room.

Signature 31, a family-owned company, owns eight properties in Greensboro; the others were purchased between August 2015 and January this year. The four owners of the firm live in Summerfield and Wrightsville Beach. The family operates two other LLCs — Lehrer Properties, which owns 10 houses in Guilford County, and Creative Property Equity Corp.

Posted in Historic Preservation, McGee Street, Preservation Greensboro | Leave a comment

Nationally known minister and writer to be installed on Sunday as Church of the Covenant’s new pastor, and we’re all invited

headshot of mark sandlinThe Presbyterian Church of the Covenant will install its new pastor, the Rev. Mark Sandlin, next Sunday. The neighborhood is invited to attend the service, which will begin at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at 3 p.m.

Sandlin is a co-founder of The Christian Left website. He blogs at He also has written for and Sojourners, among others.

Sandlin has been serving as PCOC’s interim pastor since December 2015. He received his M. Div. from Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity. He holds undergraduate degrees in business administration and English.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog post, “The Overprivileged Judgement of John 3:16,” that provides an example of his views:

You see, for me John 3:16, is incomplete without 1 John 3:16 – or at least the meaning behind 1st John 3:16. Let me read them to you together. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

I’m much less concerned about what the theological question of atonement would encourage us to do and more concerned about what the life and teachings that lead to the cross would encourage us to do.

In my way of reading these verses, in John 3:16 we learn how far Jesus was willing to go to show us how much we are loved, then in 1st John 3:16 we learn how far we should be willing to go in response to that love to show others how much they are loved.

Far too often, those of us who consider ourselves, call ourselves, “Christian” forget to practice our faith as if these two verses go together.

Somehow, we don’t realize that on its own John 3:16 is only half the story. When we think it is the whole story, it is just a little bit too easy to feel slightly privileged, it is just a little bit too easy to measure the rest of the world by your own standards, judging whether people measure up rather than just loving them.

The truth is we all need to be a little bit better about turning our faith outward.

You see, as John 3:16 says, the ultimate sacrifice was made for us, but it’s not some sort of soul saving buffet – “Jesus did it, come and get it.” It comes with requirements, some assembly required, the work is not yet done.

Posted in Presbyterian Church of the Covenant | Tagged | Leave a comment

College Hill news in photos: Beautification volunteers needed, a vulture goes to church and more comings and goings

College Hill sign with well-tended flower bed

The neighborhood sign at McGee and Spring streets has been revived by volunteers, led by Beth Langlois (photo courtesy of Jack Whebb).

Beautification projects scheduled

The College Hill beautification team has scheduled work days for the next two Sunday afternoons, April 28 and May 5, noon to 3 p.m. both days. Volunteers — and anyone can volunteer, especially you — will meet at the pergola at Mendenhall and Walker. Projects include removing the hedge across the street from the pergola and tending some of the flower beds that need attention. Click here for more information.

steel being erected for new school of nursing building

The newest building on the UNCG campus is going up right next to the oldest.

New School of Nursing is coming up

Construction began in January 2018, and now steel is rising on the site of the new UNCG School of Nursing. The demolition of the McIver Building revealed a surprise — 9,000 cubic yards of granite that had to be moved. Completion has been pushed back to spring 2021 from the original fall 2020 date.

former cottage inn location with "for lease" sign in window

Are four enough? With Cottage Inn closed, Tate Street is down to New York Pizza, Slices, Sam’s Oven and Grill, and Manhattan Pizza and Subs for pizza.

So long, again, Cottage Inn

The Cottage Inn pizza restaurant on Tate Street has closed again. It originally opened early in 2018 and closed by summer. It eventually reopened and now is closed again. It’s almost as if there are too many pizza places on Tate Street.

storefront church being painted

The nondenominational tabernacle with its painting in progress

Paint job for storefront church

The gloriously named Power for Living Tabernacle Church on South Mendenhall Street has gotten a new coat of paint in a new color.

vulture spreads its wings atop the College Place UMC tower

A moment of peace and quiet before the crows arrive

A vulture visits the Methodists

One of our friendly neighborhood vultures stopped by College Place UMC this week. All it wanted was to stretch its wings for a moment, but it was quickly driven away by a murder of crows.

Posted in Animals, College Hill Neighborhood Association, College Place UMC, Tate Street, UNCG | Leave a comment

What to do about Edgar Street: Issue is on Monday’s agenda for the College Hill Neighborhood Association

gravel street with potholes filled with rainwater

A quiet moment on Edgar Street after a rainstorm

The issue of paving Edgar Street has come up periodically over the years. Back in the ’80s, city crews showed up without warning one day with asphalt trucks and road graders in tow, ready to pave the old alley. It’s said that two neighborhood residents stood in the way and wouldn’t move until the city backed down.

The issue has surfaced again and will be taken up at Monday’s meeting of the College Hill Neighborhood Association (7 p.m., Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street — enter through the door marked “Fellowship Hall” on Mendenhall). The neighborhood will hear from Mike Mabe, street maintenance manager for the city’s Field Operations Department, on the issues surrounding the possible paving of the street.

The reasons for paving Edgar are obvious — heavy rains leave huge ruts and potholes; dry spells lead to cars stirring up clouds of dust. But any potential plan to pave Edgar would have to address some other long-standing problems.

  • Cut-through traffic. The volume of traffic on Edgar is higher than a one-lane, two-way street should handle. Drivers on McGee Street heading to the Tate Street business district use Edgar to cut through from McGee to Carr Street or to go through the Sushi Republic parking lot. Jimmy John’s drivers use it because Walker Avenue’s one-way section blocks them from going directly to Tate Street from their parking lot.
  • Congestion at Edgar and Carr. Much of that cut-through traffic turns onto or off of Edgar at Carr Street, clogging the street just a few feet from the often-crowded intersection of Carr and Tate.
  • The city’s inconsistent attitude on whether Edgar is actually a city street. City crews maintain the street. City garbage trucks use it like a street. Edgar has city streetlights, and there are green “Edgar Street” signs at the corners where it meets Rankin Place, Carr and Walker. But the water department passes the buck whenever there’s an issue on Edgar, claiming it’s not a city street. And apparently there’s no written record of the city taking ownership of the street from College Hill’s original developer.

For decades, inertia has kept at bay any solutions to Edgar’s problems, but some cooperation from the city and a consensus from the neighborhood could make Edgar a safer, quieter and even less dusty little street.

Posted in Carr Street, City Government, Edgar Street, McGee Street, Rankin Place, Tate Street, Traffic, Walker Avenue | Leave a comment

Architectural Salvage visits McIver Street, hauls away 5,500 pounds of doors, windows and other reusable materials

old house with two front porches, one on the first floor and one on the second

115 McIver, built in 1919, must have been a grand house back when homes lined both sides of the street and extended all the way to Walker Avenue.

UNCG soon will tear down three of the McIver Street houses that it owns. Before the wrecking crew arrives, the school allowed Architectural Salvage of Greensboro to go in and take out dozens of doors, windows, radiators and radiator covers, push-button light switches, molding, built-in bookcases and other parts of the houses that can be reused. ASG volunteers removed and hauled away some 5,500 pounds of materials that will be sold for homeowners and builders to use in renovations of other older homes.

Volunteers spent three days in the houses last week. 111 McIver was a nice little 1940 bungalow in its day. 113 McIver had so much mold and mildew inside that just walking into the place took an act of courage. 115 McIver, with its double front porches, was the grandest of the three but had long ago slipped into decay as a rental property.

The job isn’t finished yet. ASG volunteers will strip hardware, remove nails from molding and get everything cleaned up for sale.

The Architectural Salvage showroom is at 1028-B Huffman Street in East Greensboro. Hours are Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment.

claw-foot bathtub

A claw-foot tub that was saved; photo from the ASG Instagram account:

old house with overgrown vegetation

The stone chimney and columns at 113 McIver weren’t salvageable, sadly.



Posted in Historic Preservation, UNCG | Tagged , | 1 Comment

News from Tate Street: ‘Uncle Pete’ passes away; an Easter Egg hunt is planned; and a vulture wants sushi

All the news in College Hill over the past week or so involves Tate Street:

headshot of Uncle PeteUncle Pete passes away

The longtime Tate Street figure known as Uncle Pete has died. Pete and his pal Ricky were familiar fellows on the street for years.

“Pete (and Ricky) has been a Tate St regular for years and are known to a lot of people who went to UNCG or just spent a lot of time in that area,” a message on the r/GSO Reddit page says.

“If you didn’t know his name you’ve probably given him a cig or some change. He was just a good dude, super friendly, and looked out for the kids. He wouldn’t hold it against you if you didn’t have anything to give him, and he was happy to give what he could.”

A number of people recalled how protective he was of the younger residents of the neighborhood. “Used to live on Walker Ave in a house with a bunch of girls,” another post says. “I’ll never forget Pete telling us to ‘yell real loud’ for him if anyone ever bothered us.”

“I used to live on Walker with 3 other girls in our early 20s,” a similar post reads. “Pete would always come by to check on us, hang out a bit and run off anyone who stopped by that he considered of lesser character. He was a good guy.”

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to raise money for a funeral; as of midday Sunday, it had raised $3,560. “Pete doesn’t really have much family that are able to do anything to help and the GoFundMe is going to be used to help offset the costs of his cremation/Urn and provide a public memorial service somewhere out in the open so that all who want to attend are able to attend,” another Reddit message says.

Easter Egg hunt on Saturday April 13

Tate Street merchants are sponsoring an East Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 13, starting at noon at Boba House. Prizes will be provided by Boba House, Sisters Jewelry and Gifts and Tate Street Coffee House. There will be different levels of difficulty, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

a vulture sits atop Sushi Republic



A vulture visits Sushi Republic

A vulture was spotted at Sushi Republic last Sunday, possibly one of the two spotted in March just a few houses away. Sorry, guy — closed on Sunday! They’ve also been spotted in a backyard on Walker Avenue near Fulton Street.

vulture takes flight over tate street

and away it goes

Posted in Animals, Tate Street | Tagged | 1 Comment

College Hill news: Here comes the sun. It seems like years since it’s been here.

commercial building on Spring Garden Street at Mendenhall with its classic neighboring house

901 Spring Garden Street, new home of VanderVeen Photographers

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter, but spring has brought a break in the clouds and at least a temporary respite from winter’s (and 2018’s) onslaught of rain.

901 Spring Garden

The mid-century commercial building at 901 Spring Garden Street has been sold. UNCG had been renting the place, once the Clothesline store, from Mary Garvey. She now has sold it to Rebecka and Bert VanderVeen. They’ll use it as a studio for their business, VanderVeen Photographers.

Street repaving

For those who missed the discussion on Nextdoor, the city plans to repave South Mendenhall Street this year but no other College Hill streets. The neighborhood was told last year, when the city dug up the neighborhood’s streets (twice), that they would be repaved after the water and sewer work was done. For anyone who thought they meant this year, we now know they actually meant the streets will be repaved someday after the water and sewer work, which ended six months ago, too late to make the city’s repaving schedule for 2019.

The city says there’s a chance that Rankin, Carr, Tate and Joyner could be repaved next year, with McGee and Walker maybe in 2021 and the rest in the fullness of time.

Neighborhood Association

The College Hill Neighborhood Association is about to renovate the landscaping at the 14 street-corner planting areas around the neighborhood. If you’re interested in volunteering to help, please let us know. For more information, see this post on Nextdoor. … The neighborhood association also is working with the city to replace College Hill’s decrepit trash bins. The city has randomly removed, without replacing, some that had been hit by cars or had tops that were jammed half-open because of poor design. Most that remain also have been hit by cars or have tops that are jammed half-open because of poor design. We’re likely to get replacements like the new ones in the Tate Street business district.

Edgar Street paving

The April 22 neighborhood association meeting will include a discussion with city officials about the possible paving of Edgar Street. More information on that will be posted before the meeting.

Posted in Businesses, Carr Street, City Government, College Hill Neighborhood Association, Edgar Street, Joyner Street, Mendenhall Street, Rankin Place, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, UNCG, Walker Avenue | Tagged | 1 Comment

Two visitors bring greetings from the goddess Isis

two big black birds atop a chimney

Two unfamiliar visitors spotted Monday on Tate Street

Hawks and owls are familiar sights in College Hill, but these two guys look like a new breed of visitor. The black vultures — or possibly some kind of buzzard, if there’s actually any difference between them — were perched atop a chimney in the 300 block of Tate Street on Monday.

For those seeking a symbolic or spiritual meaning in their presence, there’s a wide variety to choose from — cleansing and transformation, the protection of the goddess Isis, a sign to be patient with ourselves and think things through, or — a more traditionally American sentiment — God’s judgment of shame.

Posted in Animals, Tate Street | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The official 2019 every-other-week recycling schedule, in case you didn’t get it in the mail, or you lost it or your dog ate it

Posted in City Government | Leave a comment

From the mean streets of College Hill: News, warnings and coming soon to Tate Street: dumplings

Warning No. 1: Risk of bottoming out on Tate Street

a white car sits across a sidewalk avfter bottomong out while trying to enter alley off tate street

The alleyway running from the 100 block of Tate Street to McIver looks innocent enough, but when entering from Tate Street, watch out. This car bottomed out on the sidewalk Friday morning, requiring a tow truck to rescue it. The driver said he had driven up from McIver before and gotten out onto to Tate with no problem. He wasn’t the first driver this has happened to. Don’t take anything for granted there.

News from Tate Street: A non-pizza restaurant is coming

storefront with sign reading, "Coming Soon! May Way Dumplings"

It turns out there actually is one type of restaurant that hasn’t been tried on Tate Street: dumplings. The upfitting of the former University Laundry location, next to China Wok, appears to be nearly complete for the opening of May Way Dumplings. The restaurant looks to be a Greensboro location for a shop in Winston-Salem’s Reynolda Village.

For a limited time only: The ’60s come back to the Weatherspoon

pop-art portraits of james brown and others

“Boisterous prints by Robert Stanley, printed in bright colors on Day-Glo paper, glorify some of the important musical icons of the decade: the Beatles, James Brown, Dionne Warwick, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and the Shirelles.”

The Weatherspoon’s contribution to UNCG’s yearlong look at the 1960s is a lively exhibition featuring a large sample of the museum’s collection of works by Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus and Larry Clark, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others. “1960s: A Survey of the Decade” will be up until February 17, and it’s a terrific example of why the WAM is considered one of the leading museums of modern and contemporary art in the Southeast. A separate exhibit features Warhol’s prints, Polaroids and photographs, also from the museum’s collection.

Another current exhibition, “Dread & Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World,” also is worth a long look.

Warning No. 2: Parking tickets are no joke

pickup truck with not one but two Denver boots on it

The dreaded Denver boot on South Mendenhall Street on Friday

parking ticket crumpled up on the ground

Someone’s asking for it.

It’s not too unusual to see a car get the boot for unpaid parking tickets, but this scofflaw apparently had enough to merit the parking-enforcement version of double-secret probation.

Be advised: There aren’t enough parking-enforcement officers to ticket every culprit, but they do come around reasonably often. And when they’ve had enough of you, they will boot you.


Posted in Businesses, Mendenhall Street, Parking, Tate Street, UNCG, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts, Weatherspoon Art Museum | Leave a comment