210 S. Selma Road, Wendell
Wendell businessman R. B. Whitley built a large and fashionable brick Craftsman-style house on Selma Road in 1918. Undoubtedly one of the most stylish houses in town in the 1910s and 1920s, the house displays such thoroughly modern Craftsman features as front and side porte cocheres to shelter the family automobiles. A broad porch shelters the front entrance, which is topped by an arched window and flanked by sidelights. According to family tradition, the recently completed house served as a hospital during an influenza epidemic in 1918. Family members remember that R.B. Whitley believed brick buildings were more durable and, in the long run, more economical than frame buildings–a belief reflected not only in his own home but also in the other buildings on this property, including a wash house, smokehouse, a garage, and four gate pillars at the front of the drive. Originally from Johnston County, R. B. Whitley moved to the budding town of Wendell in 1906. A prominent merchant and civic leader, Whitley was instrumental in establishing the town’s tobacco market. He founded the Bank of Wendell in 1907 and served as its president from its establishment until his death in 1944.