Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933, in this 660-foot square home in Tryon, North Carolina. Named Eunice Waymon, she lived here with her parents and eight siblings until 1937. This home is mere feet away from St. Luke’s CME Church, where her mother was a pastor, and she began to play the piano for the church by the age of four.
In 2017, artists Adam Pendleton, Rashid John, Ellen Gallagher, and Julie Mehretu bought the home for $95,000. This prevented the potential demolition of this historic home. The artists worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups to help restore the home. Plans include adding a living space with modern amenities for a potential artist-in-residence program.
Located in Anderson, South Carolina, are likely the last standing slave houses in an upstate South Carolina town. Four houses sit along an alleyway in the Anderson Historic District. Architectural historians determined three houses are antebellum, with the other one built after the Civil War.
These houses were up for demolition in 2009 when The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation stepped in and purchased them. According to the newspaper searches, people lived in these houses until 2008. They were condemned after complaints to the city.
It is suspected that the slave alley was tied to an in-town estate, likely the Caldwell-Johnson-Morris Cottage. According to the 1860 Slave Census, Margaret Morris enslaved two women. Her house is on the same street and one block down from the slave alley.
Below is the 1918 Sanborn map, which shows the four houses in a row. Unfortunately, previous Sanborn maps do not go east enough to show the houses.
Hubbard-McFall-King House was built after the honeymoon trip of John and Lavina Hubbard, where they fell in love with similarly styled homes along the Hudson River in New York City. This style, Chinese Chippendale, is a relatively rare type of Queen Anne. It’s scarce in the South. There are four homes in the greater Anderson area that were built in this style. Two are in town. The other two are inaccessible. There is one that was up for sale a few years ago. You can see it here.
Chinese Chippendale architecture refers to specific banister styles influenced by the cabinetmaker and furniture designer Thomas Chippendale.
Reverend Thomas J. Earle was a minister and educator who settled in Gowensville, South Carolina. He founded the Gowensville Seminary, which educated students from around the area. Built in 1874, Earlsedale was made of bricks that were made on-site. Students would often board at the home while going to the school.
The congregation of Mountain Page Church was formed in 1785, and their first church was completed in 1785. The next structure was built in 1830. This structure has an unknown build date. The current structure that is closer to Saluda was built in 1930.
The congregation of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church began in 1886 in a log church near Tryon as a place for Black residents to worship. It didn’t officially become the Good Shepherd Mission until 1908.
Before the mission’s founding, the church existed in a Sunday school begun by Mabel True Plaisted, the second wife of Maine’s governor and member of the local white Episcopal Church, Holy Cross, to educate local Black schoolchildren. The school became a local gathering place for the Black community, much to the chagrin of the white community members. The town forced Plaisted to close the school because they did not want the school so close to Holy Cross.
In the following year, the Tyron Industrial Colored School was opened on Markham Road, an area that was approximately a mile from town along winding roads. The church used the school for services. By 1908, the building became an official missionary chapel of the Episcopal Missionary District of Asheville.
The building was used until the 1950s, when it was decided that the old building needed to be replaced. The church found an abandoned church, St. Andrews Chapel, on a nearby plantation was built in the early 1900s for the servants and tenant farmers of the plantation to use. The church was dismantled and moved to its current location. The building is still in use today.
While the church was started for the Black community members of Tryon, it became integrated in the sixties and is now fully integrated.
Nina Simone grew up in Tryon. Her parents and a few of her siblings are buried in the Good Shepherd Cemetery.