Nicodemus National Historic Site
"Nicodemus was growing into a busy little town. New houses were being built by people coming in. Different enterprises began to originate. Conditions began to improve."— Nettie Craig Teacher 1886
Main Street Nicodemus grew out of hard work and determination into a viable business district through the hands of former slaves. Zach T Fletcher became one of the town's most successful merchants after opening the first black business in 1878. A bank, law offices, two newspapers, a hotel, post office, several stores, and cafes lined these streets.
Abuzz with the prospect of securing a stop on one of the railroad lines to the expanding West, more than 25 new structures came in 1886. By the fall of 1888, Nicodemus residents knew a railroad would never come.
When the railroad bypassed Nicodemus, most merchants moved. Travel was deflected from Nicodemus to nearby Bogue. Despite this setback a few black merchants persevered — Zach and Thomas Fletcher, Nicodemus' perennial capitalists, still operated the Saint Francis Hotel, the livery stable, and a farm implement business. Jenny Fletcher, Zach's wife, ran a millinery shop. Jake Riley operated another livery stable and G.M. Sayers ran a general store — demonstrating determination, resilience, and commitment to a land they loved.
background image captions
· Julia Lee's Café, 1920sThe café seated more than 30 patrons. The J.B. Crowley Grocery and General Merchandise operated here until the early 1900s.
· Blow In Café, 1949Fredonia and Ray De Priest owned the Café in the 1950s. A team of mules moved this building from Nicodemus township.
· St. Francis Hotel, 1881Owned by Zach T. Fletcher included a livery stable and coral. The Switzer family has live here since the 1930s.
· The First Baptist Church, 1907The first church established in Nicodemus. The original 1880 building is within the 1907. The congregation still meets in the adjacent building.
· S.G. Wilson General Store, 1880Built of locally cut stone, the store was purchased and operated by G.M. Sayers starting in 1896.
· S. W. Green General Store, 1880Became the Masonic Hall in 1893.
· Post OfficeClosed in 1953.
· Priscilla Arts Club,1940sPreviously this structure was the Cracker Box School moved here from Nicodemus Township.
· Nicodemus Township Hall, 1939A depression era project, is the community's center for social activities.