ORAL HISTORY: More Monroe Avenue Houses
July 14, 2014
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days. A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave. All the transcriptions may be read at the Cape Charles Museum. CLICK to read previous oral histories in the Wave.)
1990 Interview of Virginia Fitzhugh conducted by Virginia Savage
VIRGINIA FITZHUGH: When we lived on Randolph Avenue, Miss Lina Taylor lived across the street from us. And when Daddy built [on Tazewell and Pine] down there, she said that town was so lonesome up there that her neighbors had moved, she bought a piece of property and built on Monroe Avenue.
VIRGINIA SAVAGE: I love that house. And she would be pleased to know that the stairwell is back in it and it’s no longer two stories. Did she have a family?
She had Gordon Ames and Winton. Now, Gordon, you remember Cary Ames? Well, that was one of Miss Taylor’s sister. See that double house in back of us, Miss Taylor built. She sold that house to Dixon, that’s on the corner where the B&B is now. Mr. Dixon was a painter, paper hanger.
Now that’s always been referred to as the Dixon house. He’s the one that turned it into two apartments then.
Because when I first came over to the shore, you had to go up a back staircase to get to Bond Disharoon’s apartment.
And Miss Taylor built that big, brick double house in back of ours, where Ruby Bull lived; they lived there for years. That’s right, the Schrecks were living in one part. Then Miss Taylor died and Marie married and went to New York and they sold that house to Ryland Bull. See, Ryland lived up the street in that double house that’s across from Ethel May [500 block of Monroe]. And he sold that and bought the double house of Miss Taylor’s. Cary Ames was the daughter-in-law. the son was Gordon. He built the house they lived in.
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Next door to that is another bungalow type house.
Allie Jenkins. He was the barber. His barber shop was by the old bank.
Did that kind of cut into the street? Have they torn that part of the building down? I seem to remember there was something different about that street.
The reason you think it’s different, Virginia, the old place where Clifton Lewis had his store, had a porch over it with columns that came down right there. Because Carolyn Restein lived there when she was first married in an apartment up above that.
We had a strange thing happen. Wish I had thought to bring the letter. A man from England wrote and I wrote him back and he wrote me back and I haven’t written him since. And he said that when he was 8 years old his parents came to Cape Charles and they lived over a barber shop and I figured it had to be over Allie Jenkins’ barber shop.
That’s right. That’s the only barbershop that I know of that was in town at that time.
Where did Slim Colonna have his?
Well that was later on. No, he had one further down. I think almost where that man that has it now on Front Street. He was that far down.
What do you know about Mrs. Vicks’ house on Monroe Avenue?
That was built by, who were those two boys who had built the house out on the Stone Road? Out there next to Bobbie Rittenhouse’s father. One boy is named Henry, can’t think of the other one, but they were the ones.
When Colburn was born, I was married two years and two months. I first went housekeeping up on Randolph Avenue next to Winnie Wilkins. Mr. Wilkins, her father, owned the house we lived in. And we lived there until, well, it got so on that street that with a small child, it was bad. Right across from where Ina Powell lived on [600 block of] Randolph. That was first where I did housekeeping. I was living with Mrs. Fitzhugh for five years after I was married. And Colburn was born while I was living with Mrs. Fitzhugh. Then I wanted to go housekeeping. And trying to find a house in Cape Charles was like, I don’t know what. See, the railroad was booming and everything was taken.
Colburn was born in 1928. He and George [Savage] are the same age.
Edie Jean was born when I lived up there. Then Frank Carter was born when I moved back home.
TO BE CONTINUED (CLICK for previous oral histories.)