New Town Over Time
As an African American neighborhood, New Town was established around the end of the 19th Century. The first to purchase a lot was Gilbert Vaughn for whom Gilbert Street was named. Gilbert Street was called several names such as New Town Alley as you will see on the exhibits below. In addition to Gilbert Street, a small alley began at the junction of Gilbert and Barger streets that ran to the north east. About four or five houses were located on this alley which was also called “the lane.” One of the notable homes at the end of the lane belonged to the Andersons. Ms. Nettie and Ms. Laura, her daughter, lived here in the 1970’s during which she was the oldest resident of Montgomery County well over 100 years old. A picture of the Andersons on their front porch as well as a model of their house is displayed in the St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall.
As you peruse the exhibits in this section, look for ways that the maps and pictures show changes in New Town. What do you think caused these changes? Why do you think New Town changed to become a shopping/office center? What impact did transportation changes have on New Town? Visit the site of New Town and describe what is happening there now. What is responsible for the changes in this area?
In each map/photo, locate the St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall for a reference to understand the differences over time. The SLOFH is the only remaining link to New Town which is at the place it was built and on the same elevation.