The Baldwin Story
W.F. Baldwin Founded Our Company in 1928
Our company’s founder, William Frazier Baldwin, was born in 1894. Mr. Baldwin, who went by “Frazier”, moved to Winston-Salem in 1926. In 1926 Winston-Salem had the reputation of being a boom town. This was largely fueled by the rapid grow of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which had been founded here in 1875. Mr. Baldwin went to work for Smithdeal Realty, a company which was also growing rapidly and was very involved in the early development of downtown Winston-Salem.
In 1928, Mr. Baldwin ventured out on his own and founded W.F. Baldwin Realty. The company specialized in the management of residential rental properties but also handled real estate sales. Mr. Baldwin was the company’s sole broker and producer for many years. He was assisted in his office by several key personnel through the years. Notably, Beverly Collins was a loyal employee for many years when W.F. Baldwin owned the company.
1928 was a seminal time in our country’s economic history, with the stock market crash in late October, 1929, followed by The Great Depression. It is a testimony to Mr. Baldwin that the young business survived those challenging times. W.F. Baldwin also operated an insurance business within the company.
When the company first opened it was located in First National Bank Building in the 300 block of North Liberty Street. The company later moved to the O’Hanlon Building on the northwest corner of 4th Street and Liberty Street. In the 1950s Mr. Baldwin moved the office across the street to the Pepper Building, on the northeast corner of 4th and Liberty.
Mr. Baldwin and his wife, Anna Barley Baldwin had six children. The youngest son, Louis B. Baldwin, Sr. joined the company in YEAR, working with his father for several years, before buying the company from his father in 1964. The firm was then renamed W.F. Baldwin & Son.
Louis Baldwin, Sr. owned the company from 1964 through 1988. During this time Louis Baldwin, Sr. was the primary property manager and broker in the firm. The firm continued to specialize in scattered-site, residential, fee-based property management. This meant the firm primarily professionally managed homes and apartments owned by other investors. Mr. Baldwin also diversified the firm’s services.
Mr. Baldwin, Sr. grew and then sold the company’s insurance business. He developed real estate on behalf of clients, most notably the 100 unit Plaza Apartments on Thurmond Street, meeting a need in the community for quality, affordable housing for the workforce. Mr. Baldwin was a homebuilder, building a number of single-family homes for sale to homeowners through the years. The company was well-known for many years as the in-person payment center for Southern Bell, Summit Cable and Time Warner Cable payments. Baldwin, Sr. lead the firm into the computer age by computerizing property management functions in 1978.
Mr. Baldwin purchased the old “Singer Sewing Machine Building” at 212 W. 4th Street and moved the company there in 1980.
Louis Baldwin, Sr. was fortunate to have a several key employees during the time he owned and operated the company. Stephen “Red” Foust was his “right-hand man” performing many key functions for several decades. Beth Stack, Shirley Truell and Libby Campbell joined the company in the 1960s and 1970s and were the primary office staff during Louis Baldwin Sr.’s tenure.
Mr. Baldwin also maintained an “In house” maintenance company which included a group of talented and loyal team members through the years including Billy, Mike and Robert Holton, Bob and Will Dinkins and Leon Miller. A number of young men gained a lot of experience working in Baldwin’s maintenance crew mowing and painting for a summer job.
Ginger Baldwin joined the firm in 1980 and specialized in the sale of residential and investment real estate. Ginger was successful in growing that aspect of the business and spun off to form a separate business known as Baldwin Real Estate Sales Company in 1984. Ginger is a past--President of the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors and was the 2002 “Realtor of the Year” in Winston-Salem. She is now a successful Realtor with Re/Max in Winston-Salem.
Louis Baldwin, Sr. was active in the community and in the real estate profession. He was named to the Thomas Lambe, Jr “Realtor Hall of Fame” in 1998.