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Sunnyside Handout

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Sunnyside Handout

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Sunnyside Handout

  1. 1. 1 2 Our stroll through the Sunnyside neighborhood today is an initial overview of its very rich history. Though there are no books (yet) written about this part of Staunton, we fortunately have the memories of some of its inhabitants as well as references in court records, the early city directories and books about other parts of the city,. As a historically African American neighborhood, there is less surviving written material about this section of town than some others. Though there were, over its history, 3 African American newspapers in Staunton, very few pages of these survive and are available. But there are those with deep memories who can help us explore the story of this remarkable neighborhood. We begin at the old Coke Bottling plant, once site of “Gallows Town” and the Staunton Theater and “Colored Dance Hall”. From there we look south on Augusta Street toward the churches, a very important center of spiritual and cultural life of the community. This street was rich with African American businesses of all sorts and these are noted on our maps, which Amy Arnold has created for us. From here we head east on Sunnyside St. with references to the dwellings on southern New Street, many of which were built in the earlier part of the 20th century by John Harden, a community leader and past president of the Staunton NAACP. Further up we stop at the “House of Prayer”, which was the original Booker T. Washington school in the city. Long forgotten, this handsome building was designed by Collins & Son. We recently searched and discovered that we have the full set of architectural drawings in our collection at the Smith Center! Here, we’ll learn a little about local African American schools of the period from Laten Bechtel, whose book about the topic is referenced on this handout. We’ll also hear a few memories from Clinton Davis who actually attended this institution when it was later renamed D. Webster Davis. Further on we note an example of one of the families of the neighborhood. We hear a bit about Stuart Tate, the gentleman who came out of slavery and later bought a home here. In this home at 219 Sunnyside lived brick masons, builders, teachers, an athlete who broke color barriers, a Tuskegee airman and Clinton, the great grandson of Stuart Tate who shares some of his family and neighborhood stories with us. From here we move to the corner of Rose St. where we look up Sunnyside toward the site of Stuart’s brickmaking facility beyond Tams Street. We turn west on Rose to enter “Baptist Alley” and hear about this very close-knit neighborhood, complete with a “Club” and women who looked after all the children as their own. Memories of those days survive from Charlie Calloway, who tells us about growing up on the “alley” and some of his observations about integration. We then head west on Caroline St. to the corner of Augusta and our last stop at Marino’s, originally an African American store, Charles Taylor’s Grocery. Sunnyside Booker T Washington School on Sunnyside Street, later renamed D. Webster Davis School. Historic Staunton Foundation | 20 South New Street, Staunton, VA 24401 adminhsf@historicstaunton.org | www.historicstaunton.org
  2. 2. 3 Sunnyside Historic Staunton Foundation’s Preservation Brown Bag Series April 1, 2016 Selma Newtown Sears Hill Basic Witz Uniontown Plunkettville West End SUNNYSIDE Marriage license of Stuart Tate, born a slave in Augusta County.Early owner of 219 Sunnyside Street and brickyard. Credit: Clinton Davis, great-grandson of Stuart Pannell’s Inn. 1940’s-era ads described as a “Home for Colored Tourists. 613 North Augusta Street Many thanks to Clinton Davis, Charlie Calloway, and Laten Bechtel and others for their contributions to the tour! If you wish to continue the conversation, please stay in touch with these pillars of the community!

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