The History of   No. 21 S. Front St.

Port City Paranormal ®
The City of Wilmington was founded in 1739, and  made its name as an
international port and cosmopolitan center.
Front Street, one of the oldest streets in the city has seen many changes over
the years.  North Front St was a warehouse district with quite a notorious
reputation, but South Front St. had been a residential area.
With the growth of the city, the wealthy moved their homes east toward the
knoll where Dr. Bellamy’s mansion still stands. The crowded commerce
area on Market  expanded both north and south along what were previously
only dusty side streets.
By 1873, most all of the stately homes on S. Front Street that overlooked the
busy river front were gone.  
Henry Bremmer ran a raucous saloon just around the corner from bustling
Market Street.  Next door was Sneed & Co., furniture purveyors, followed
by Parkers General Store (a green grocer),  B&S Tin shop (#21 1/2), a
second grocery, a tailor shop and a jeweler. Further, down the block we
would have found J.S. Higby’s Crockery.
By 1875, Henry Bremmer had died, a fire, started by an unattended lamp in Sneed’s furniture store destroyed much
of the first block of S. Front St.  Some blamed the crockery kilns for the other fires that plagued the area.
At the turn of the century, Mr. Parker had moved his grocery to #23 and also ran the furniture business formerly
owned by Sneed& Co. At #15 S Front.  At # 17, Misters Monroe and Kelly opened a brand new furniture
emporium.  Somewhere tucked in between these big establishments, Joshua Craig worked as a gunsmith.
Unfortunately, Joshua accidentally shot himself and no more was written about him after that date.
Circa 1915, just above the Sterling furniture shop on #21 Front St, lived Mrs. Maggie Abraham .  
By 1920 , Front Street had finally been paved by the Belgian Brick and Block Co. And #21 was the location of
Rabey Storage Battery Co.  
The lot known as #21 S. Front remained empty and abandoned for over 10 years until a new three level furniture
store and warehouse was erected by Mr. Leon Todd in 1938.
Further research into the property has revealed no written record of other deaths in the years this land has been in
use. Plenty of accidents and fires, but if there is a ghost here, who could it be?

Who was Leon Todd?
Leon Todd was born August 11Th 1896 to Wm. M. Todd and his wife Mary
Martha Stanley Todd in North Williams, Columbus, North Carolina.
Leon Todd began his career learning the furniture procurement business
from W.J.Bradshaw at Bradshaw’s store on Princess St. He stayed with
Bradshaw and Co, working in their store (128 Front Street) for almost 10
years then struck out on his own.
Todd established his first furniture store on 18 S. Front St in 1929.   
Together, with his wife Kathryn as bookkeeper, the business prospered.
Finally, in 1939, Mr. Todd built his dream store on the vacant lot right across
the street at #21 S. Front. This new “TODDS” was spacious and had a large
modern elevator to make use of all three levels. The main show room on the
first floor was filled with the latest and Pullman Living Room Furniture.  The
huge second  floor had individual show cases for the Drexel Bedroom and
Dining room sets and  a smaller section to display his Simmons ”B”
mattresses. The building’s third floor was a warehouse and repair shop.
Leon Todd ran the store until he retired and allowed his sons to take over the
business in the early fifties. Apparently unhappy with retirement Leon
opened another furniture store ;Lynn’s Furniture(named after his wife) in
competition with his sons at TODDS !  Lynn’s furniture only lasted a few
years.  After closing Lynns Furniture,  Todd never fully retired. Leon devoted
his remaining days to working in “TODDs” until his death at age 81.

TODD or TODDS, which was it? We had never heard of a Todd, so began
our research. Using the City Directories in the North Carolina Room of our
library, we discovered the building now standing was TODD’s Fine Furniture
Store. Owned and operated by Mr. Leon Todd, and his wife Katheryn (
Lynn) at his side. Todd's motto  proclaimed
                “Fine furniture means Fine living”
Map circa 1874
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