Pine Street is the location of several modest but charming Folk Victorian cottages that are presently in need of new owners. We focus so often on the large and majestic homes of the once wealthy and influential that these little beauties tend to get overlooked.
The home at 817 Pine Street was built sometime between 1910 and 1915. Its earliest recorded residents were William J. and Catherine Reynolds Harris.
William Harris was born in Swansonville (now a community in Dry Fork) in 1885 to Stonewall Jackson and Sarah Elizabeth Boaz Harris. He married Catherine Reynolds in 1906. In the years just after their marriage, and prior to their residence at 817 Pine Street, the Harris family lived with Catherine’s parents, Hugh and Sarah Reynolds, at 814 Wilson Street. Mrs. Reynolds ran a boarding house there, but it seems all her lodgers were family members, including Mr. and Mrs. Harris and their son Garland, as well as Mrs. Harris’s three sisters and several nieces. Mr. Reynolds passed away in 1911 and when the Harrises took occupancy of their home at 817 Pine, Mrs. Reynolds came with them.
Mr. Harris began his career in the tobacco business, but by 1917 was a member of Danville’s police force, with which he was affiliated for many years. He was also a supervisor for a local ice company, though records do not specify which one. (Read more about Danville’s ice delivery businesses here.) By 1927, the couple had moved to Avondale Drive and a new family had taken residence.
The Altice’s inhabited 817 Pine street for several decades that followed.
Walter Washington Altice and Lavisha “Nettie” Byrd were both born in 1883 in Franklin county, Virginia. They married in 1906 and came to Danville around 1927 to take occupancy of the Pine Street house from their residence in Gretna.
Walter was a telegrapher for the Southern Railway. They had several children, three of whom lived with them at the Pine Street residence. One son, Walter Raymond was also a telegrapher for Southern Railway, while a daughter, Zadie, worked as a telephone operator.
Built some time between 1890 and 1900 the nearly-twin houses at 835 and 841 Pine Street are also charming examples of Folk Victorian architecture, with turned porch posts and a three angle bay prominent on the front façade.
835 Pine Street was probably built as rental property, since each of the residents recorded in the censuses indicated that the families who lived there did so as renters.
The house was first home to jeweler John J. Speer as early as 1900. Speer was president of the State Jewelers’ Association in 1928. Local papers of the time reported that there were more than 50 jewelers in the city of Danville alone and that Speer himself, who spoke at a State Association gala in 1928, was “enthused over the cooperative attitude of the business competitors linked together in a single organization.”
By 1920, it was a blacksmith and horse shoer Angus Ross and his wife, Willie, who lived here. Angus arrived in Danville from Scotland around 1890. Angus was known for his superior workmanship and was popular among the people of the Old West End and downtown Danville prior to the arrival of the automobile.
Subsequent residents included Harry W. Scearce and his wife Lelia who both worked in the cotton mills, George Cabble Belton, a machinist who was active in the National Guard and was given the responsibility of maintaining the Danville Gray’s “large gun” which was housed in the armory, where he was, for a time, a clerk in the 1920’s. He resided at 835 Pine Street in the late 30’s and early 40’s and maintained his activity with the National Guard up until the early to mid 1960’s.
841 Pine Street was the home of Armistead A. Moore from the 1920’s until his death in 1939. Mr. Moore was born in Halifax in 1845. He was married three times, first to Martha, whom he married in 1870. After Martha’s death, he married Emily Catherine Cobbs in June of 1894. She died in 1903, after which he married Maude, thirty years his junior, with whom he shared the Pine Street home. At the time of his death Mr. Moore was the last surviving Confederate veteran living in Danville, having outlived Harry Wooding by three months.
For more information about these houses, including photos, see the listings page, Fixers with Reports. you can also see finished floorplans here. Architect’s reports for each of these homes are available on request.