The segregated community of Five Row, so named because it originally consisted of a row of five houses, was home to Reynolda’s Black farm workers and their families from the 1910s until the late 1950s. Located parallel to Silas Creek, Five Row was situated out of sight of the Bungalow and the Village buildings. A boarding house accommodated several families, while another large building served as the church and school.
Good wages lured many tenant farmers to join the Reynolda workforce. Ellis Pledger walked twenty miles a day to make $9 a week, three times what he received elsewhere. In 1916, he moved to Five Row with his wife, Flora, who remembered Five Row as a close-knit community: “But I thought it was the best place I’d ever seen. I loved it, I loved it. And if it was like–had the water and everything that I’ve got now–I’d rather be there than anywhere that I could be. I just naturally loved it.”
Unlike the houses in Reynolda Village, those in Five Row did not have electricity or running water. The houses were of board construction, while most of the residences in the Village were made from stucco. Families made do with kerosene lamps and coal heaters. Water was drawn from several taps of artesian well water. Residents raised their own livestock, poultry, hogs, and milk cows, and Reynolda farm provided milk and vegetables at wholesale prices.
Wives of farm workers who lived in Five Row typically did not work at Reynolda, focusing instead on raising their families and running their own households; however, these women did frequently take on occasional part-time or seasonal work such as working in the laundry or helping out during hog killing season. During the Babcock years, some of the women worked as maids or cooks in the house. Teenagers took odd jobs on the estate from caddying on the golf course to washing cars to helping out in the gardens.
Five Row was demolished for the building of Silas Creek Parkway around 1960 during urban renewal, during which time various levels of (White-majority) government razed traditionally Black neighborhoods and replaced them with new roads and highways beneath a veneer of “progress.” Some current residents of Five Row chose to purchase their home and used the materials to help build their new houses. Flora Pledger successfully petitioned Charlie Babcock to pay for the relocation of the church building.