Soil and Water Conservation

Johnston County, North Carolina

Historical Architectural Survey Report Summary

A Summary of the

Johnston County Historical Architectural Survey

"30 years in the making"

Photos of the historical Wilson House
Photos of the historical Wilson House

During the late 1970s and early 1908s, architectural survey work was begun in Johnston County, North Carolina in the towns of Selma and Smithfield, and in rural areas.  Mary Shoemaker completed a survey of Smithfield in the mid-1970s and Thomas Greco surveyed Selma in the late 1970s.  Both surveys resulted in publications on the architecture of the towns.

At the same time, Keep Johnston County Beautiful, Inc. (KJCB) was formed by volunteers as a non-profit organization.  A special Historic Preservation Committee was appointed with its goal to have all of Johnston County's historical structures inventoried and published as a permanent record.  With KJCB funds and an additional allocation by the County Commmissioners, Thomas R. Butchko was hired from 1981 to 1983 by KJCB to conduct a survey of the rural areas and the unincorporated towns and communities.

In 2002, KJCB, in cooperation with the Johnston County Heritage Center, extended the project and updated the existing survey as Phase II toward the final publication of a book on Johnston County's historic architecture.  To complete this goal, Nancy Van Dolsen, Architectural and Landscape Historian, was hired by KJCB to review the existing material and to update and expand the three previous surveys.  The survey update was completed in September 2005.

The extended survey project updates the three original surveys to document, as feasible, the destruction or relocation of buildings previously recorded and substantial changes to extant resources on original sites.  The update also documents previously unrecorded significant structures, primarily built during the 20th century and now at least 50 years old.

KJCB's goal now is Phase III -- to publish a book on the historic properties surveyed.  This book will be of great value to not only the citizens of Johnston County, but county and state agencies.  It will provide an important historic, descriptive and pictorial record of Johnston County's past.  It may also offer incentives for future historic preservation.

The final product includes new North Carolina Survey forms, updated existing survey forms, survey maps, black-and-white photographs, color slides, digital photographs, a final survey report which can be used as the basis for the introductory chapters for a book on the county's architecture, and a Study List presentation to the National Register of Advisory Committee (NRAC) to be made in mid-October 2005.

A public presentation on the survey will be held on November 3, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. in the new Johnston County Agricultural Center on Hwy. 210 west of Smithfield.  This event will be free and open to the public.

For more information about the survey, please contact Susan Woodard at the Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District office at 934-7156, extension 3.