Blue Bird

Green Book Category
Taverns
Years Listed
1950
Region
Coastal Plain
County
Lenoir

 

Blue Bird Inn was advertised in the Green Book in 1950. The business was listed as “Blue Bird – South Queen St.” under “Taverns” in Kingston (Kinston). The building that housed the Blue Bird Inn is no longer standing.1 

The Blue Bird Inn was a business operated by Thelma Ingram and her husband, Charles Ingram. She ran the business as early as 1949, when she advertised it in The Carolinian, an African American newspaper. The ad emphasized the Inn’s “ice cold beer” and claimed it was “The Coolest Spot in Town!” Thelma Ingram was named as the proprietor in the advertisement. The business was listed in the 1949 city directory for Kinston as “Charles Ingram Soft Drinks.”2

Thelma Pugh Ingram was born in Clinton, NC in 1915. She moved to Kinston between 1935 and 1940 to work as a cook in the home of the Colliner family. She married Charles Ingram, a driver for Globe Taxi, and moved to 421 Lincoln Street. The couple later divorced.3

The Blue Bird Inn closed between 1950 and 1951. Thelma Ingram died in her hometown of Clinton in 2011.4

Essay by Brandie K. Ragghianti, 2022

Notes

1. Victor Green, 1950 Green Book, 63; Mike Parker, “Kinston group tries to place historical markers,” The Free Press (Kinston, NC), August 2, 2021, https://www.kinston.com/story/news/local/2021/08/02/african-american-he…

2.  “Blue Bird Inn” (advertisement), The Carolinian, August 20, 1949, p. 15 (Image 23), accessed from https://newspapers.digitalnc.org; Hill’s Kinston, NC City Directory, 1949, alphabetical listing, p, 118. Business is listed in the street directory as Charles Ingram Soft Drinks (Hill’s Kinston, NC City Directory, 1949, street directory, p. 52).

3. 1920 United States Federal Census, Sandpiper Street, North Clinton, Sampson County, NC, digital image s.v. “Thelma Pugh,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; 1930 United States Federal Census, Sampson Street, North Clinton, Sampson County, NC, digital image s.v. “Thelma Pugh,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; 1940 United States Federal Census, West Road, Kinston, Lenoir County, NC, digital image s.v. “Thelma Pugh” accessed from www.ancestry.com; Thelma and Charlie Ingram, May 23, 1972, Lenoir County, North Carolina, U.S., Divorce Index, 1958-2004, accessed from www.ancestry.com; Hill’s Kinston, NC City Directory, 1951, alphabetical listing, p. 136.

4. 302 ½ Queen Street, Hill’s Kinston, NC City Directory, 1951, Street Directory, p. 61; Thelma Pugh Ingram, January 11, 2011, U.S. Obituary Collection, 1930-Current, accessed from www.ancestry.com.

Did you know?

  • The Green Book lists the location as Kingston rather than Kinston, North Carolina.
Advertisement, The Carolinian, September 17, 1949

Advertisement, The Carolinian, September 17, 1949

Advertisement, The Carolinian, September 17, 1949Contributed by Olivia Raney Local History Library. Available at DigitalNC.org