Hidden History—Black History Month: A closer look at Carver Village, a nationally recognized landmark

Hidden History

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, tonight we take a closer look at Carver Village, a nationally recognized landmark.

Kim Gusby takes a closer look at this tight-knit neighborhood and how this distinction is helping to preserve an important piece of the past.

“1948,” said Henry Mack, lives in Carver Village. That’s the year Henry Mack moved to Carver Village.

“Wasn’t no Carver Village, I bought the foundation. They’d just started the housing,” said Mack.

The World War II veteran purchased the land when he was just 27-years-old. He is now 98.

Little did he know the investment that he and others made more than 70 years ago would help raise generations.

Named after noted scientist, George Washington Carver, the historic neighborhood is located West of downtown Savannah just beyond the ramp to Interstate 16. It was established to provide affordable housing for working class African Americans.

With 600 homes, it was once known as the largest individually owned housing development for people of color in the world. In its hay day, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and even world-famous musicians were part of that family.

“I moved there in 1960, however, I became affiliated through childhood friends as early as 1950, almost 10 years before I moved there. Some of my best musician friends came from Carver Village,” said Teddy Adams, former Carver Village resident.

Adams lived on Elliott Avenue for 44 years; that was home.

“All of my kids grew up there and that’s all my wife knows, not being from the states. She moved from Japan to Elliott Avenue,” said Adams.

“There were several businesses in our area. Dry cleaners, we had our own dry cleaners in Carver Village. Grocery stores, there were several,” said Richard Shinhoster, former Carver Village resident.

Like Adams and Mack, Richard Shinhoster says he has nothing but fond memories of Carver Village. His family home on Barton Street is still there.

“This picture was the Carver Village baseball team. At that time we didn’t have uniforms, but we were good. We wont the city Athletic League Championship that year,” said Shinhoster.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. For me, this neighborhood was that village. My grandparents bought their first home on Gwinnett Street more than 60 years ago. It’s where I lived, went to school and made life-long friends,” said Kim Gusby, Yourerie.com.

That seems to be the narrative of many rooted in the tight-knit community. Now, the nation is finally beginning to appreciate its value.

Last week, the historic Carver Village neighborhood association announced that the community has been placed on the registry of historic places, making Carver Village a nationally recognized landmark.

Those who live here hope this new distinction will re-establish a sense of pride among neighbors and solidify Carver Village as a cornerstone in the community.

Hidden History is sponsored by UPMC Hamot and the Greater Erie Community Action Committee.

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