Hudson-Day House 227 High Street
Backstory and Context
Though this home is not original to the area, it carries significance and blends in well with the other properties in the neighborhood. This house contains architectural elements from the workshop of Thomas Day, the South’s most notable 19th African American cabinetmaker. When the six-room house was under threat of demolition, it was dismantled at its original site in Halifax County, Virginia and brought to this address in 1998. According to the official website, Day was born at the beginning of the 19th century in Dinwiddie County near Petersburg in southern Virginia to free African-American parents whose respective families had been free since the early 1700s. Day and his brother, John, were educated privately by Quaker tutors. Both followed in their father’s cabinetry craft. He became one of the South’s most celebrated furniture makers. At the time he was also one of most prominent black businessmen in the country. His skills were sought by many plantation owners whose homes he embellished with stylish mantle pieces, stair railings, and newell posts, in addition to providing them with fashionable furniture that reflected the latest urban styles. By 1850, Day’s shop was the largest in the state. Because he was one of the earliest furniture makers to use steam-powered tools and mass production techniques in North Carolina, he is considered a founding father of the modern Southern furniture industry.
City of Petersburg. (2018). Property Records. City of Petersburg Department of Planning and Economic Development.