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Historic Resources Commission - Oct. 20, 2014
A local historic marker commemorating the Belews Street neighborhood will be unveiled at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at the roundabout for Third Street and Research Parkway. The neighborhood once stood on the east side of downtown, on land now occupied by U.S. 52, Business Interstate 40 and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Speakers at the unveiling will include Mayor Allen Joines; Council Members Vivian H. Burke and Derwin L. Montgomery; N.C. Sen. Earline Parmon; Eric Thomlinson, the president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter; and former resident Barbara Morris.
The Belews Street neighborhood developed ca. 1900 and largely stood where present-day U.S. 52 and Business 40 intersect. By the early 1940s, the mixed-race neighborhood became one of predominantly working-class African-Americans, many of whom were employees of the local tobacco industry. In addition to single-family houses, the neighborhood included apartments, churches, and schools, as well as grocery stores, service stations, restaurants, and dry cleaners. Former residents remember a strong, cooperative spirit in the neighborhood where everyone was considered family. People began leaving the Belews Street neighborhood in 1958 as land was acquired and cleared for construction of U.S. 52.