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Wake Forest – Looking Back in Time – 1915 & 2013

Our modern Wake Forest seems comfy and cozy. We love it. It’s home.

But Wake Forest has also been home to many previous generations. While the people change and pass on, parts of the old town remain.

Recently we came across a 1915 map of Wake Forest that paints a much different picture of our little town nearly one hundred years ago.

Back in 1915 both homes and businesses were not as prevalent as they are today. Rather than try to launch into an overall comparison, which would become a book, we thought it would be easier to digest the differences in chunks and bits.

The first part to look at is one where we can clearly see the old still hanging out. Let’s look at the corner of S. White Street and E. Jones Avenue right in downtown Wake Forest, NC.

Aerial view of S. White Street and E. Jones Avenue.

Aerial view of S. White Street and E. Jones Avenue.

To give you a point of reference, the Wake Forest Coffee Company is located at the end of the red arrows. But in 1915 that wasn’t a coffee place, but a grocery and hardware store.

Location of Wake Forest Coffee Company.

Location of Wake Forest Coffee Company.

Here is a front view of those old buildings.

(From L to R) Storytellers Book Store, Wake Forest Coffee Company, The Purple Door Day Spa,

(From L to R) Storytellers Book Store, Wake Forest Coffee Company, The Purple Door Day Spa,

The 1915 map shows both wooden buildings in yellow and brick buildings in the bricky color. The wooden structures are long gone but the brick buildings remain. It’s probably a really great commercial endorsement about the power of brick.

The most interesting revelation about the 1915 map was the location of a well and pump in the middle of the dirt roads.

The Old 1915 Wake Forest.

The Old 1915 Wake Forest.

If you look at the 1915 map where it shows stairs between some buildings, you can still see those same staircases in the exact same locations today.

For example, you can see the stairs on the 1915 map between the grocery and wholesale grocery. Today those same stairs are located between Solid Sounds TV and Waynes.

Solid Sounds TV was a Wholesale Grocery. Wayne's was a Grocery in 1915.

Solid Sounds TV was a Wholesale Grocery. Wayne’s was a Grocery in 1915.

If we just look at the second story of the Next Consignment Boutique, which in 1915 was a hardware and grocery store, it looks like we have leapt back in time. This is what it would have looked like back then if you were walking down S. White Street on a blue sky day and looked upstairs.

Pull out the time machine. We are going back to 1915.

Pull out the time machine. We are going back to 1915.

It seems almost impossible to get the right angle from an aerial shot to match the drawings from 1915 but here is a close effort. It turns out the modern wide angle lens on the camera slung under the aerial vehicle put a bit of a bow in the image but you get the idea of how old and new lined up.

Old Wake Forest Over New Wake Forest.

Old Wake Forest Over New Wake Forest.

If we add old labels to our modern 2013 buildings you can see what became of the old shops.

What Became of the Old Places.

What Became of the Old Places. The Blue Dot is the Approximate Location of the Old Well.

If you enjoyed this look back, let us know in the comments are we’ll be happy to do more.

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