People and Places

It's not the physical structures that create a historic district, it's the people. Although places are important, they would not exist at all without the people who create the history within them. The Green and Garfield district which surround the Green Street Cemetery is full of the memory of pioneers who built what became the heart of the African American community in Statesville.

Dr. Robert S. Holliday (right) arrived in Statesville in 1908 and opened a medical practice on Garfield Street. Mary Charlton (right) arrived in 1915 as Jeanes Supervisor to the Black schools in the county. The two were married in 1918 and served in their community for nearly fifty years. Dr. Holliday signed many of the death certificates for those buried in the Green Street Cemetery. Mary Holliday brought the Rosenwald Schools to Iredell County and consolidated many of the schools to improve learning environments for African American children. Together they worked hard to make a lasting impact on the residents in this district. Their home at 241 Garfield Street is still standing today, a visual legacy to remind us of their efforts to cultivate growth in their community.


Amos Stevens Billingsley (below center) was a Presbyterian minister from Ohio who played a significant role in the early development of the independent African American community following the Civil War. He came to Statesville as a missionary to the recently freed slaves and helped establish Second Presbyterian, later renamed Broad Street Presbyterian. Upon his death in 1897, Billingsley left money to start what would become Billingsley Hospital (below left), with the stipulation that it serve both races of people. The Billingsley Academy (below right), which opened in 1906, was located on the corner of Green and Garfield streets, where the current Calvary Presbyterian stands. Although resented by many of his white peers at the time, Billingsley nurtured the beginnings of a free community in Statesville.

Billingsley Hospital on Park Terrace Statesville 3
Amos Billingsley
Billingsley Academy 2

Emmaus Baptist Church was founded in 1874 and was originally located in a brush arbor on Rickert Street. In 1883, the church changed its name to First Baptist and moved to the corner of Green and Garfield Streets (right). The first pastor of the congregation was Rev. Charlie Brown, who is buried in the Green Street Cemetery, along with his wife. Other pastors have included Revs. A.H. Lewis, O.J. Allen, and J.W. Croom. In 1967, the congregation voted to purchase property and build a new church on the corner of Garfield and Old Salisbury Road, which is where it operates today (below left). 

Rev. Caesar Allison (below right) was a Baptist minister who was a charter member of the church. He and his son, Caesar Allison Jr., are both buried at Green Street.

First Bapt old
First Bapt new
Caesar Allison, Stimpson Collection

The graded school system began in Iredell County in 1891 and the Colored Normal School operated in this capacity and served as the first graded school for African Americans in Statesville. The building burned in 1916 and was rebuilt. The new building opened in 1921 as Morningside School (below left) and continued to operate until the schools were integrated in the middle of the 1968 school year. Many students spent the first half of the year at Morningside and the other half at a new integrated school. Charles Foushee (below right) served as the first principal of Morningside School which opened in 1921 on the site of the original Colored Normal School.

Morningside Colored Grade School
Charles Foushee
Peterson and Mangum when on Garfield Street

The Peterson and Mangum Funeral Home started in 1933 and served the African American community in this district alongside Rutledge and Bigham. It operated mostly out of 206 Garfield Street (left), which they acquired in 1943. After the integration of schools in 1968, the funeral home moved into the Morningside annex building which still stands today. It changed its name to Davis and Mangum and was operated by Lonnie Davis and family.