What is Five Row?

  • Curate Reynolda Blog

    Curate Reynolda

Why CurateReynolda? Our staff carefully sort and select (“curate”) content daily to find the most interesting stories to share on our CurateReynolda blog. Follow for behind-the-scenes peeks, insider perspectives, and curious observations from the staff of the Museum.

What is Five Row?

By Kim Mayes, ZSR NPIP Community Outreach Intern |@LearnReynolda

Five Row was an African American farmworker community parallel to Silas Creek. It was a community made up of around nine families and several unmarried farm employees. It was built by the Reynolds Family in conjunction with what would eventually be known as Reynolda House. The first family moved into Five Row in 1915. Five Row stood at the edge of the estate next to the quarry (Gillespie 2012: 245). The turn off to Five Row would have been at the intersection of Reynolda Road and Silas Creek Parkway near the current entrance to Wake Forest University (Millhouse 2011: 112). Five Row was approximately a quarter mile walk from Reynolda Village. Originally the community consisted of two rows with five houses each, which is how the name Five Row was derived.  Eventually Five Row comprised two rows of 10 white washed houses and a large building that served as a school house and church flanking an unpaved road. Five Row homes did not have electricity and water like Reynolda House and Reynolda Village. They used kerosene lamps, coal heaters in winter, got water from outdoor spigots and used outhouses behind their homes. Each house at Five Row had four to five rooms. One twelve-room log structure accommodated 3 families (Howett 2007: 161). Five Row is no longer in existence and was demolished around 1960 to make way for Silas Creek Parkway.

See the original play inspired by the community, Five Row: Growing Up with Reynolda

IMAGE CREDIT: Five Row Map, Reynolda House of American Art.

Be sure to visit the Five Row online gallery to peruse a comprehensive collection of images from our Archives.


There is so much African American history that was cleared away in our area to make way for modernation. Thanks for this information on Five Row.

We'll be sharing more information over the next few weeks about Five Row and the people who lived there. Stay tuned! I hope you can come to a performance of the play inspired by this community that debuts on Friday, "Five Row: Growing up with Reynolda." Find information on our calendar: http://www.reynoldahouse.org/calendar/event/play-five-row-growing-up-with-reynolda

Add new comment