(pictured above: The historic building was constructed with George Black’s bricks.)
A local developer is hoping his latest venture raises the standard of quality in the congested downtown living market, while also raising the profile of one of the city’s most accomplished native sons.
“I am very excited that we were able to do this,” said Benton, who will live in one of the units. “To many of the people in the West End, this is one of the signature buildings of the neighborhood. I hope everybody likes it and thinks we have treated the building properly.”
The YWCA left the building for its Gateway facility several years ago. The Glade Street Building was constructed in 1941 with thousands of red bricks handmade by the legendary George H. Black.
“The whole building, the exterior of the building, is a historic landmark now because of his bricks,” said Benton, the son of former Winston-Salem mayor M.C. Benton.
Black, the son of a former slave, was responsible for many of the bricks that helped to create Winston-Salem – literally.
According to the National Register of Historic Places, Black hauled bricks for a white brickmaker before starting his own brickyard and establishing a reputation for making quality and durable bricks.
When Benton purchased the building and began to renovate it, he made the decision to preserve Black’s work. State Rep. Evelyn Terry, Black’s granddaughter, is grateful for that.
“This is wonderful, and what Bill has done there is marvelous. I am honored that folks are recognizing the handiwork of a son of an old slave who found a way of making a life in Winston-Salem by making these bricks,” she said. “People are still marveling at how sturdy and beautiful they are. It is quite an achievement and it says an awful lot about who my grandfather was.”
Black’s bricks are at home in the West End, a neighborhood just on the outskirts of the heart of downtown that is filled with historic buildings and sites, The Glade at West End building among them; it was designated a historic landmark in November.
Benton has coupled the building’s rich legacy and impeccable exterior with units that boast features like hardwood floors and fireplaces. The building has also met all the environmental and sustainability standards of the United States Green Building Council.
The one-to-two bedroom condos range in price from $224,000 to $575,000 and are being sold through Leonard Ryden Burr Realty.
Construction is expected to begin soon on another phase of The Glade at West End – up to 15 single family homes adjacent to the condos.
Terry hopes the project leads more people to learn about Black, who died in 1980 at age 101.
“The opportunity to save a building and repurpose it is always an exciting challenge,” Terry said. “It is great to see new life in that area … It is exciting.”
Black’s home and brickyard at 111 Dellabrook Road are listed as state and national historic landmarks. In 2007, the city erected a marker at the site delineating Black’s many contributions.