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Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina's capital!
Take a virtual trip-through-time of our city now, and when you are finished, start making plans to drop by for an in-person visit.
Raleigh is unique because it was planned from the beginning as a capital city. The state's General Assembly, tired of traveling all over the state for its law-making sessions, decided in 1792 that it was time for a permanent seat for state government. The assembly purchased a 1,000-acre site, hired a surveyor, and laid out a whole new town on a grid. Space was appropriated for a new state house, town squares, lots for homes to be built, and even a town cemetery.
Since then, Raleigh has grown considerably while holding on to its past. Today there are over 20 National Register Historic Districts and more than 80 National Register historic sites in the city. Raleigh also has five local Historic Overlay Districts--Blount Street, Boylan Heights, Capitol Square, Oakwood, and Moore Square--and more than 125 local historic landmarks, including numerous fine examples of early modernist architecture.
Begin your trip through the history of the city in 1760 at the Joel Lane House, the gambrel-roofed house of the planter from whom the land to establish North Carolina's capital was purchased. Next, visit Mordecai Historic Park, where you can tour the 1795 (with 1826 additions) plantation house of Joel Lane descendants, furnished with more than 200 years of family heirlooms.
See the National Historic Landmark State Capitol (1832-1840), perhaps the finest Greek Revival statehouse in the Nation. Located in the heart of downtown, one can head in any direction from the Capitol and find rich components of the city's history.
Walk across the street to experience the ecclesiastical glory of Richard Upjohn's National Historic Landmark Christ Church (1854).
Marvel at the craftsmanship in stone and wood of the Chapel at St. Augustine 's College, constructed in 1895 by African American students at the historically black college.
Take a break from the city-scape and relax with a hike at the 4,900-acre 1932-1943 WPA--designed and built--Crabtree Creek Recreational Demonstration Area (now Umstead State Park).
And finish your day by taking in a special event at the world-famous J.S. Dorton Arena (1952, listed 1976), with its revolutionary hyperbolic paraboloid roof, fondly dubbed "The Cow Palace" when it was built in the 1950s.
After more than 200 years of time and circumstance, much of Raleigh 's rich history is still here for you to enjoy. So when you've finished your virtual tour, click onto your favorite on-line travel site and start making your plans. We've got the magic "time-travel" carpet out for you.
Charles C. Meeker, Mayor
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, proudly invite you to explore Raleigh: A Capital City. The city of Raleigh was established as the capital of North Carolina in 1792 and grew from a small, one-square-mile town into a modern government, high-tech, education and social center. This travel itinerary highlights 48 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places--from the houses of early settlers to Modernist residences of architecture educators, from picturesque Victorian downtown neighborhoods to booming suburbs, from small scale commercial and utility buildings to early skyscrapers--places that shaped its history and now help to define this Southern capital.
In 1792, a thousand acres were purchased from Joel Lane on which to establish a permanent capital city, centrally located in the middle of the state, accessible to all North Carolinians. A brick state house was constructed in 1794, but after burning in 1831, it was replaced by the current State Capitol in 1833. As a result of a population surge in the early 20th century, suburbs emerged in Raleigh. Between 1906 and 1910, three suburban neighborhoods--Glenwood, Boylan Heights and Cameron Park--were platted to the northwest, southwest and west of Raleigh's city limits, respectively. The people who moved into these new suburbs were from the growing service and support professions for the state, the educational institutions of the city, and the growing commercial class, represented by such sites as: the Capital Area Historic District, the Federal Building, St. Mary's College and the State Bank of North Carolina. African Americans, however, were forbidden from buying lots in these suburbs by residential covenants.
Despite such restrictions as the housing covenants, African Americans were an important part of Raleigh's history. Education opportunities existed for African Americans at Shaw University and St. Augustine's College. Black neighborhoods grew up around these centers of learning, exemplified by the Moore Square Historic District and the Dr. M. T. Pope House. In 1948 Henry Kamphoefner became the dean of the School of Design at North Carolina State College and he brought Modernist architects to Raleigh to teach and design. Through the 1960s Raleigh was a proving ground of modernist designs. The results of these efforts can be seen in the Fadum House, Matsumoto House, Small Office Building and J.S. Dorton Arena. Today, Raleigh is a growing, vibrant city intent on maintaining its character through avid historic preservation. The Mordecai House and the Oakwood Historic District properties are just two examples illustrating Raleigh's dedication to preserving its past.Raleigh: A Capital City offers several ways to discover the places that reflect this city's history. Each highlighted place features a brief description of its historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to five essays: Early History, African American History, Suburbanization, Modernism and Preservation. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local websites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in North Carolina. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Raleigh in person.
Raleigh: A Capital City is part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the Nation. The National Register of Historic Places partners with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and providing public accessibility information for each featured site. Raleigh: A Capital City is the 39th National Register travel itinerary in this ongoing series. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual tour of Raleigh. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.
Raleigh was established as the capital of North Carolina near the geographical center of the state in 1792. A State Convention in 1788 sought a central location for an "unalterable seat of government." One thousand acres of land was purchased from Joel Lane, an early settler of the region. Lane and his two brothers had come to the area in 1741, and 30 years later Wake County was established with the construction of a courthouse and jail on the hillside in front of Lane's residence. His home became such a popular stop with travelers through the region that Lane built a tavern and helped erect a log church, the Asbury Meetinghouse. This small settlement, known as Wake Courthouse or Bloomsbury, was the predecessor of the town of Raleigh.
Raleigh was surveyed and planned by William Christmas in April 1792, with Union (now Capitol) Square reserved for the statehouse in the center, from which the principal streets radiate. Streets were named for the eight state districts--each identified by the name of its principal city--for the commissioners and for other prominent citizens. The plan included four parks--named for the first three Governors (Nash, Caswell and Burke) and for Attorney General Alfred Moore. A brick statehouse was constructed according to the instructions of the commission of legislators. When it was completed in 1794, Raleigh was said to be a "city of streets without houses." By 1800 the population numbered 669, and during that year, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury held a "big meeting" in the statehouse, which at the time was used for religious gatherings, balls and public meetings.
Destructive fires occurred in 1818, 1821 and 1831. In the last fire, the brick statehouse was destroyed. In 1840 a three-day celebration, with parades, orations and balls marked the completion of the new State Capitol. Raleigh's commercial expansion remained slow until the 1850s by which time two railroad lines were connected to the city--the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad and the North Carolina Railroad. In 1857, the city limits were extended approximately three blocks on all sides from the original one square-mile boundary.
Although there was Union sentiment in Raleigh, a celebration occurred when the State convention voted to secede from the United States on May 20, 1861. The State Capitol served as the meeting place for the state's wartime legislatures, and the city became a concentration point for Confederate troops. General William T. Sherman's army entered Raleigh on April 13, 1865, beginning the occupation of the city by the Federal army. Troops were encamped around the city and Gen. Sherman established headquarters in the Governor's Palace. After war's end, the difficult period of Reconstruction began.
An 1872 birdseye view of the City of Raleigh (right) shows the arrangement of the community shortly after the Civil War. The commercial section emerged along Fayetteville Street, just south of the State Capitol. Foundries, factories and warehouses were located near the tracks on the north and west sides of town. The remaining spaces inside the city limits were occupied with boarding houses, private residences and three hotels inhabited by poor and wealthy, black and white, young and old. In the final quarter of the 19th century, Raleigh's public and private sector leaders were determined to improve the cityscape to their advantage. Proximity to surface transportation spelled success for merchants in the form of shops and warehouses, stables and hotels. City alderman established streetcar lines and community leaders enlarged churches. Businessmen endeavored to make Raleigh a prosperous city before the turn of the 20th century.
A critical element to Raleigh's future growth was the provision of a stable, potable water supply. From its founding in 1792, until the municipal water works went into operation, Raleigh depended on springs, wells and cisterns for its water supply. The Raleigh Water Works complex, built in 1887 at the 1800 block of Fayetteville Street, was designed by civil engineer Arthur Winslow. Filtered water was fed to the 2,500,000 gallon holding reservoir. A 14-inch main carried water to the city and elevated storage was provided by a water tower. By the early 1900s, the water supply system had expanded to cover the entire city.
Besides the provision of water another amenity which was lauded by Raleigh's public and private sectors was transportation. The electrified streetcar in the capital city did not materialize until 1891, but for five years before this, mule-drawn, open-sided vehicles ran short routes in the square mile. Although Raleigh was one of the first cities in North Carolina to possess the technology for the creation of electric power, the city's system foundered repeatedly. In the 1890s and 1900s, streetcars, street lighting and the power for newly located textile mills were the only uses to which electricity could be applied. Streetcars were a handy and relatively inexpensive justification for electrification requiring only a few large motors and auxiliary equipment plus the cost of generators and trunk lines. Raleigh's electric service was preparing for rapid expansion by 1908, when Raleigh Electric Company merged with two other regional suppliers to form Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L), now Progress Energy. A new Power House was constructed about 1910 to power the electric streetcar system and a new streetcar garage was built in 1925, where cars were stored and repaired. The electric streetcar revolutionized transportation technology. Traversing and skirting the central business district, the tracks opened up a suburban ring and enabled the electric trains to travel fast, about four times faster than the horse-drawn systems they replaced.
In addition to being North Carolina's capital, Raleigh emerged as an educational center in the 19th century. St. Mary’s College, founded in 1842 by the Episcopal Church, is the oldest continuously operating school in Raleigh and the third oldest school for girls in North Carolina. The Peace Institute was incorporated in 1858 as a Presbyterian-affiliated school for young women. One of the earliest public education facilities in Raleigh was the N.C. School for the Blind and Deaf (1848). An agricultural and industrial college, the N.C. Agriculture Experiment Station, was founded in 1877. Ten years later, the General Assembly established the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which became North Carolina State University in 1917. Educational institutions for African Americans such as Shaw University (established 1865) and St. Augustine's College (established in 1867) attracted increasing numbers of black students, staff and faculty to Raleigh.
In the closing decades of the 19th century, some of the city's leading educators lived in Oakwood, an area created from wooded land northeast of the city. The Oakwood neighborhood borrowed its name from the nearby cemetery and was the first district in Raleigh solely created to be an exclusive residential suburb. Many prominent citizens built and lived in the fine one-and two-story, frame and brick Victorian style dwellings reflecting the primarily middle-class tastes of the era. Residents of the neighborhood were employed in the banking and law firms in the central business district, the local and state governments, and the educational facilities. Oakwood remained a bastion of the middle class through the early 20th century. Laborers and skilled workers were also drawn to Raleigh in search of employment. The domiciles that were constructed by and for them are typical of those found throughout the Southern region of the country. The one- and two-story frame houses situated in Raleigh's African American neighborhoods include Queen Anne sytle cottages, shotguns and Triple-As.
Between 1900 and the beginning of World War I, the composition of Raleigh's urban and suburban sections fluctuated as city leaders sought to mold the image of the capital city of North Carolina. The construction of hospitals, schools, churches and residences added diversity to the urban fabric. Textile production and railroad traffic were expanding in Raleigh. In 1903 alone 65 buildings were under construction worth a total value of $300,000. New tall office buildings of seven and 10 stories began to tower above the 19th century two- and three-story stores downtown. From 1874 to 1907 the tallest building besides the 85-foot-high water tower had been the Briggs Hardware Building, a four-story, red brick, flat-roofed, commercial building with stamped metal trim. In 1908, the seven-story Masonic Temple became the first building in the state to utilize new technological changes and innovations that were completely modernizing the traditional structure and arrangement of the building industry. Designed by South Carolina architect Charles McMillan, the stone-faced building of reinforced concrete and steel exemplifies skyscraper architecture begun in Chicago in the 1880s which continued as a type into the mid-20th century.
Raleigh's population increased 79 percent from 1900 (13,643 people) to 1920 (24,418 people). With a utility infrastructure firmly entrenched, water, electricity and inexpensive transportation provided better living conditions. Proximity to utilities permitted industrial endeavors to locate in or near the city limits. The surface transportation and a centralized, semi-skilled urban labor force were additional incentives to attracting textile mills in the final decade of the 19th century. Professionals such as educators, attorneys, physicians and entrepreneurs were enticed to the city as growth in commerce, health care and education increased. Raleigh's educational institutions for blacks and whites, men and women, and facilities for the handicapped attracted families to the city from other parts of the state. This influx of people necessitated the development of new or existing residential areas, which lead to the growth of Raleigh's suburbs in the early to mid-20th century.
Essay primarily excerpted from Raleigh Comprehensive Architectural Survey Final Report, Helen Patricia Ross, Raleigh Historic Development Commission, 1992.
Following the Civil War, Raleigh became a center of opportunity and advancement for African Americans. That significance is evident today in numerous landmarks, districts, and educational and cultural institutions.
Foremost are two institutes of higher education: Shaw University and Saint Augustine's College. From its founding in 1865, Shaw University, the oldest historically black college in the Southeast, quickly became a major center both for academic and technical training. The campus contains several buildings that date from its founding years, most prominently four-story Italianate style Estey Hall, built in 1873 to serve Shaw's female students, and recently rehabilitated.
In east Raleigh, Saint Augustine's College, founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Church to educate black teachers, offers a testament to the resourcefulness of its first students. The campus features several buildings built of stone quarried by students, including the Gothic Revival style St. Augustine's Chapel. Also located on the campus is St. Agnes Hospital and Training School for Nurses, built to provide care for and by African Americans. At the turn of the last century, Rev. Henry Delany supervised St. Agnes as the college's Vice Principal; decades later, his daughters Bessie and Sarah memorialized those early years in their autobiographical work, Having Our Say.
The presence of these institutions in turn prompted development of the land surrounding the schools into black neighborhoods. Idlewild and College Park, near Saint Augustine's College, and South Park, near Shaw, exhibit a large stock of vernacular building types, especially the Hall and Parlor House, Triple A House and Saddlebag House, and tell the story of the newfound opportunities for homeownership among African Americans.
Other black neighborhoods were established on the outskirts of town. The Oberlin community, founded in the late 1860s as a freedmen's village, is today represented by several late 19th- and early 20th-century dwellings: the Queen Anne style Rev. Plummer T. Hall house and the Colonial-Revival style Willis Graves and John T. & Mary Turner houses.
By the turn of the 19th century, these educational and business prospects were creating a new black middle class. Simultaneously, the social and political barriers of segregation emerged. In this climate Dr. M. T. Pope, a prominent physician and businessman, erected a stylish two-story residence on Wilmington Street, at the edge of the mostly-black Fourth Ward. A Shaw alumnus, Dr. Pope went on to a bid for Mayor in 1919, at a time when Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation. In the years since, nearly all the adjacent residences--both white and black--have been demolished. Yet the Dr. M. T. Pope House stands, now being transformed into a museum that will tell the story of this extraordinary Raleigh citizen.
Just to the north, East Hargett Street became Raleigh's black "main street," location of the city's greatest concentration of black-owned businesses (including the medical practice of Dr. Pope). Immediately adjacent are Moore Square, one of the city's four original public squares, and beyond that, the 1914 City Market, gathering point for white and black residents alike. The surrounding area contains a varied collection of two- to three-story commercial establishments, many of which in recent years have found new life as offices, small shops and entertainment venues.
During the Great Depression, measures were taken to improve recreation options for black citizens. Just east of downtown is Chavis Park, which was opened in the summer of 1938. Today, this community facility serves as a city-wide resource, beckoning residents with its rolling natural landscape and one of Raleigh's two antique carousels, this one designed by the Allan Herschell Company in the 1920s.
Far to the west, a portion of Umstead State Park traces a similar history. Established in 1937 as the Crabtree Creek Recreational Demonstration Area, the 6,000-acre federal Civilian Conservation Corps land reclamation project was turned over to the state in the 1940s. The adjacent Reedy Creek State Park was created for African Americans in 1950. The Crabtree Creek section, renamed for conservationist governor William B. Umstead in 1955, was united with the Reedy Creek section as Umstead State Park in 1966. Today the reforested land forms a unique nature preserve, almost wholly surrounded by the growing city of Raleigh.
These educational, cultural and recreational institutions helped confirm Raleigh as a hub of black opportunity. In the process, they underscored the city's development as a center of government, education and commerce in North Carolina's Piedmont. Through the efforts of historic preservation advocates, many of these historic places have been renovated and restored, and will continue to tell the stories of African Americans in Raleigh.
In the first decade of the new century, the population of "Greater Raleigh" grew by about 40 percent, to 19,218 inhabitants by 1910. In 1907 the Raleigh city limits were expanded for the first time since 1857, extended one mile in each direction from Union (Capitol) Square. This rapid growth and transition from a predominantly agrarian society and economy to an urbanizing, industrializing one was reflected in the development of three suburban neighborhoods dating from this decade. Between 1906 and 1910, Glenwood, Boylan Heights, and Cameron Park were platted to the northwest, southwest and west of Raleigh's city limits, respectively. Set on land that was once the site of great plantations, these suburbs represented new patterns of landholding and tenancy.
In overall design, the neighborhoods embraced natural features--creeks, valleys, richly forested areas of deciduous and evergreen trees--giving them a sylvan appearance, yet each was directly linked to downtown via thoroughfares or new streetcar lines. Beyond them, amusement or city parks came to be developed, offering a recreational transition from town life to the surrounding countryside.
Smaller lot sizes echoed the changes being wrought by growth, industrialization and urbanization. Families no longer needed large tracts for sustenance; utilities and trade eliminated the need for numerous outbuildings. People could literally confine all activity to a single dwelling and still have a yard and garden on a small plot.
The people attracted to the neighborhoods were, for the most part, not the old wealthy families of Blount or Hillsborough streets, but those newly ascended to the middle class. They were from the growing service and support professions for the state, the educational institutions of the city and the growing commercial class. And, in an age when restrictive covenants prevented African Americans from buying lots, the ownership of these neighborhoods was exclusively white.
As a response, South Park became a black suburb by virtue of its location near Shaw University. South Park originated out of the Moses Bledsoe estate south of the old city limits, an area virtually uninhabited prior to 1865. By the time of its development between 1905 and 1910, the area had streetcar service connecting South Raleigh to downtown Raleigh and the rest of the city, which made its development desirable.
The idea of suburbs, as it had emerged in America after 1850, and especially as propagated by Town and Davis, and by Olmstead and Vaux, was based on the desire to remove people from unpleasant urban life to a picturesque, sometimes romantic, rural-like setting. These amenities were achieved by controlled density, heavy planting, parks, walks, natural features of great beauty and an architecture commensurate with those features which emphasize the rustic, romantic and evocative.
This pattern of development continued in 1912, when the streetcar was extended north from the western edge of downtown along Glenwood Avenue through farmland and woods to Bloomsbury Amusement Park, further from what was quickly becoming a crowded city. The Five Points neighborhoods (Bloomsbury, Georgetown, Hayes Barton, Roanoke Park and Vanguard Park) display a variety of architectural styles. The diversity in style is unified by the curvilinear streets and naturalistic settings established in Raleigh in the earlier suburbs, and exemplified in the Hayes Barton neighborhood, designed by Earle Sumner Draper, a preeminent New South landscape architect.
Despite continued changes in modes of transportation and architectural styles, the development patterns exemplified in these early suburban neighborhoods are reflected in much of the subsequent development in Raleigh.
From the late 1940s through the 1960s, Raleigh was a proving ground for the architectural movement known as Modernism. Modernist design, characterized by simplicity of form, minimal ornamentation and innovative use of materials, drew from the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and noted European designers. The number of architecturally significant residences and offices built in the city attest to the movement's impressive local impact.
The source of the city's new status was the School of Design at North Carolina State College (later North Carolina State University). Established in 1948 under the deanship of Henry Kamphoefner (1908-1990), the School of Design quickly became a conduit for new European and South American ideas, as well as those of their chief American proponent, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose influence on North Carolina architecture to that point had been negligible. Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally-known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops.
The School's architecture instructors, while few in number, did much to consolidate Modernism as a new architectural force, leavening the training of student designers with on-the-ground experimentation. Faculty members manifested their concepts in a series of residences designed for themselves, for other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
The first of these houses were strongly influenced by the work of Wright, most notably the Kamphoefner, Fadum and Ritcher houses, all of which evoke the flat roof, large windows and open living spaces of Wright's Usonian Houses. Wright's Usonian concepts dovetailed well with the School of Design architects' interest in modular design, in passive solar climate control and the integration of buildings into their sites, in the use of low-cost mass-produced industrial materials and techniques for constructing housing, as well as in a wealth of aesthetic issues having to do with creating an architecture that was expressive both of structure and of the conditions of the modern age.
In the early 1950s the design concepts of Mies van der Rohe became increasingly apparent, as witnessed in the Matsumoto and Small houses. Both exhibit a Miesian concern for articulating space by horizontal and vertical planes; for exposed framework; for a classical definition of base, body and roof; and for the integration of outdoors and indoors through large expanses of glazing. Like the Wrightian houses, these residences were well-received in architectural circles, and were widely published in the architectural press.
It was the faculty's institutional and commercial buildings, however, that attracted the widest attention. Easily the most celebrated is the 1952 J. S. Dorton Arena, located on the North Carolina State Fair Grounds. Originally intended as a facility for livestock judging, the revolutionary design by émigré Polish architect Matthew Nowicki consists of two opposing parabolic arches of concrete balanced by a network of crosswise cables suspended between them, creating the unique saddle-shaped hyperbolic parabaloid roof form and a totally column-free interior. The building earned international acclaim, and confirmed Raleigh's reputation as a proving ground for modernist architectural innovation.
The Raleigh City Council has supported historic preservation activities in the city through an appointed citizen commission since 1961, five years before the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. At that time the council formed the Historic Sites Commission--the first such body in the state--and allowed it limited powers to further preservation objectives within the municipal limits. The Commission incorporated in 1962 and gained its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in 1965. Its first efforts were directed toward public education to raise awareness among citizens about the values of the community's historic places and the threats they faced.
By 1967, the Historic Sites Commission had gained enough experience to be instrumental in obtaining local legislation from the North Carolina General Assembly that allowed it broader powers. Among these powers was the right "to hold, manage, preserve, restore, improve and operate [historic properties]." This legislation was central to the success of the Commission's first major preservation initiative: securing the future of the threatened Mordecai House, which was acquired by the city in June of that year and turned over to the Commission to develop and supervise as a historic park. Again, the Historic Sites Commission had accomplished a pioneering preservation feat in North Carolina: the acquisition and restoration of a historic property by a municipality for the express purpose of preventing its demolition had never before occurred in North Carolina.
From 1967 to 1969, the Commission worked with the City Council to develop a plan for Mordecai Square and to submit a grant application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the restoration of Mordecai House. In May 1970, the city was awarded $29,750 which, along with funds raised locally, was used to restore the house. In April 1972 it was opened to the public. It was noted at the time that the Mordecai House had been in the possession of the descendants of its builder for 182 years until it was acquired by the City of Raleigh for the pleasure and enrichment of present and future generations.
To acquire the original Mordecai family furnishings and artifacts for the restored house, the Commission formed the Mordecai Square Historical Society, Inc. (now Capital Area Preservation, Inc.) in March 1972. The formation of the society was important for a number of reasons: municipalities cannot acquire and maintain antiques and artifacts; an organization was needed to provide volunteer docents and a means of broad citizen participation for the park; and a public-private partnership was needed to realize the potential of Mordecai Historic Park as an educational and preservation planning center for the city. As the park continued to develop, the scope of activities for both organizations broadened. The city's first historic sites as recommended by the Commission were designated by the City Council in 1969.
State government reorganization in 1973 engendered the reorganization of the Historic Sites Commission into the Raleigh Historic Properties and Districts Commission. The actions of the old Historic Sites Commission were ratified and the responsibilities of the new body were expanded again. Further changes in the late 1970s and early 1980s lead to two separate commissions, the Raleigh Historic Properties Commission and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. In 1976, the city designated its first local historic overlay district, Oakwood. This was followed the next year by two more districts.
In January 1988, the City of Raleigh was designated a Certified Local Government, allowing the city to participate directly in the federal historic preservation program. In January 1993, the most recent reorganization of the city's historic preservation program took place. All powers and duties allowed under state enabling legislation (revised in 1989 and 1991) were consolidated into one commission, renamed the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. The 1993 ordinance revisions included the first application in the state of powers authorized by the general assembly in 1989 to prevent demolition by neglect of locally-designated historic resources.
The first comprehensive architectural survey of the city was completed in 1978 and updated and greatly expanded between 1988 and 1992. This latter effort included the pioneering African American Studies Project that combined oral history and architectural survey to more fully identify and document Raleigh's eight traditionally black communities. The survey also took note of the city's national role in the Modern architectural movement through the North Carolina State School of Design, and several "recent past" properties were listed in the National Register and as local landmarks. The city's first historic preservation plan was completed in 1991 under the guidance of the Commission, when its mission statement was adopted: to serve as City Council's official historic preservation advisory body to identify, preserve, protect and educate the public about Raleigh's historic resources.
Today, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission administers ordinances involving five locally designated historic districts and more than 125 Raleigh Historic Landmarks. There are over 80 National Register historic districts and more than 80 individual listings in the city, including three National Historic Landmarks.
The Crabtree Creek Recreational Demonstration Area, now known as Umstead State Park, is a significant Depression-era public works project, the purpose of which was to convert exhausted farmland into a recreational park. The facility's 5,337 acres constitute the region's largest and most extensive project of its type. In 1934, the then newly-formed Resettlement Administration began assembling some 400 tracts of farmland 12 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration then recruited laborers from among the region's young men, who, under the supervision of architects, landscape architects, foresters and engineers, set about reversing years of soil degradation. The laborers planted forests, dammed creeks to create lakes and instituted formal land management practices. They also constructed rustic-style group camps, bridges, roads, trails and picnic areas. The result is piedmont North Carolina's premier collection of New Deal rustic architecture and landscape design.
Most of the park's features were installed between 1936 and 1941. In 1943, the entire area was deeded to the state. Seven years later, the southern portion was designated as a separate area for African Americans and named Reedy Creek State Park. In 1955, the northern section was renamed in honor of late Governor William Umstead, a strong supporter of conservation. The two areas were reunited in 1966 as William B. Umstead State Park. Subsequent development within the facility has expanded upon its original vision, with new buildings and site features complementing the design and siting of the originals. Today the once-rural park stands as a forested oasis within the rapidly expanding Triangle metropolitan area.
Crabtree Creek Recreational Demonstration Area, now William B. Umstead State Park, is located on the northwest side of Raleigh, between I-40 and U.S. Rt. 70. It is open to day visitors from 8:00am to dusk, with overnight camping available in designated areas. For further information call 919-571-4170 or visit the park's website.
The J. S. Dorton Arena is one of North Carolina's foremost contributions to modern architecture. Part of the state fairgrounds complex, it was built as a livestock-judging pavilion, but today serves as a year-round exhibition and performance center. Since its completion in 1952, the building has been acclaimed internationally for its innovative fusion of architecture and engineering. The arena's bold parabolic design was conceived by Matthew Nowicki, a Polish architect who helped lay out the rebuilding of Warsaw following World War II. Nowicki assisted in designing the United Nations complex in New York before coming to Raleigh, where he served as acting head of the School of Design at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University).
When local architect William H. Deitrick was commissioned to design the expansion of the fairgrounds complex, he engaged Nowicki as a consulting architect, giving Nowicki full charge of designing the livestock pavilion. Nowicki executed approximately 100 conceptual drawings for the building, but perished in a plane crash in Egypt before construction began. Deitrick completed the pavilion's design closely following Nowicki's plans.
The building's pioneering form garnered numerous international design awards. In 1957, the American Institute of Architects declared it one of the 10 20th-century buildings most expected to influence the future of American architecture. In 1961, to honor a long-time state fair manager, the name of the building was changed to the J. S. Dorton Arena. The arena is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
J. S. Dorton Arena is located at 1026 Blue Ridge Rd., in the North Carolina state fairgrounds complex. It is open regularly for public events. For more information call 919-821-7400 or visit the state fairground's website.
This distinctive pair of buildings occupies a notable place in the agricultural and architectural history of North Carolina. They represent the oldest permanent buildings associated with the North Carolina State Fair, one of the state's premier annual events. Agriculture has long been a mainstay of the North Carolina economy. In celebration of that tradition, the North Carolina Agricultural Society began sponsoring annual fairs in 1853 at a site in east Raleigh. In 1873, the fair was moved to a location west of town. There it remained until 1925 when the agricultural society, faced with debts and site overcrowding, passed control of the event to the state. The following year, the state legislature authorized the purchase of 200 acres west of the second fair site for development as the new fairgrounds. Both the 1926 and 1927 fairs were canceled to accommodate construction.
The exhibit halls, designed by the Durham firm of Atwood and Weeks, were executed in the Spanish Mission Revival style, an architectural form rare in North Carolina. Plans originally called for the buildings to include swine and cattle exhibit areas, but instead barns were built on the opposite side of the grounds. The exhibit halls opened to record crowds in October 1928. The local paper found the new complex a "beautiful structure gaily decorated with flags and hundreds of electric lights."
The two buildings have remained in nearly continuous use since their completion. Over the past half-century, the state fair grounds have undergone considerable expansion, with many new buildings constructed to accommodate event activities. The Commercial and Education Buildings have nonetheless maintained their importance as exhibition facilities, the former annually housing service and product displays and the latter displaying exhibits by non-profit organizations, youth groups and the North Carolina University Extension. Since the 1960s, the buildings have been in use year-round on weekends as the home of a large and popular flea market. In the late 1990s, the buildings received a thorough renovation, renewing the historic look now familiar to three generations of fairgoers. North Carolina State Fair Commercial and Education Buildings are a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The North Carolina State Fair Commercial and Education Buildings are located at the northwest corner of Hillsborough St. and Blue Ridge Blvd. The buildings are open weekends throughout the year, daily during the state fair and at other times of the year for special events. For more information call 919-821-7400 or visit the state fairground's website, for information specifically about the weekly flea markets visit the flea market's website.
The Small Office Building is one of the best examples of the work of architect G. Milton Small. From the late 1940s through the 1960s, the City of Raleigh was a proving ground for the architectural movement known as Modernism. Dean Henry Kamphoefner of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University) recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. One of the most influential architects that Kamphoefner helped bring to North Carolina was G. Milton Small, who moved to Raleigh in 1948 after studying with Mies Van der Rohe in Chicago. Over the next several decades, Small produced a body of work that distinguished him as the most accomplished proponent of Miesian modernism in the area.
Small's own office building, completed in 1966, summarizes key elements of his work over the previous 20 years. To make the best use of a tiny site, the occupied space of the building is raised a story on steel columns, allowing for parking and a fountain-lined entrance walkway underneath. The building seems to hover behind the trees next to the street. In the Miesian tradition, the building is a rectangular box of glass and metal panels with aluminum mullions and an overhanging roof slab. A close examination of the facade and elevations, however, reveals subtle differences in the window and panel configurations, depending on the type of space behind the wall in each area. The entrance to the building is by way of a stairway that rises up into an outer lobby area. From that point, the plan of the building has a clear hierarchy of spaces, with rich finishes for the reception and conference room/principal's office and frankly exposed framework in the long drafting room. Throughout, the black-painted steel columns are exposed in Miesian fashion, and the wall panels are painted in the De Stijl movement colors of black, white, and primary red, blue and yellow. The Small Office Building is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The G. Milton Small and Associates Office Building is located at 105 Brooks Ave. It is now home to HR Associates PA and is open during regular office hours.
The Ritcher House is perhaps the best North Carolina example of the Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian mode of design. It is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
The Ritcher House was designed in 1951 by George Matsumoto. An experiment in low-cost, modular construction, the one-story building with intersecting flat and shed roofs is designed and crafted with the care given to a piece of cabinetry. The house is built with heavy-timber, post-and-beam framing using a three-foot module that is scribed into a Cherokee-red concrete floor. Integrated carefully into a sloping, wooded site, the Ritcher House presents a mostly closed facade to the street and opens up into a terrace and landscaped yard at the rear. This south-faced glazing is balanced with a deep overhang, so that the living spaces are shaded in the summer and warmed by the sun in the winter, while the north side of the house contains mostly windowless bathroom, kitchen and utility spaces. With operable windows, the house could be naturally ventilated from side to side in the summer, while being radiantly heated in the winter by water pipes buried in the concrete floors. In a jaunty note, the round chimney flues are painted a bright orange. The Ritcher House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Ritcher House is located at 3039 Churchill Rd. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The Small House is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
One of the most influential architects that Kamphoefner helped bring to North Carolina was G. Milton Small, who moved to Raleigh in 1948 after studying with Mies Van der Rohe in Chicago. Over the next several decades, Small produced a body of work that distinguished him as the most accomplished proponent of Miesian modernism in the area. Among Small's interesting early works in Raleigh is the house he built for himself and his family. In its original 1951 form, the Small House was a compact, T-shaped, flat-roofed frame box. Except for a small entrance hall, the public living spaces of the house were combined in one long, carefully proportioned rectangular room that opened with sliding doors onto a full-width, screened porch. This porch was cantilevered over a brick retaining wall and was oriented to provide the best view over the hillside to the east. Exposed beams and columns provided the framework for both floor and roof and the outside was covered with plywood paneling. Although the house was built at a very low cost, the interior incorporated veneer plywoods of a variety of exotic woods. This use of exotic materials, the definition of space as roof and floor separated by exposed posts, and the large public area that opens onto semi-outdoor spaces are typical Miesian details. In 1961, additions designed by Small were made to the sides of the house to provide additional space for bedrooms, and for separate living and dining rooms. A raised, paved terrace with trees was added along one side of the house to serve as an entrance court. The Small House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Small House is located at 310 Lake Boone Trail. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The Matsumoto House is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
In 1952, faculty member George Matsumoto began construction of his own house on a steeply sloping tract adjacent to a small stream. Its design shows the same attention to economical, post-and-beam modular construction and careful detailing as is seen in his earlier Richter House design. However, the young Japanese American architect was also strongly influenced by the work of Mies Van der Rohe, and the Matsumoto House demonstrates a Miesian concern with exposed structure and a sense of suspension generated by the use of lightweight wall, floor and ceiling planes to articulate its internal space. The sloping site allowed Matsumoto to put a lower level built of concrete block under the house, a space which contained his studio and which forms a base for the frame box cantilevered above it. The rectangular, flat-roofed mass of the main living areas is reached by a small bridge rising from a Japanese-influenced outdoor court. While the street side of the house presents a mostly-blank facade divided into panels, all of the rooms along the back of the house open with glass doors and windows onto a cantilevered, screened rear porch, extending the living space visually into the wooded hillside beyond. The Matsumoto House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Matsumoto House is located at 821 Runnymede Rd. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The Kamphoefner House is the first of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The Henry L. Kamphoefner House was the first in a series of residences the faculty designed for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
The Kamphoefner House was designed by Henry Kamphoefner with George Matsumoto in 1948. Influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian mode of house design, the house is oriented around a large, central brick chimney. Usonian design is characterized by small scale, affordable construction, open plan interiors, integration of interior and exterior spaces, flat roof and large glazed areas such as windows and doors. The bedroom wing extends from the core of the house, presenting a brick facade toward the street, while the glazed walls of the principal living areas open onto terraces on the property's private side, providing views over the adjacent golf course. The house makes use of clerestory ventilation and incorporates the first insulating glass in Raleigh. The Kamphoefner House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Henry L. Kamphoefner House is located at 3060 Granville Dr. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The Fadum House is one of several Modernist houses built in Raleigh from the 1940s to the 1960s. These houses were the manifestation of architectural concepts embraced by the faculty of the School of Design, established in 1948 at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). Dean Henry Kamphoefner recruited several Modernist architects as faculty members, and was instrumental in influencing other Modernists to come to North Carolina to practice. He also brought internationally known architects to the school to lecture and to lead studio workshops. The faculty designed several residences for themselves, other faculty members, or for a small group of clients interested in new ideas in architecture. Built for the most part on relatively ample, wooded suburban lots, located on what then were the outskirts of the city, a key element in most of the designs is a careful integration of the house with its site.
Designed by James Fitzgibbon, the Fadum House was built from 1949 to 1950. It was located adjacent to the Kamphoefner House, home of the Dean of the School of Design. The Fadum House has a single-slope flat roof supported by large, built-up wood columns, giving it a wedge-shaped section. Built on a two by four module, the house displays finishes throughout of exposed brick, stained and sealed plywood, or tongue-and-groove pine, cypress or redwood. Its deeply cantilevered overhangs, orientation to the southeast, and large expanses of glass allow for supplemental solar heating in the winter. Influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian mode of design, the Fadum House presents a mostly blank facade with carport toward the street, while opening up elevations toward a natural site on the sides and rear. Usonian design is characterized by small scale, affordable construction, open plan interiors, integration of interior and exterior spaces, flat roof and large glazed areas such as windows and doors. The Fadum House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Fadum House is located at 3056 Granville Dr. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The suburban neighborhoods that comprise the Five Points Neighborhoods were part of an extremely important planning movement that had captured the imagination of the Progressive Reformers of Raleigh. In line with their desire for a new, simple, efficient lifestyle that was symbolized by the new bungalow houses which became popular in the 1920s, these suburban neighborhoods were planned communities with services that epitomized efficiency as well as providing escape from unhealthy and hectic urban life. The early suburbs of Raleigh included Oakwood in the late 19th century to the northeast of the center city and Boylan Heights, Glenwood and Cameron Park, platted between 1906 and 1910 to the southwest, west and northwest of the center city, respectively. With Raleigh’s population growing and residential and commercial development resuming after World War I, the area of the Five Points Neighborhoods was developed through planned suburban growth. Two hundred and seventy houses were constructed in the Bloombury Historic District during the 1920s; the majority of them being bungalow and Colonial Revival dwellings that housed the middle and upper-middle class families of businessmen and upper management. In contrast, the nearby areas of Roanoke Park and Georgetown displayed mixed income occupancy. In the Roanoke Park Historic District, the earliest, largest and most ornate houses are found near the major arteries of Glenwood, Whitaker Mill and Fairview roads. This location afforded access to the streetcar line for government workers and businessmen. The Vanguard Park neighborhood, today part of the Vanguard Park Historic District, was surveyed and platted in 1917 by C. L. Mann, a local land surveyor who also platted the Bloomsbury and Hayes Barton neighborhoods. Approximately 40 Craftsmen style homes, in both bungalow and front-gable forms, were built in the Vanguard Park Historic District between 1920 and 1929. Surviving houses dating from this first wave of construction are concentrated in the southern and western region of the district on Whitaker Mill Road, the 100 and 200 blocks of Hudson Street, Carroll Drive and McCarthy Street.
These new locations were designed to capitalize on their proximity to the well-to-do neighborhood of Hayes Barton, found in the Hayes Barton Historic District, which was designed by preeminent New South landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper. Draper was one of the first to plan suburban developments as concise design units, and also pioneered golf fairway designs with integrated housing for both upper and moderate income levels, planned some of the earliest and largest greenbelt buffers (open park spaces surrounding planned suburban developments), and was an innovator in mill village design. Furthermore, Draper’s idea of the garden as an outdoor living room came in a 1927 article, 25 years before the prominent Modernist designer Garret Eckbo and other West Coast landscape architects began using the term during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The Hayes Barton design includes roads fitted to the contours of the land, creating opportunities for small park areas, often in the street medians. The other neighborhoods of Five Points, although not designed by Draper, also take their design clues from his work. Architecturally, styles as varied as Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Craftsmen Bungalow, Period (English) Cottage, French Eclectic/Norman Revival, American Foursquare, American Colonial, Modernist, Minimal Tradition and Ranch are found in the Five Points Neighborhoods, designed by such local architects (especially in the Hayes Barton Historic District) as Thomas W. Cooper, William H. Dietrick, Charles Atwood, Arthur C. Nash and James A. Salter. The use of stone, which came primarily from a local granite quarry, is a hallmark of the Five Points Neighborhoods. Overall, Raleigh’s Five Points Neighborhoods exemplify the variety of architectural styles that were popular nationally between 1915 and 1950. Four of the five neighborhoods have been nominated thus far to the National Register of Historic Places as componets of the Five Points Neighborhoods, Raleigh, North Carolina Multiple Property Submission (MPS).
The Five Points Neighborhoods MPS includes the neighborhoods of Bloomsbury, Vanguard Park, Hayes Barton and Roanoke Park. Located directly north of the Glenwood neighborhood and to the northwest of central Raleigh, the area is roughly bounded on the west by Saint Mary’s St., on the north by Byrd and Oxford sts., and on the east by White Oak Rd., Reaves Dr. and Carson St., and on the south by the Norfolk-Southern (formerly Norfolk and Western) railroad, present-day Wade Ave., and historically, the large parkland of the Methodist Orphanage. Glenwood Ave. intersects with Fairview Rd. and Whitaker Mill Rd. creating the Five Points intersection. The houses of these neighbhorhoods are privately owned, and not open to the public.
Nationally prominent journalist and statesman Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) resided in this house from 1920 until his death. The two-story house, named Wakestone by Daniels' wife, the former Addie Worth Bagley, is situated on three acres at the edge of Hayes Barton, a suburban 1920s neighborhood northwest of downtown Raleigh. Daniels embodied the complexity of Democratic Party politics in early 20th-century North Carolina. An influential editor and journalist, he promoted progressive concepts such as better public schools, women's suffrage and railroad regulation, yet he also supported the Jim Crow laws which enforced racial segregation. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee for many years, and a close friend of William Jennings Bryan. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Daniels as Secretary of the Navy. Over the next eight years--a tenure equaled only by Gideon Welles under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson--Daniels instituted a series of far-reaching reforms. He introduced compulsory schooling for undereducated sailors, approved the enlistment of women and fought collusive bidding for government contracts. He banned alcoholic beverages from the officers' mess and instead supplied coffee, which was nicknamed "cup of Joe." Although many of his measures alienated businessmen and naval officers, Daniels' actions helped prepare the Navy for its role in World War I. A captured German deck gun, installed in front of Daniels' Raleigh home, commemorates his term of appointment.
During his career, Daniels owned and operated several newspapers, including the Raleigh News & Observer. Upon leaving office, Daniels returned to editorship of the News & Observer and full-time residency at Wakestone. He also remained in close contact with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Daniels. In 1933, newly elected President Roosevelt appointed Daniels as Ambassador to Mexico, where he promoted Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America. In 1941, Daniels resigned his post because of his wife's ill health, and returned to Raleigh. After Addie Daniels died in 1943, the S.S. Addie Daniels was commissioned in her honor. Josephus Daniels died in Raleigh in 1948 at the age of 85. In 1950, the house was purchased by the Raleigh Masons, and became the headquarters for the Masonic Temple of Raleigh. While the organization has made several external and internal alterations (most significantly a late 1950s rear addition), work has been largely compatible in design and materials with the original residence.The Josephus Daniels House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Josephus Daniels House, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 1520 Caswell St. Privately owned, the building is not open to the public.
The Mordecai House is the oldest residence in Raleigh on its original foundation. Closely associated with the founding Lane family, the property is representative of the plantations that once dominated the local landscape. In recent years, the building has also come to symbolize public commitment to local historic preservation. At one time the house was the seat of one of the largest farms in Wake County, encompassing more than 5,000 acres. The oldest portion of the home was built about 1785 by Joel Lane for his son Henry. Seven years later, Joel Lane sold 1,000 acres immediately south of the house to the state as the site of the new capital city of Raleigh.
The house takes its name from Moses Mordecai, who twice married into the family of Henry Lane--first to daughter Margaret and after her death to her sister Ann. Before his death in 1824, Moses Mordecai hired William Nichols, then State Architect, to enlarge the original house. This addition is considered a significant work of Nichols, who had previously overseen the remodeling of the State House. In 1826, with the completion of the four new rooms, the Mordecai house was transformed into a Greek Revival mansion. The Mordecai family was prominent in local and state affairs. Jacob, Moses' father, founded a girls' school in Warrenton, North Carolina. Moses was a prominent lawyer and member of the 1805 Court of Conference. Moses Mordecai had two sons, Henry and Jacob, and one daughter, Ellen, by his first wife and one daughter, Margaret, by his second. Henry was a prosperous planter at Mordecai House and served in the State Legislature. His daughter Margaret and her descendants owned and occupied Mordecai House until 1967.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the subdivision and sale of Mordecai lands helped feed Raleigh's expansion as a city. In 1867, Henry Mordecai donated a wooded parcel east of the city to establish a Confederate cemetery; another plot became the county's first Hebrew Cemetery. The adjacent Oakwood Cemetery, chartered in 1869, eventually lent its name to the large suburb that developed in the adjoining wooded land, earlier known as Mordecai Grove. In 1974, Oakwood became the first neighborhood in Raleigh to be listed in the National Register
Sales of Mordecai property continued until 1967, when the house and its surrounding block were put on the market. Spurred by local preservationists, the city purchased the property, turning it over to the Raleigh Historic Sites Commission to supervise and develop as a historic park. The commission was able to obtain many original Mordecai furnishings, as well as preserve the family papers and library. Mordecai Square Historic Park is now managed by City of Raleigh's Parks and Recreation Department. The Mordecai House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Mordecai House is located at 1 Mimosa St. in the Mordecai Square Historic Park, about one half mile north of the State Capitol, just off Wake Forest Rd. It is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Tours begin on the hour, with the last one departing at 3:00pm; closed major holidays. There is a fee for guided tours. For further information call 919-857-4364 or visit house's website.
Located 10 blocks east of the State Capitol, St. Augustine's College was founded in 1867, an outgrowth of Christian missionary work in the Reconstruction Era South. With Shaw University, it established Raleigh as a center of educational opportunity for freedmen, and over the years has graduated many of the region's most accomplished African Americans. Among its early faculty members was Rev. Henry Beard Delany, whose daughters Bessie and Sadie, as centenarians, recounted their childhood days on campus in the national bestseller Having Our Say.
Affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church, St. Augustine's began as a normal school with a technical and trade-related program, and subsequently adopted a liberal arts curriculum. The church further extended its mission by establishing St. Agnes Hospital and Training School for Nurses, to provide medical care for and by African Americans. Historically, the school also has served as an anchor of the predominantly black neighborhoods of Idlewild and College Park, which flank it.
The evolving nature of the school is reflected in its varied architecture. The campus' earliest buildings are clustered around a central, landscaped oval and near Oakwood Avenue, which runs east to west past the school. St. Augustine's Chapel (1895) was constructed of stone in the Gothic style; the Romanesque Benson Library building (1896), which is now part of Taylor Hall (1902), and St. Agnes Hospital (1909) are also built from stone. The Hunter, Delany and Cheshire buildings, dating from the early 20th century, are constructed of brick in the Classical Revival style. While contemporary buildings of the school's outer grounds provide a modernist contrast, the campus core remains a tangible bequest from St. Augustine's pioneering beginnings. St. Augustine's Chapel and St. Agnes Hospital are designated Raleigh Historic Landmarks.
The St. Augustine's College Historic District is located at 1315 Oakwood Ave. Buildings and grounds are open during daytime school hours. For further information visit the school's website.
Oakwood is Raleigh's only intact 19th-century neighborhood. It was the first area in the city to be listed in the National Register, and is Raleigh's oldest and largest local historic district. The development of Oakwood began shortly after the Civil War. The locally prominent Mordecai family donated a tract east of the city as a cemetery for Confederate soldiers; in 1869, a larger, private cemetery, named Oakwood, was chartered immediately adjoining it.
Sales of residential parcels just to the west, in the wooded area known as Mordecai Grove, began at about the same time. Development was slow but steady, with the majority of residences built between 1890 and 1930. Reflecting this extended construction period, homes display a diversity of architectural styles including Queen Anne, Second Empire, Classical Revival and Bungalow. The narrow lots, small front yards, large front porches and tree-lined sidewalks unify and give an intimacy to this diverse residential district.
Two lot-sized parks and a small commercial area are also located within the approximately 25-block neighborhood. Oakwood's original residents mostly plied middle class trades, walking to work in the nearby downtown. Following World War I, however, as the automobile came into general use and more fashionable neighborhoods developed on Raleigh's outskirts, many second generation families moved away. Numerous residences were subsequently divided into apartments or rooming houses. Upkeep often lagged, and by mid-century the area seemed destined for urban renewal. Around 1970, however, the renovation of several houses sparked an interest in neighborhood revitalization. The announcement in 1972 of plans for a major thoroughfare through the heart of Oakwood united residents, and the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood was formed. The thoroughfare plan was ultimately thwarted and neighborhood revitalization continues. Oakwood is now one of Raleigh's major tourist attractions. It is a tangible reminder of Southern urban life during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but is also a vital modern community.
Oakwood Historic District, directly east of the Executive Mansion, is roughly bounded by Person St. on the west, Franklin St. on the north, Watauga and Linden sts. on the east, and Edenton and Morson sts. on the south. Walking tour maps are available at the Raleigh Capital Area Visitor Services, located in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History at 5 E. Edenton St. For further information visit the neighborhood's website, which includes information on the Annual Garden Tour and December's Candlelight Tour. Oakwood Cemetery (www.historicoakwood.com) is open to visitors daily, from 8:00am to 5:00pm in the winter, and until 6:00pm the rest of the year.
One of the grand dames of early 20th-century Raleigh, the Neo-Classical Revival Tucker House was repaired after fire destroyed parts of it in the 1930s. Forty years later, it was preserved by moving it a full city block from its original location. The residence was built for Garland Scott Tucker, a Raleigh businessman. Tucker was the founder of G. S. Tucker and Company Furniture, which he expanded into a chain of stores in eastern North Carolina. Tucker married Toler Moore of Tarboro, North Carolina, and in 1904, the first of their four children was born. About 1915, the Tuckers built this house at 420 North Blount Street, then considered the premier residential street in Raleigh. The elegant home was a bit unusual for its time--it not only had a bathroom downstairs, but two more upstairs. A descendant recalls the layout--a reception hall, library, radio room, telephone room and dining room downstairs, as well as the kitchen, bathroom and a butler's pantry--in the pre-World War I years when household servants were a fixture. There are also four fireplaces downstairs and five bedrooms and a sleeping porch upstairs. The home boasts fine mahogany woodwork throughout, dark paneling on the walls and beautiful hardwood floors, which incorporate Greek key designs.
As the Tucker's family home, the mansion was the scene of a constant round of formal teas, receptions and parties for many years. When necessary, it was also used for family funerals, with the deceased lying in state in one of the richly appointed rooms while the funeral service was performed. One night in the 1930s, as the family slept in the upstairs bedrooms, fire broke out on the first floor. The people escaped without injury, but damage was severe in some downstairs rooms. The damage was repaired, however, and life went on. The Tucker children grew up and moved away. Garland S. Tucker, Sr. died in 1949. Mrs. Tucker continued to reside there until her death in 1972, when the house passed into the hands of their only son, Garland S. Tucker, Jr. At that time, many homes surrounding the Tucker House were falling to demolition, as the state government pursued pressing needs for expansion. In 1975, Tucker donated the house to the city of Raleigh. The city responded by moving the house one block, to 414 N. Person Street, there to take on new life as a center for community and private events. The city renovated the mansion and furnished it with antique furniture. Today is serves as a community meeting house for the adjacent Mordecai and Oakwood neighborhoods, and as a rental facility. The Tucker House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark
The Tucker House is managed by the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. Those wishing to visit may schedule a time by calling 919-831-6009. The house is also available for weddings, receptions, small parties, conferences and similar functions.
Dramatically sited at the northern end of Wilmington Street, Peace College's Main Building is an imposing Greek Revival building, architecturally lightened by Italianate accents. Begun c.1859, the four-story brick edifice is one of the largest antebellum buildings surviving in Raleigh. The facade is dominated by a massive central portico supported by four masonry Doric columns. A sawnwork balustrade runs between the columns on each of the porch's three upper levels. At the rear is a central projecting wing, creating a T-shaped composition.
The building's significance is magnified by its historical association with the Reconstruction Era Freedmen's Bureau and the growth of higher education in the capital city. Peace Institute was incorporated in 1858 as a Presbyterian-affiliated school for young women. Its namesake was local merchant William Peace, who donated the land and $10,000 for construction of a building. When the Civil War began, the partially completed building was pressed into service as a hospital. In 1865, the building became the district headquarters of the Freedmen's Bureau, the government body set up to help newly freed African Americans find education and employment.
The Freedmen's Bureau use of the building ended in 1869, and the building underwent extensive renovations, including the addition of the sawnwork trim. However, its use as a school was not entirely assured until 1872, when a joint-stock company made up mainly of members of the Presbyterian Church funded a curriculum of "three courses of instruction: Primary, Preparatory and Collegiate." Growth was slow, but by 1882 there were more than 200 students enrolled. In 1914, Peace became the first accredited junior college in the South; until 1968, it also offered a four-year high school program. In 1995, the curriculum moved to baccalaureate status. Throughout the years, the Main Building has retained its multi-purpose function, housing classrooms, offices and social rooms. New buildings on campus echo the Main Building's architectural forms, but in location and scale defer to the original building's visual dominance. Peace College is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Peace College Main Building is located just north of downtown at 15 E. Peace St. It is open during the college's regular operating hours and for special college functions. For information, contact the college at 919-508-2000 or through their website.
The Capehart House is among Raleigh's finest surviving examples of the Queen Anne style. Its dramatic massing of towers, turrets, dormers and pediments is complemented by a rich combination of colors and textures, including pressed tan brick, rough stone, patterned slate shingles, stained glass and elaborate wood ornamentation. Built in 1898 in the Blount Street area, just north of downtown, the residence added to the neighborhood's rising reputation as an enclave of the well-to-do. The home's designer was Adolphus G. Bauer, a notable local architect whose work included Norburn Terrace, a towered residence off Wake Forest Road, and the now-demolished Baptist Female Seminary and Park Hotel.
The house was constructed for Lucy Catherine Capehart and her second husband, B. A. "Baldy" Capehart. Mrs. Capehart had inherited considerable wealth from the estate of her father, former State Attorney General Bartholomew Moore, and her first husband, Dr. Peyton Henry. B. A. Capehart died in 1899, shortly after he and Lucy moved into the house. Lucy continued to reside there--an invalid for much of the time--until her death in 1908. Subsequently, the house was the home of sheriff H. H. Crocker until 1947, when it was divided into apartments. Since 1971, the house has served as offices for the State Government. In 1979, when much of the surrounding neighborhood was being razed for the state's new Government Mall, the house was moved from 403 North Wilmington Street to its present location on Blount Street.The Capehart House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Capehart House is located at 424 North Blount St. The building is open during the regular office hours of the State Department of Administrative Hearings.
The Hawkins-Hartness House is one of a group of large residences built on North Blount Street during the late 19th century. Collectively, they made the street one of that era's most desirable Raleigh addresses. In its architecture and materials, however, the Hawkins-Hartness House remains boldly individualistic. On October 26, 1881, Dr. Alexander B. Hawkins of Leon County, Florida, purchased the property at the southeast corner of Blount and North streets. Family tradition says that Hawkins' wife, Martha, was particularly fond of the frame house that stood there. The Hawkinses then returned to their home in Florida, after asking Dr. Hawkins' brother, Dr. William J. Hawkins of Raleigh, to have the frame house renovated for them during their absence. When they returned, the story goes, the Hawkinses found the brother had instead moved the original house across town, and in its place built a new brick house of his own design for them. Mrs. Hawkins is believed to have subsequently had the 92-foot verandah added to modify what she considered to be the overly severe appearance of the exterior. Whatever their original reaction, the Hawkinses found the house enough to their liking that they lived there the rest of their lives.
Raleigh did not have a citywide water system until 1889. To secure water for washing, Dr. Hawkins had a windmill installed in the backyard to pump water from a well into a tank located in the attic. A 6,000-gallon rainwater cistern in the north garden furnished filtered drinking water for both Hawkins house and the Governor's Mansion, built in 1891, immediately to the south.
Dr. Hawkins died in 1922. Mrs. Sadie Erwin, wife of Durham, North Carolina, manufacturer William A. Erwin, then acquired the house, but the Erwins apparently never lived in the house. In 1928, it was purchased by Mrs. Annie Sloan Hartness, whose husband, James A. Hartness, served as North Carolina Secretary of State between 1929 and 1931. In 1969, during a wave of state government expansion north from its historical focus around the Capitol, the house was bought by the state. Today the building serves as the offices of the Lieutenant Governor. The Hawkins-Hartness House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Hawkins-Hartness House is located at 310 N. Blount St. The building is open during the regular operating hours of the offices of the Lieutenant Governor of the State of North Carolina.
Among the first grand residences built in Raleigh after the Civil War, the Heck-Andrews House set the tone for the subsequent development of North Blount Street as an enclave of the well-to-do. Industrialist Jonathan McGee Heck had the towering Second Empire house constructed for his wife Mattie in 1869 on what was then the edge of town. Heck was born in western Virginia in 1831. A Confederate officer early in the Civil War, he was captured but subsequently paroled. Heck then turned to manufacturing armaments for the Confederacy, an activity that seeded his fortune. After the war, Heck expanded his wealth through real estate sales and development. It was his wife, however, who pursued the purchase of the Blount Street lot.
During the war, Mattie Heck and her children had led a nomadic existence. In 1866, the family secured a plantation in Warren County, but rural life did not agree with Mrs. Heck. With the purchase of the one-acre lot in Raleigh, the capital city became the Hecks' permanent home. On July 22, 1869, Raleigh builders Wilson and Waddell were contracted to erect "a three story house, with tower, slate and french roof, all materials to be of the very best, and to be put up in the very best manner." The building's architect was G. S. H. Appleget, who also designed the Andrews-Duncan house just across North Street, and Shaw University's Estey Hall.
Life at the house was opulent and active. Photographs show the interior lavishly decorated in the style of the day, with heavy draperies, lace curtains, mahogany furniture and plush carpets. Eight of the Hecks' 12 children were born at the house. One daughter, Fannie, grew to national prominence as president of the Women's Missionary Union from 1890 until her death in 1915.
Jonathan Heck died in 1894. In 1916, Mattie Heck deeded the house to daughter Mattie Heck Boushall. In 1921, the house was acquired by prominent Raleigh attorney A. B. Andrews, Jr. who had grown up in the Andrews-Duncan house across the street. He is said to have bought the property for his wife, Helen, who sadly died before their move was completed. Andrews moved in nonetheless, frequently entertaining at the house, escorting guests to the top of the four-story tower to view the changing Raleigh skyline. After Andrews' death in 1946, the house experienced a period of decline. In 1987, the state government, which had acquired most of the other large residences on Blount Street as office space, secured controlling interest in the house. Stabilization measures have included complete refurbishment of the exterior. Plans are in development for the adaptive reuse of this designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Heck-Andrews House is located at 309 N. Blount St. It is currently open for special events only.
Since 1891, the Executive Mansion has served as the official residence of North Carolina's governors. Today, as when it was constructed, it serves as an architectural anchor of the Blount Street neighborhood. Its predecessor was a large brick residence built in 1814, at the south end of Fayetteville Street (today's Raleigh Memorial Auditorium stands on the site). Neglect and the damage of war led to that building's abandonment in 1865. For a quarter century afterward, the state's governors resided in private homes or hotels. Planning for a new executive residence began in the 1870s under Governor Zebulon B. Vance.
Burke Square, northeasternmost of the city's four original public squares, was selected as the house site. Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia and his assistant Adolphus Bauer presented their plans in 1883; work began shortly thereafter.Bauer was subsequently to design several other prominent downtown buildings, including the nearby Capehart House. Supervising the work was Colonel W. G. Hicks, superintendent of the State Prison, who economized through use of local materials and convict labor. The initials of several brick-making prisoners can be seen today, etched into the red sidewalk pavers. The house was finished in 1890 and occupied by Governor Daniel G. Fowle on January 5, 1891. Over the years, besides housing the governor's family, the building has been the setting for public functions and social events and has welcomed numerous guests of state. Despite several internal modernizations, the building's exterior is virtually unaltered from its original appearance.The Executive Mansion is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The North Carolina Executive Mansion is located at 201 N. Blount St. Its first floor is open for tours on a frequent basis, particularly during the holidays; hours vary by season. Call the Capital Area Visitor Services at 919-807-7950 for tour times.
The Capitol Area Historic District is a blend of architecture, landscape design and civic art, embodying more than 200 years of local history. Once the geographical center of the city, the area remains Raleigh's historical heart. The district takes its name from its pre-eminent feature. When the streets of Raleigh were laid out in 1792, Union (now Capitol) Square--the site of the State House--was placed at their core. The street grid is the historic district's oldest design legacy.
The city's earliest surviving buildings stand just east of the square. Haywood Hall, built c. 1799, rises on a large landscaped lot that recalls the house's once semi-rural setting. Opposite it is the White-Holman House (c. 1799, with a late 19th-century addition), containing some the city's finest Federal-style interior woodwork. Nearby is the brick State Bank of North Carolina (1813), the state's oldest extant financial building. The collection of early 20th-century residences and apartments built between reflects the downtown area's subsequent urbanization.
Government buildings and churches dominate the district's central portion. The granite, Greek Revival-style Capitol, completed in 1840, stands in the center of the Capitol Square, its cruciform design aligning with the city's four axial streets. Dotting the surrounding lawn are more than a dozen monuments honoring North Carolina soldiers and statesmen, framed by the 1928 Olmstead Brothers landscape plan and ancient trees. Facing the Capitol are six large government buildings, most with granite facades echoing the character of the Capitol. The oldest (1888) is the Supreme Court and State Library Building (now the Labor Building ); the newest, the Highway Building (1950). Others date from the early 20th century, reflecting the state's growth during that era.
Anchoring the corners of the square are four churches, two of antebellum Gothic Revival style: Christ Episcopal Church (1854) and the First Baptist Church (1859). The Romanesque First Presbyterian Church dates from 1900; the Gothic-style First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street was built in 1904 by black members of the other First Baptist Church. To the west, the district also encompasses All Saints Chapel (1875) and the associated Church of the Good Shepherd (1914), plus the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (1922), with its attendant rectory (1917), convent (1927) and school (1938).
Examples of adaptive use attest to the district's on-going evolution. Among them are the 1887 Raleigh Water Tower, now serving as the chapter headquarters of the American Institute of Architects, and the 1903 Dr. A. W. Goodwin House, a classically-styled mansion that today houses the Democratic Party's state headquarters. While new parking lots and peripheral construction have had their effects, the district retains a high level of architectural integrity. Its early buildings and mature streetscape provide a visual counterpoint to the city's present burgeoning growth, recalling the tree-shaded small town that North Carolina's capital once was.
The Capitol Area Historic District surrounds the Capitol building, including Edenton, Blount, Morgan, Wilmington, Salisbury, Hillsborough, McDowell sts. and New Bern Ave. The Capital Area Visitor Services is located in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History at 5 East Edenton St. and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm; closed major holidays. Call 919-807-7950 or visit the center's website for further information.
North Carolina's State Capitol is one of the Nation's most intact examples of a Greek Revival public building. Built of local stone, the building replaced the previous stuccoed-brick State House destroyed by fire in 1831. Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis of New York served as principal architects, while the supervising architect, David Paton from Scotland, is credited with much of the interior's design. The cornerstone of the building was laid July 4, 1833. To haul locally quarried granite to the building site, an experimental wooden-track railway was developed, using mule power to pull the cars. In the spring of 1840 the building was completed. The final cost exceeded $530,000--more than six times the state's 1840 revenue.
The Capitol is roughly cruciform in plan, three stories tall crowned by a copper dome. The interior features a central rotunda open from the ground floor to the top of the dome. The two other major rooms are the house and senate chambers, each two full stories in height. The building stands in the center of Capitol Square, largest of the five public squares established in Raleigh's original 1792 plan. Large trees and public monuments surrounding the building add to its air of permanence, formality and importance. The layout of Capitol Square dates from 1928, according to a plan designed by the Olmstead Brothers.
All branches of state government were housed in the Capitol until the Supreme Court moved into its own building in 1888. The General Assembly met in the Capitol until 1963, when it moved into the Legislative Building. Offices of the Governor and Secretary of State remain in the building. While several remodelings and additions to the building have been suggested over the years, actual changes have been minimal. Recent work has restored the original senate and house chambers. The North Carolina State Capitol is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The North Carolina State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is located on Capitol Square in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The building is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm; closed Sunday and most major state holidays. Please call ahead to confirm hours of operation. Guided tours are offered Saturday at 11:00am and 2:00pm. The grounds are open at all times. Call 919-733-4994 or visit the capitol's website for further information. The North Carolina State Capitol has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
The North Carolina State Capitol is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.
Christ Church is the oldest example of the early Gothic Revival style in the South. It was a major commission for Richard Upjohn, architect of Trinity Church in New York and founder of the American Institute of Architects, who designed the building in 1848. The sanctuary was consecrated in 1854. The adjacent bell tower was completed in 1861, constructed of different colored stone and topped with an ancient symbol of the church--a gilded weathercock. It has been said that after Sherman’s troops went through Raleigh during the Civil War the tower’s rooster was the only chicken left in town.
Christ Church was organized in 1821 by Episcopal churches from the eastern section of the state as part of a concerted effort to establish churches in central North Carolina. A frame sanctuary, designed by state architect William Nichols, was completed later that decade. The first rector, John Stark Ravenscroft, became the first Bishop of North Carolina in 1823. He was buried beneath the chancel of the original church building in 1830 and was re-interred under the new chancel in 1850.
Subsequent changes to the sanctuary have been relatively minor. Beginning in the 1870s, the church’s original clear glass windows were gradually replaced by memorials of stained glass, the last installed in 1897. While modifications have also been made to the altar and lighting, the majority of the interior remains unchanged. By contrast, expansion of the adjoining church facilities has been significant. In all construction, close attention has been paid to the sanctuary’s Gothic style, and the use of stone. In 1914, Hobart Brown Upjohn, grandson of the church’s original architect, designed a parish house and chapel connected to the sanctuary by arched cloisters. The latter were incorporated into major additions to the parish house completed in 1941 and 1970.
Church expansion has twice required moving neighboring landmarks. The 1813 State Bank Building, which served as the church rectory from 1873 to 1951, was relocated in 1968 to allow enlargement of the parish house; the two-story brick building was placed on steel rails and moved 100 feet east. In 1981, expansion of church parking led to the moving of the 1906 Montgomery House a block southeast. Christ Church is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Christ Church, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 120 E. Edenton St. It is open to the public for services and sponsored events. Call 919-834-6259 or visit the church’s website for more information. Christ Church has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
The oldest surviving commercial building in Raleigh, the State Bank was constructed in 1813 to house the first state-sponsored banking institution in North Carolina. The two-story brick building has since gone through several uses--and a 100-foot move--to serve again as a banking facility. The State Bank was incorporated in 1810, with its central office in Raleigh and branches in six other communities. During the War of 1812, there was justifiable fear that the British would attack North Carolina’s coast, and all hard cash was moved inland to State Banks at Raleigh and Tarboro. The action sufficiently strengthened the main branch to spur construction of the present building. The bank’s first president made his home in the building. Jacob Johnson, father of future U. S. President Andrew Johnson, served as a porter for the bank.
Architecturally, the bank represents the transition between the Federal and Greek Revival styles of architecture. The building is constructed of handmade brick, with granite lintels and sills. The east and west facades feature matching two-story porticos, supported by columns of stuccoed brick. The building housed banking facilities until 1873, when it was acquired by neighboring Christ Church. The church used the building as a rectory and for various other functions until 1968, when the North Carolina National Bank acquired it, moved it 100 feet southeast, and renovated it as the bank’s downtown branch. The building’s former site became the location of a major addition to Christ Church’s parish house. During 1975 and 1976, the building housed the State Bicentennial Commission. Today, it again operates as a bank, under the ownership of the State Employees Credit Union. State Bank of North Carolina is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The State Bank of North Carolina is located at 123 New Bern Ave. The building is open during the regular operating hours of the State Employees Credit Union.
Haywood Hall, built in 1799, is the oldest residence within Raleigh’s original city limits still in its original location. Its builder, John Haywood (1755-1827), was prominent in the early history of the city and the state of North Carolina. Haywood descendents, many of whom also attained noteworthy status, lived in the house until 1977. John Haywood was born in Edgecombe County. He served in the militia during the War for Independence, later clerked for several North Carolina sessions of congress and in 1787 was appointed State Treasurer, a position he held for 40 years. Haywood was the first Mayor of Raleigh. He also helped found the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Raleigh Academy and Raleigh’s Christ Church and remained active in the operations of all three institutions.
In 1792, when Raleigh was created as the seat of state government, the legislature passed a law requiring state officials to reside in the city during their term of office. John Haywood subsequently purchased a square of land two blocks east of the State House. On it he built a two-story frame residence of symmetrical floor plan, featuring a central portico and extensive interior woodwork. The house displays chimneys of Flemish bond brick and modillion trim along the roof cornice in the early Federal style. During the construction of the house Haywood occupied a small two-room cottage on the lot; he later used the building as an office. After 1900, the building was moved to the rear of the main house and joined to it through a back porch. A kitchen and two other original dependencies also remain on the property.
After Haywood’s death in 1827, the house was purchased by his youngest son, Dr. Edmund Burke Haywood. A locally eminent physician, Haywood was appointed to organize the state’s military hospitals during the Civil War; in 1890 he was named Chairman of the Board of Public Charities by Gov. Daniel Fowle. Haywood’s son Ernest, a lawyer of statewide prominence, later inherited the house. In 1977, the family donated the house to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina. A Raleigh Historic Landmark, the house is now operated as a museum, outfitted with many of its original furnishings.
As a historic structure, the Raleigh Water Tower holds double significance. Its construction signaled the dawn of local municipal water service. Half a century later, its renovation became one of Raleigh’s first examples of adaptive reuse. The stone and brick structure was erected in 1887. Prior to the tower's construction, water in the city was primarily drawn from private wells and cisterns. Concern for water quality in the 1880s led to the decision to develop a municipal system. A private company was contracted to draw water from Walnut Creek immediately south of the city. There, water was conveyed from a dam by pipes to a nearby pump house. Steam pumps forced the water through sand filters, and either into a large reservoir on site or through pipes to the water tower downtown. The tower’s upland location and 85-foot height assured constant pressure for subscribers. Originally, its octagonal tower supported a 100,000 gallon water tank. An attached two-story building facing Morgan Street housed offices, while a stand-alone building to the rear contained a maintenance shop.
By the early 1900s the system was supplying the entire city. A subsequent burst of residential growth, however, stressed capacity. The city acquired the operation in 1913, and soon thereafter created a larger impoundment upstream, removing the 1887 dam. The downtown water tower was abandoned in 1924, its tank removed and a larger metal tower erected further west. The city long considered demolishing the earlier structure, but in 1938 sold the property to Raleigh architect William Henley Deitrick. Deitrick, who was garnering a regional reputation for modernist design, chose to convert the aging tower into his architectural offices. Renovations included removing the nine 12x12 inch heart pine columns which once supported the tank, and creating four interior floors. The structure was linked to the rear building with a walled garden courtyard. “The Tower” became the proving ground for a generation of local architects; it was there the plans for Dorton Arena were finalized. In 1963, Deitrick deeded the water tower to the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) with binding preservation covenants. The AIA undertook a significant renovation of the site in the 1990s and maintained the property as their headquarters until 2011. The building continues to house office space.
The Raleigh Water Tower, a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark, is located at 115 W. Morgan St. It is open during regular office hours.
The Masonic Temple Building was the first reinforced concrete skyscraper erected in the state of North Carolina. Built from 1907 to 1909, it represents Raleigh’s growth in the early years of the 20th century, as well as the rise of the Masons as an important fraternal organization. Designed by South Carolina architect Charles McMillan, the building was hailed upon completion for its innovative construction. The use of reinforced concrete was then a new concept in building materials, combining relative low cost, fireproofing abilities and malleability. Architecturally, the seven-story building is a conservative, classicized example of the tri-partite skyscraper composition developed by Louis Sullivan, which emulates the three elements of a classical column: base, shaft and capital. The building is faced in Indiana limestone up to the third floor, with light brick used for the rest of the building, and ornamented with terracotta.
Raleigh’s first Masonic lodge was organized in 1794, two years after the city’s founding. The organization’s first meeting hall was dedicated in 1813. In the 1880s, a movement was begun to raise funds for the construction of a new temple, but this effort was not realized until the early 1900s. The new building was used both by local lodges and the state Grand Lodge. Storefronts occupied the first floor, with upper-floor office space rented to insurance companies, doctors, lawyers and businessmen. Eventually, growing membership, lack of parking and the desire for greater autonomy by the local lodges led to the sale of the building and the relocation of the Raleigh Masons to the former Josephus Daniels House in 1951. The downtown building continues to provide commercial and office space. While its Romanesque storefront level was clad in steel and glass in 1948, a 1979 remodeling effort reversed most of the changes and restored the windows’ distinctive arched forms.The Masonic Temple Building is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Masonic Temple Building is located at 133-135 Fayetteville Street. Ground floor tenants and upper floor offices are open during regular working hours.
The Briggs Hardware Building is downtown Raleigh’s only 19th-century commercial building that survives essentially unchanged. Standing four stories atop a full basement, the masonry building was the city’s first “skyscraper,” and is representative of the new era of building which took place in the capital city following the Civil War. The current building is the second Briggs Hardware store at this site, the first completed in 1865. Both buildings were built by partners Thomas H. Briggs and James Dodd, who had been in millwork for about 15 years before opening their hardware store. Family tradition holds that Briggs financed his part of the building with gold and silver coins he had buried during the Civil War.
Construction on the current building began in 1872 and was completed in 1874. Accentuating the building’s red brick facade is extensive pressed metal trim, including quoins, window surrounds and a bold cornice and parapet. The upper story detailing remains unchanged since construction, with the present first floor glass storefront recently reconstructed to represent a 1915 remodeling. Shortly after the building was finished, Dodd retired and Briggs formed a partnership with his two sons, James and Thomas H., Jr. An advertisement in the 1880-1881 City Directory lists the firm as purveyors of “hardware, stoves, tinware, house furnishing goods, also sash, doors and blinds.”
While the lower floors were used for hardware sales, the building’s upper levels saw a variety of uses over the years. In the 1890s, the Oak City Guard rented space for drill practice. Later, the city’s first YMCA was housed here, as well as a Catholic church congregation, the Raleigh Little Theater and offices of a number of attorneys and insurance companies. Briggs descendents continued to operate the store until 1995. That year, the family moved the business to North Raleigh and sold the building. Shortly thereafter, it was jointly purchased by a coalition of non-profit organizations, which have thoroughly renovated the building. The building’s upper floors serve as offices, while the first floor is home to the Raleigh City Museum. Briggs Hardware Building is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Briggs Hardware Building, now the Raleigh City Museum, is located at 220 Fayetteville Street. The Raleigh City Museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Saturday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Call 919-832-3775 or visit the museum’s website for further information.
The Federal Building was the first Federal Government project in the South following the Civil War. It was designed in the then-popular Second Empire style by Alfred B. Mullett, head of the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department. Mullet was responsible for the design of many of the government buildings erected during the post-Civil War era, including the Old Executive Office Building near the White House.
The cornerstone for the Raleigh building was laid in 1874; occupancy began in 1878. The building originally housed all local offices of federal agencies, chief among them the post office, located on the first floor, and U.S. District Court, on the second. The latter’s 80-seat courtroom was considered at the time the best fitted in the state. By 1913, the city had grown, and with it the need for additional post office space. The building was doubled in size, the interior refurbished, and the main facade altered to its present form. However, the building’s original materials and most of its detailing were faithfully replicated. In 1939, a large rear addition also adhered to original design precedents.
After World War II, Federal Government agencies experienced unprecedented growth. In Raleigh, most of their offices gradually were moved out of the building to larger, rented facilities elsewhere in the city. In 1970, a new, eight-story Federal Building on the east side of downtown again consolidated agency locations, and became the new home of the court and the post office’s administrative facility. At the same time, the old building was renovated and renamed Century Station in honor of its 100 years of service. Today it continues in its original capacity, meeting the postal needs of downtown Raleigh as well as providing office space. The Federal Building is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Federal Building (Century Post Office) is located at 300 Fayetteville Street. The building is open during regular business hours.
The Moore Square Historic District mirrors much of Raleigh’s evolution as a community and a city of the South. At the heart of the area is the green space of Moore Square. One of two surviving four-acre parks from Raleigh’s original 1792 plan, the wooded square was originally surrounded by a residential neighborhood. During the early 1800s, the square itself was the site of several small churches; association with one was strong enough that for a time the tree-dotted square was simply known as Baptist Grove. Following the Civil War, occupying Federal troops billeted in the square. Damages incurred eventually led the state legislature to authorize the city to beautify the state-owned parcel. Later, the city used this power to block the state from selling the land and applying the proceeds toward constructing a new Governor’s Mansion. A subsequent bill permanently entrusted the park’s maintenance to the city.
During the latter part of the 19th century, Raleigh’s population grew rapidly. New neighborhoods and schools sprang up on the edge of town. At the same time, racial segregation passed into law. Although Hargett and Wilmington streets had long been the location of saloons and small shops, Moore Square gradually transformed into a decidedly commercial district. Larger storefronts appeared on nearby Martin and Davie streets, displaying wares of merchants, grocers and artisans. With the establishment of these types of stores, the Moore Square neighborhood was developing a new, retail-based respectability. Representative of the trend was the 1870 Carolina Boarding House at the corner of Hargett and Wilmington, which was converted into a hotel in 1880 and became a furniture store in 1899. Later serving as a grocery store, it was again repurposed as a furnitute store in 1935 and remained open until 2003. Built in the Italianate style, it now houses a restaurant on the ground floor and office space in the upper stories.
Opposite Moore Square, the Tabernacle Baptist Church was established in 1879. Yet even the church building came to mirror community growth, architecturally evolving over 30 years from a simple frame church to a towering Romanesque building. The early 20th century completed the district’s commercial conversion, as two- and three-story brick storefronts, some with elaborate brickwork, came to dominate the streetscape. Agricultural enterprises also took hold, drawn by the construction of the Mission style City Market in 1914. New bank buildings and the nearby City Auditorium further nurtured commercial activity. By the 1930s, the area was fully part of the city’s business core. Meanwhile, segregation had pushed black entrepreneurs and professionals to consolidate their business activity on Hargett Street. During the 1920s, the area emerged as Raleigh’s “Black Main Street” and a vital part of local economic life.
The fortunes of the district declined after World War II, as the automobile, suburban construction and rise of integration offered new opportunities beyond the city center. During the 1980s, however, the local government initiated a number of programs that have helped bring new life to the area. City Market has become the focal point of a festival marketplace. Art galleries, restaurants and pubs have replaced pawnshops and car parts stores. Historic designation has fostered widespread rehabilitations. At the same time, new construction (most recently the Exploris Museum complex) has reconfirmed the district’s legacy of economic adaptability and locally innovative architecture.
The Moore Square Historic District is roughly bounded by Person, Morgan, Wilmington and Davie sts. Stores and art galleries in the neighborhood are open during normal business hours.
This two-story brick residence is the last surviving building from a once-thriving neighborhood of middle and professional class African Americans, defined by the racial segregation of early 20th-century Raleigh. The builder of the house was Dr. Manassas Thomas Pope, a native North Carolinian, born in 1858 to free persons of color. He graduated from Shaw University in 1885 with a degree in medicine. After practicing for a few years in Charlotte, he co-founded the Queen City Drug Company, which in the 1890s grew to be one of that city’s most successful black businesses. An officer and surgeon during the Spanish American War, Dr. Pope moved to Raleigh in 1899. He first set up practice on Fayetteville Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, but later moved his office to 13 E. Hargett Street.
About 1900, he began work on his home. Pope’s choice of a house site was not by chance. The burgeoning white supremacist movement had by then drawn racial lines around most of Raleigh’s neighborhoods. Though no written evidence survives, it seems clear that Dr. Pope built his house in the most prominent place he could--at the edge of what became known as the “Fourth Ward.” The neighborhood included the homes of several other black doctors, dentists and lawyers, as well as churches and a small private hospital. The homes of many of these leading black citizens faced the rear yards of the white houses fronting Fayetteville Street. Despite this environment, Pope built a fine residence. Amenities included a wide side hall with a stained-glass “petal” window and elegantly crafted staircase, sliding pocket doors, milled woodwork and copper-plated hardware. The house was both wired for electricity and piped for gas. A call bell system remains in place from the years the family employed a maid. Later changes made by Dr. Pope included a sunporch over the front porch, and small examining room at the rear of the house.
In 1919, Dr. Pope capped his public career with a remarkable run for public office. Driven by rising assaults on the rights of African Americans, Pope and two others made formal bids for the City Council. Though defeated at the polls, the ticket dramatically brought out the black vote. Pope’s family was equally infused with a sense of service. In 1907, Pope married Delia H. Phillips, an educator from a locally prominent African American family. The couple raised two daughters at the Wilmington Street house, Evelyn and Ruth, both of whom went on to receive master’s degrees from Columbia University and became notable teachers. Each moved back to the house upon retirement. Evelyn died there in 1995; Ruth died in October, 2000.
Today, the house stands alone, surrounded by parking lots. Fourth Ward began to decline in the 1960s, when the end of segregation and growth of suburbia drew middle-class black families elsewhere. Gone too are the fine houses of prominent white families on Fayetteville Street, replaced by towering office buildings and civic spaces. The City of Raleigh is currently the steward of the Dr. M. T. Pope House.
The Dr. M. T. Pope House is located at 511 S. Wilmington St. It is currently not open to the public.
The Pope House is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.
Estey Hall is the first building constructed for the higher education of black women in the United States. It is also the oldest surviving building of Shaw University, the first institutionalized effort to educate former slaves after the Civil War. A Union army chaplain and Baptist missionary, Henry Martin Tupper, founded the school in 1865. Tupper’s efforts were part of a widespread, church-based movement to educate former slaves in the post-Civil War South. Originally meeting in a Raleigh hotel room, Tupper’s school was subsequently provided a building by the Freedmen’s Bureau. In 1870, with the financial assistance of Massachusetts benefactor Elijah J. Shaw, the school purchased a tract of land at the south end of Fayetteville Street, near the former Governor’s Mansion. Five years later, the school was chartered by the General Assembly as Shaw University. It subsequently trained many of the region’s most prominent black professionals and business leaders.
Shaw began to admit women soon after its founding, and in 1874, “Estey Seminary” was erected to serve them. Named for Vermont contributor Jacob Estey, the building was designed by G. S. H. Appleget, architect of the Colonel J. M. Heck house and several other large residences north of downtown. The brick building features four floors and an attic, with a cross-gable roof capped by a frame cupola. Contrasting stucco defines the window surrounds and corner quoins. A three-story south annex, added in 1882, displays similar detailing. In Estey Hall, women attended classes in home economics, music, art and religion. Records suggest they also had the opportunity, if they chose, to pursue the same courses of study offered to university men.
Estey Hall served Shaw students for nearly 100 years. However, in 1970, advancing deterioration resulted in its closing. Talk of possible demolition led to the founding of the Estey Hall Foundation, which secured the renovation of the building’s exterior and partial renovation of its interior space. Estey Hall is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Estey Hall is located in the 100 block of W. South St., on the Shaw University campus. The building is used for meetings and events. Call 919-546-8275 or visit the university’s website.
Leonard Hall, located on Shaw University campus, has a legacy as both the first four-year medical school for black students in the United States, and the first four-year medical school in North Carolina. The brick, twin-turreted building opened in 1881 as Leonard Medical School. The Leonard family, who lived in Massachusetts, had contributed money to the growing college, which was established to educate freedmen following the Civil War. Leonard Hall and two other buildings, a hospital and medical dormitory, were built to train Christian physicians to serve African Americans.
Architecturally, the building is of the Romanesque Revival style, with corner towers and segmental and round arch windows that display decorative brick casing. An addition was later constructed at the rear of the original building, with a matching corbelled cornice. The front section’s cornice has since been rebuilt with terracotta tile flashing. It is possible that the architect was African American--Gaston A. Edward, who designed Leonard Hospital, constructed in 1910. Edward also served on the Shaw faculty. Classes were held in the building for more than 100 years. In 1986, however, Leonard Hall closed following a severe fire, which cost the building its distinctive roof. The roof was restored in November 2000 as part of a $3.6 million renovation with grant money from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fund, administered by the National Park Service. The building now houses classes and administrative offices.
The former home of Raleigh Mayor William H. Dodd is representative of the many grand residences that once lined downtown Hillsborough Street. Built in 1879, the building features a tall Second Empire tower with bracketed eaves, narrow arched windows and porches festooned with carved millwork. The juxtaposition of red brick walls with painted wood trim produces a striking architectural effect. In 1890, financial reverses forced Dodd to sell the house. The buyer was lawyer John W. Hinsdale, a New York native who fought for the Confederacy and later became the attorney for the Seaboard Airline Railroad. He is said to have maintained the home in grand style.
The house remained in the Hinsdale family until 1971. By that time, most of Hillsborough Street’s other stately homes had been demolished and replaced by office and commercial development. In the late 1960s, a towering hotel was built just two lots down. For nearly a quarter century, the fate of the house hung in the balance, as the building went through a succession of short-term uses. Maintenance faltered and after a late-1980s attempt at renovation failed, the building was left partially gutted and vacant. In 1997, however, a private consortium purchased and successfully adapted the residence for use as a restaurant. In recognition of the building’s distinctive architecture, the new establishment is titled the “Second Empire.” The Dodd-Hinsdale House has also been designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Dodd-Hinsdale House is located at 330 Hillsborough St. The property is open to the public during the restaurant’s regular operating hours. Visit the restaurant’s website at www.second-empire.com or call 919-829-3663 for further information.
This brick Gothic Revival style church was built by the first independent congregation of African Americans in Raleigh. The building’s story, which begins a generation before actual construction, is a telling reflection of the aspiration and tenacity of freedmen. The congregation that formed St. Paul consisted of the slave membership of Edenton Street Methodist Church, which met in a frame building. In 1853, Edenton Street’s black membership moved this building to the corner of Edenton and Harrington streets, after the white congregants bought and relocated to old Christ Church. In 1865, the black congregation severed its ties with the Edenton Street church and affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Ministers of St. Paul took leading roles in black political activity during the Reconstruction Era. Freedmen in North Carolina held their first lawful assembly at St. Paul in 1865. In the years afterward, the church furnished some of North Carolina’s foremost black spokesmen, among them State Senator Rev. Henry Eppes, Legislator Stewart Ellison and the Rev. R. W. H. Leak, a leader in late 19th-century Republican-Populist fusionist movement.
It was during Leak’s tenure that the congregation began construction of a new church, to be made of brick, comparable to the city’s best. In 1884 the cornerstone was laid; construction, however, was to take 25 years. Money for materials trickled in slowly, as washerwomen, maids, nurses and cooks contributed all they could despite prevailing low wages. Periodically, meetings were held at which members pledged to live on bread and molasses in order to set aside needed funds. Finally, in May of 1901, the congregation marked the sanctuary’s completion with a two-week rally. Governor Charles B. Aycock delivered a speech honoring the occasion; the Raleigh News & Observer termed the Gothic-style building “one of the handsomest colored churches in the South.” The planned spire, however, had yet to be built. Eight more years passed before preparations were complete. Then, as building materials lay ready, a Fourth of July balloon strayed onto the wood-shingled roof, starting a fire that consumed all of the building but the brick walls. An outpouring of donations from both the white and black community allowed the rebuilding of the church to the original specifications. Work was completed in June, 1910.
The church continues to hold a central place in community life. During the Civil Rights era, St. Paul frequently served as a meeting place. The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered his “rainbow coalition” speech there during his run for the presidency. In 1998, the church completed work on an attached education building, which draws its architectural cues from the century-old sanctuary.
St. Paul AME Church, a Raleigh Historic Landmark, is located at 402 Edenton St. It is open for worship services and other congregational events; call 832-2709 for further information.
Designed and constructed in 1925, the Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) Company Car Barn and Automobile Garage was built to house and maintain the company’s service vehicles. The sleek Art Deco styling of the building reflects the forward-thinking corporate image the rapidly expanding power company wished to project in the 1920s. The brick building features a corrugated metal roof, terra cotta coping, large multi-light metal windows and protruding brick piers, the tops of which are ornamented by terra cotta inlay and molded capstones.
The Automobile Garage was part of a multi-block complex of CP&L (now Progress Energy) buildings dedicated to supplying local electric power and transportation. The complex included a two-story Power House and its associated buildings, shops, storage sheds, the Automobile Garage and a larger sister building, which serviced the company’s electric streetcars and buses. The ground floor of the garage, accessed from West Street, originally housed a maintenance area, offices and linemen’s quarters. The main floor above, entered from Harrington Street, provided vehicle storage space as well as an indoor car washing area. In 1998, federal and state preservation tax credits were employed in adapting the building for new use. The ground floor now houses an Irish pub, and the main floor serves as the offices of an architectural firm. Carolina Power and Light Company Car Barn and Automobile Garage is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Carolina Power & Light Company Car Barn and Automobile Garage is located at 116 N. West Street. The building is open during the regular operating hours of its commercial tenants.
Constructed c. 1910, the former Raleigh Electric Company Power House is a rare surviving example of an early 20th-century Raleigh industrial facility. The history of the plant very nearly parallels the rise of the electric power industry in Raleigh, beginning with electric-powered streetcars placed in service in 1891. In 1908, the Raleigh Electric Company merged with two other regional suppliers to form Carolina Power & Light Company (CP& L). The Power House, with coal-fired steam-driven turbines, was constructed about 1910 to power Raleigh’s electric streetcar system, as well as to augment power supplies during periods of low flow from hydroelectric operations at CP& L’s Buckhorn Falls plant.
The Power House’s days as a steam plant ended in 1930 when the west third of the building, which housed the plant’s boilers, was demolished and replaced with a one-story file storage building. Soon thereafter, the city’s electric trolley cars were replaced by gasoline-powered buses. Eventually, the building was converted to use as storage and office space for CP& L (now Progress Energy) personnel. In 1998, the building was adaptively renovated for use as a microbrewery and restaurant. The electrical substation on adjacent land, however, offers a reminder of the site’s continuing importance to local electrical service.
The Raleigh Electric Company Power House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark
The Raleigh Electric Company Power House is located at 512-515 W. Jones St. It is open during the regular operating hours of the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse; call the establishment directly at 919-832-4604 for further information.
This large and well-appointed outbuilding is the sole surviving building associated with the estate of Rufus Sylvester Tucker (1829-1894), a wealthy Raleigh merchant. Tucker was one of the most influential men in 19th-century Raleigh. A former Confederate army officer, he became a director of two regional railroads and was director of banks in Raleigh and New Bern. In addition to a large dry goods business, he also managed extensive real estate holdings in Raleigh, and owned major farming and cattle operations in Wake County. Among his properties was a two-acre tract on the western edge of the community, opposite St. Mary’s School. In 1858, Tucker commissioned William Percival, architect of nearby Montfort Hall and several other notable Raleigh buildings, to design a sprawling Italianate mansion as the centerpiece of his estate.
The carriage house was built some time after the construction of the mansion. The exact date of construction is not known, and while it does not appear on local maps until 1909, evidence suggests a considerably earlier construction date. The account books of Thomas Briggs, contractor for the building, record Tucker buying materials for a “wagon shed” as early as 1883. Architecturally, the building’s shingled second story, patterned slate roof and related detailing relate it to late 19th-century Shingle Style construction. The first floor of the building originally contained stables for horses and mules, sheltered wagons and, later, automobiles. The large second and third floors imply use as additional storage for goods associated with Tucker’s retail business.
The estate remained in the Tucker family into the early 20th century, when it was purchased by Dr. James M. Rogers, a prominent Raleigh physician and real estate owner. About 1940, several parts of the horse stalls were removed by Dr. Rogers’s daughter, Mrs. Norman E. Edgerton, and installed at stables at her own estate, Tatton Hall, on Oberlin Road. The Tucker mansion was later converted into six apartments, but suffered sufficient neglect that the building was abandoned by the mid-1960s. It was razed in 1967, and its site eventually used to construct high-rise housing for the elderly. By the early 1980s, the deteriorating carriage house was also threatened with demolition. However, through the efforts of a coalition of public and private agencies, a plan for its preservation was developed. Today the building has been fully renovated as studio and classroom space for a local arts organization and is a testimony to successful adaptive reuse.
The Tucker Carriage House, a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark, is located at 114 St. Mary’s St. It is open for the classes and other activities of Arts Together. For further information call 919-828-1713 or visit the Arts Together website.
St. Mary’s College, now Saint Mary's School, is the oldest continuously operating school in Raleigh and the third oldest school for girls in North Carolina. Founded in 1842 under the auspices of the Episcopal Church, the school was the successor to the short-lived Episcopal School of North Carolina, established for boys in 1833. In its early years, St. Mary’s served as an important cultural center for Raleigh. During the Civil War, the school was a haven for students from occupied areas of the South, among them Mildred Lee, youngest daughter of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Mrs. Jefferson Davis and her children resided on campus during the summer of 1862.
The largely wooded campus covers approximately 23 acres and encompasses an eclectic group of buildings. East Rock (c. 1833) and West Rock (c. 1834) were crafted of remnant stone discarded during the construction of the State Capitol. Between them stands Smedes Hall (1835-1839), a three-and-half-story, Greek Revival style building, named in honor of Rev. Aldert Smedes, first rector and president of the school. St. Mary’s Chapel (1855), a Gothic style wood church, was likely copied from a patternbook of Richard Upjohn, architect of Raleigh’s Christ Episcopal Church. Later historic buildings include the Gothic Revival Language Arts Building (1887), and Neo-Classical Bishop’s House (1904) and Pittman Auditorium (1906-1907).
The school has long enjoyed a high academic reputation. In the late 1800s, Vassar College admitted St. Mary’s graduates without examination. For most of the 20th century, the school’s college preparatory curriculum was complemented by junior college courses. Recently, the school returned to a curriculum solely of high school-level preparatory courses.
Although St. Mary’s is located only a few blocks west of the State Capitol , until the 1880s the area around it was sparsely populated. Large suburban estates such as the Boylan, Tucker and Cameron plantations bordered the school. After the streetcar line was extended down Hillsborough Street in the early 20th century, the school’s environs were subdivided into neighborhoods. Subsequent redevelopment has resulted in the demolition of nearly all of Hillsborough Street’s 19th-century residences. Today the St. Mary’s campus represents one of the few reminders of Hillsborough Street’s earliest years. Its grounds also stand as a remarkably intact green space near the heart of downtown.
St. Mary’s College changed its name to Saint Mary's School in 1998 when it closed its college program. The school is located at 900 Hillsborough St. Most of the buildings noted above have been individually designated as Raleigh Historic Landmarks. The campus is open to the public for special events and by appointment. For further information visit the school’s website.
Grosvenor Gardens Apartments is perhaps the best articulated example of a garden apartment complex in Raleigh. The U-shaped building is one of four apartment facilities erected in the city between 1934 and 1939, and one of three built between the 800 and 1100 blocks of Hillsborough Street, a main thoroughfare leading to the State Capitol. The builder of the complex, New Jersey developer Sidney J. Wollman, first visited Raleigh in 1937. He found the city in the midst of a construction boom, but facing an acute housing shortage. Coincidentally, owners of the old Boylan and Cameron estates just west of downtown were selling off undeveloped parcels. Wollman acquired a 1.73 acre tract and hired local architect James Edwards, Jr., to design a brick Georgian Revival style building. The complex of 58 studio units was painted white and named for the Grosvenor Hotel in London, which Wollman had visited in the 1920s.
Like the other apartment complexes nearby, Grosvenor Gardens displays the innovative features pioneered by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s celebrated Radburn, New Jersey, community of 1928-1929. Its features include buildings arranged to maximize natural lighting, outdoor play areas for children and an absence of through streets. What set Grosvenor Gardens apart, however, was the careful attention paid to landscaping. Developer Wollman hired a landscape architect to design a year-round garden and invested $10,000 on the selection and siting of plants. Today, the carefully maintained mature landscaping enhances this historic garden apartment complex.
The Grosvenor Gardens Apartments are a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Grosvenor Gardens Apartments are located at 1101 Hillsborough St. The property continues to operate as private apartments, and is not open to the public.
In the late 1760s, planter Joel Lane (c. 1740-1795) built a story-and-a-half house at Bloomsbury, a crossroads hamlet of colonial Johnston County, later renamed Wake Court House. Lane and his house subsequently played a central role in North Carolina’s transition from colony to state and in the establishment of Raleigh as the state capital. His house stood on a small hill, near the main trail through the area. Lane’s surrounding land holdings numbered in the thousands of acres, a status that naturally drew him into politics.
In 1770, as a member of the colonial General Assembly, Lane successfully lobbied to create Wake County, then a sparsely settled wilderness. He named the county Wake in honor of Margaret Wake, wife of colonial Governor William Tryon. The following year, Wake’s first county court is believed to have convened at his house. Lane was appointed a member of the court, a position he held until his death. During the Revolutionary War, Lane's manor plantation was the site of important government meetings, both formal and informal. In 1776, Lane hosted the colony Council of Safety; the following year, he obtained a license for a small ordinary, or inn. From May to June 1781, Lane’s property was the setting for a session of the state General Assembly. Lane served in the state Senate in 11 of the 14 sessions from 1782 to 1794; he was also a delegate to the 1789 convention in Halifax that ratified the U.S. Constitution.
Lane was directly involved in the decision to locate the permanent capital of the state in Wake County. In 1792, the legislature authorized the purchase of a thousand acres of his land upon which to establish the city of “Raleigh” as the new center of state government. The community’s western boundary was drawn just east of Lane’s house, and a street of the city was named in his honor. After Lane’s death in 1795, Wakefield served several owners before being purchased by planter William Boylan in 1818. The house remained in the Boylan family until 1909; during which time the city of Raleigh absorbed the house into its expanding boundaries. Lane’s former plantation lands became the site of new streets, homes and businesses. In 1912, the house was moved a short distance. In 1927, it was purchased by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. The organization continues to operate this Raleigh Historic Landmark and National Register-listed property as a house museum.
The Joel Lane House, now called the Joel Lane Museum House, is located at 728 W. Hargett St. Raleigh NC. It is open March-mid-December, Wednesday-Friday from 10:00am to 2:00pm, and Saturdays from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Additional holiday tours are also offered. For further information call 919-833-3431, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the house’s website. The Joel Lane House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
In 1887, Raleigh philanthropist Richard Stanhope Pullen donated 80 acres of land to the city for use as a public park. Pullen Park has since become an important component of Raleigh civic life, providing citizens with a variety of recreational opportunities. Its star attraction, however, is its carousel. Tradition maintains the carousel made its Raleigh debut at Bloomsbury Park, an amusement park developed in 1912 by the Carolina Power and Light Company (CP&L). The park was situated in a wooded glen at the end of CP&L’s streetcar line, just beyond then-new suburban neighborhoods. In answer to Bloomsbury’s success, the city improved Pullen Park, and, about 1915, purchased the Bloomsbury carousel. Bloomsbury Park closed after World War I, and in the mid-20th century its wooded grounds were subdivided into residential lots.
The carousel quickly became a Pullen Park focal point. Today, it is recognized as one of the foremost surviving works of the Pennsylvania Carousel Company, founded by Gustav A. Dentzel. Dentzel emigrated from Germany in 1860 and set up a cabinet making shop in Philadelphia. Public enthusiasm for a small merry-go-round led him to full-time carousel construction in 1876. From then until the closing of the factory in 1928, Dentzel’s firm was the premier maker of carousels in the United States. The Pullen Park carousel dates from about 1900, making it one the earliest Dentzels still in operation. Its paramount feature is a menagerie of 52 hand-carved wooden animals, the work of chief carver Salvatore Cernigliaro. Cernigliaro was known for elaborately executed and imaginative designs; in addition to 30 horses, the Pullen Park carousel includes ostriches, cats, rabbits, pigs, a lion, a tiger and a goat. The 24-foot diameter carousel is housed in a permanent wooden-beamed shelter of tent-like design. Music originally was produced by a Wurlitzer band organ.
The carousel has been in use almost continuously since coming to Raleigh. Although wear has forced the replacement of several mechanical components, the ride remains largely intact. In the late 1970s, the city undertook a major renovation of the carousel animals, replacing broken parts and returning the creatures to brilliant coloration. Park visitors today can enjoy much the same ride their great-grandparents did. The Pullen Park Carousel is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Pullen Park Carousel, located near the Ashe Ave. entrance to Pullen Park, is operated during warmer months. There is a small fee to ride the carousel. Call 919-831-6468 or visit the park’s website for further information.
The Boylan Heights neighborhood is one of Raleigh’s first planned suburbs. In design and architecture, it exemplifies middle class ideals of the early 1900s. Economic expansion in early 20th-century Raleigh resulted in an acute housing shortage. In response, real estate developers began purchasing portions of the old plantation lands ringing the city, where wooded lots, attractive architecture and restrictive covenants might attract would-be homeowners.
One such tract was the Boylan estate, located immediately west of the city. The property, neatly bordered by the North Carolina Railroad to the north, state prison lands to the west and the state asylum to the south, had been owned by planter and entrepreneur William Montfort Boylan. In 1907, Boylan’s heirs sold the largely wooded, 100-acre tract to a local land syndicate. The subdivision was so successful that by 1915, all lots were sold, and the syndicate dissolved.
The spatial and social composition of Boylan Heights was carefully planned. Streets extended those of the existing downtown grid, but curved aesthetically to match the contours of the hilltop site. Backyard alleys served nearly all lots. Neighborhood building zones specified minimum construction costs. The most expensive houses, in Queen Anne or Colonial Revival styles, were built near Montfort Hall, the antebellum Boylan mansion at the top of the hill. More modest homes, chiefly in the bungalow style, were constructed further below. A large parcel was set aside for a community park; in 1926, it became the site of a neighborhood elementary school. Reflecting the social conditions of the times, African Americans were restricted from living in the neighborhood except as domestic help.
Such patterns continued until the Great Depression, when many aspiring blue collar families lost their homes and white collar families relocated to more fashionable neighborhoods. Absentee landlords became prevalent during the 1940s, and the community became working class, with larger homes carved into apartments. Recent renewed interest in downtown housing, however, has begun to reverse the trend. Historic district status, established locally in 1984, further spurred reinvestment and conversion of houses back to single family use.
Boylan Heights is located on the southwest edge of downtown Raleigh, just north of Western Blvd. and east of Central Prison and is roughly bounded by the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks, Mountford, Martin and Florence sts. and Dorothea Dr. These are private residences generally not open to the public. Visit the neighborhood association’s website for further information.
Montfort Hall is one of the few grand mansions surviving from Raleigh’s pre-Civil War era. Built in 1858 for William Montfort Boylan (1822-1899), the house was designed in the Italianate style, with classical influences displayed in its detailing, symmetry of exterior composition and interior center hall plan. The centerpiece of the house’s interior is its magnificent rotunda supported by four Corinthian columns, lit from above by a stained glass window mounted in the polygonal cupola on the roof.
William Montfort Boylan was the youngest son of William Boylan (1777-1861), one of Raleigh’s leading editors, landowners and businessmen. In 1818, the elder Boylan purchased Wakefield plantation, former home of Joel Lane, where Boylan’s son William was born. The senior Boylan also owned plantations in neighboring Johnston and Chatham counties and in Mississippi. These, along with his lucrative businesses, made him one of the wealthiest men in North Carolina. In 1855, Boylan deeded his son William 100 acres on the west side of Raleigh.
Three years later, William Montfort Boylan engaged William Percival to design his residence. Reportedly a retired British army officer, Percival resided in Raleigh for two years, during that short time receiving commissions for renovations to the Capitol, the First Baptist Church and two other Italianate brick mansions (neither survives). Percival’s other notable North Carolina commissions include New East and New West dormitories at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Calvary Episcopal Church and the Barracks, a private residence, located in Tarboro. William Montfort Boylan died in 1899. In 1907, the land around Montfort Hall was sold and subdivided as Boylan Heights, one of the city’s first planned suburban neighborhoods. Montfort Hall subsequently passed through a succession of owners. Despite the addition of a wrap-around porch and frame additions early in the 20th century, the building retained much of its original character. New owners in the 1980s returned the exterior of the building to its original appearance.
Montfort Hall, a Raleigh Historic Landmark, is located at 308 South Boylan Ave. in the Boylan Heights Historic District (it is also listed individually in the National Register as Montford (sic.) Hall). It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
The Raleigh Water Works and E. B. Bain Water Treatment Plant complex was built for a single, basic task--to supply Raleigh's water needs. Yet the complex also provides a ready gauge of the city's historical growth and community pride. In 1938, Raleigh was faced with a choice. It could reduce growing demand for city water by limiting access from unincorporated areas, or it could build a new plant. City leaders looked into the future and decided to build. The city obtained federal public works funding and floated a bond issue to get the $700,000 needed to build a new plant, and work started in mid-1939. Dedicated in mid-1940, the plant was named after longtime city water superintendent Ernest Battle Bain.
While strictly utilitarian in concept, the Bain plant, as built, is perhaps the foremost Art Deco style building in Raleigh, displaying a surprising level of architectural detail. The brick building includes a full basement, and parts are four stories high. The two-story entrance lobby features a mezzanine circling the upper level and soaring stairways rising up both sides. The stairs have ornamental wrought and cast-iron railings and oak handrails, and the lobby ceiling is adorned with ornamented plaster beams. The original light fixtures remain, as does the original red quarry floor tile. The operations floors, located in a 13-bay, two-and-a-half story wing, flank an extended arcade of molded plaster arches, with pilasters marking the bays. Above both sides of the arcade are square clerestory windows.
At construction, the facility was considered a major engineering feat, since it was built on the same site as the city’s existing water plant. The earlier plant dated from 1887, pumping water from adjacent Walnut Creek to a stone-based water tower near the center of town. The new plant was built while the old one continued to operate--so the water supply remained uninterrupted. With four electric pumps and a gas-powered one in reserve, the new facility could put out up to 10 million gallons of treated water a day, and was built to allow expansion to double that amount. Raleigh’s rapid postwar growth, however, eventually pushed local needs beyond the plant’s capacity. In the 1960s, the city built a new treatment plant miles away on the Neuse River. The old Bain plant remained in use until 1987, working in tandem with the newer plant. After the plant was closed, the city continued to use the storage tanks for backup storage of treated water.
By the 1990s, however, the building was reduced to being a storage facility. A new era began in 1999, when the Raleigh City Council accepted an offer from Capital Area Preservation, Inc. and Historic Preservation Advisors, LLC to rehabilitate and manage the property. Sold to empire properties in 2006, the site remains in pre-development. The E. B. Bain Water Treatment Plant is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Raleigh Water Works and E. B. Bain Water Treatment Plant complex is located at 1810 Fayetteville Rd. The facility is closed pending rehabilitation work.
Oak View, located four miles east of downtown Raleigh, is a former farmstead representative of the agricultural economy that once sustained most of piedmont North Carolina. In 1853, Benton S. D. Williams purchased 930 acres extending along the south bank of Crabtree Creek. On a small ridge, he built a simple Greek Revival style dwelling, with a fashionable two-tiered portico framing the front entrance. Williams named the property Oak View after the four large oaks that marked the boundaries of the yard. Williams became a prosperous producer of cotton. In 1868, he was named one of four Wake County delegates to North Carolina’s Constitutional Convention, which crafted the document that still guides the state.
Williams died in 1870. His widow, with the help of other family members, wage laborers and possibly sharecroppers, continued the farm’s 10-bale cotton operation until Mrs. Williams' death in 1886. At that time, Job P. Wyatt acquired the house and immediately surrounding acreage. Wyatt was the founder of Job P. Wyatt and Sons, a local farm supply business, and of the Wyatt-Quarles Seed Company, firms both still in business in the Raleigh area. Wyatt’s ownership coincided with the dawn of a new era in local agriculture--rather than live on the property, Wyatt hired resident managers to oversee farm operations. Tenant workers performed most farm labor. Cotton was the farm’s primary product until the 1920s. Numerous outbuildings came to dot the landscape, including a large horse barn and a two-story cotton ginhouse, both of which survive. Additionally, during the late 1910s through the 1920s, the farm manager planted the large grove of pecan trees that became one of the farm’s most prominent features.
By 1929, boll weevil infestation forced Wyatt to diversify farming operations. Cotton production was largely replaced by vegetable growing. A herd of cattle produced milk and butter for local markets. In 1940, Wyatt sold the property to Julian M. Gregory, a local general contractor, who in turn sold it to his business partner, James G. Poole. Poole had the house remodeled in the Colonial Revival style, adding an asymmetrical one-story wing. A succession of owners followed. At the same time, local farm employment dramatically declined due to industrialization and urban growth. In the 1970s, a substantial portion of the property was carved off for the construction of the Raleigh Beltline (I-440), forever eliminating most of Oak View’s remaining cotton fields.
In 1984, Wake County acquired the house and 72 acres, and began construction of an office park on a large neighboring tract. Rather than raze the house and remaining outbuildings, however, the county restored them as a farming interpretive center. Despite significant damage to the pecan grove inflicted by Hurricane Fran (1996), today the farm complex offers hands-on contact with a way of life fast fading before present-day urbanization. Oak View is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Oak View, now a county park, is located at 4028 Carya Dr., immediately east of the Poole Rd. exit of I-440. The facility is open Monday-Saturday, 8:30am to 5:00pm, and Sunday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. For further information call 919-250-1013 or visit the park’s website.
Yates Mill, one of the oldest buildings in Wake County, is the region’s only surviving operable gristmill. For nearly 200 years the water-powered mill produced lumber, milled corn and wheat, and carded wool. The land on which the mill is situated was surveyed for Samuel Pearson in October 1756, and granted to him by the Earl of Granville, one of the North Carolina colony’s Lord Proprietors. The original mill was probably built around that time. Pearson steadily increased his land holdings, and owned more than 600 acres at the time of his death in 1802. In 1819, accumulated debts forced Pearson’s son, Simon, to sell the mill and its surrounding acreage at a sheriff’s auction. William Boylan, a prominent Raleigh businessman and director of the State Bank, bought the property, and over the next 30 years modernized the mill several times, adding a sawmill in the 1840s.
In 1853 Thomas Briggs, John Primrose and James Penny acquired the mill. A decade later, in the midst of the Civil War, the partners sold the mill and surrounding 94 acres to Phares and Roxanna Yates, James Penny’s son-in-law and daughter. Penny’s involvement in the murder of a Mr. Franklin may have brought on the sale. According to legend, Franklin was a Northern sympathizer who Penny killed for not paying a $700 mill debt. In 1865, Franklin’s widow supposedly told Federal troops occupying Raleigh that her husband’s death was due to his support for the Union. The soldiers tried to burn the mill by setting fire to the entrance. Charred wooden beams today attest to the unsuccessful attempt. In 1866, Penny was acquitted of Franklin’s death.
Yates and his descendents operated the mill until 1948, when businessman A. E. Finley acquired the property. Finley constructed a retreat lodge by the millpond for the use of his family and employees. Due to lack of demand, however, the old mill was closed in 1953. Ten years later, North Carolina State University acquired the property, consolidating it into a larger tract to be used as an experimental farm. The mill was mainly used for storage until 1989, when Yates Mill Associates was formed to marshal its restoration. The mill narrowly escaped destruction in 1996, when rains unleashed by Hurricane Fran burst its 250-year-old stone dam. In 1996, Yates Mill Associates and Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space unveiled a public-private partnership to rehabilitate the dam and mill as part of a 574-acre historic and environmental park.
Yates Mill is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Yates Mill is located at the intersection of Lake Wheeler and Penny rds., south of the City of Raleigh. It is open seven days a week from 8:00am to sunset. Park office hours are 8:30am to 5:00pm. For further information call 919-856-6675 or visit the park’s website.
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Harris, Linda and Mary Ann Lee. An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh, North Carolina: Raleigh City Planning Department, 1978.
Jackson, Kenneth. The Crabgrass Frontier. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
Lefler, Hugh T. The History of a Southern State, North Carolina. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1954.
Metz Beal, Candy Lee. Raleigh, the first 200 years: A brief look at the people, places, & events in the history of Raleigh. Raleigh, North Carolina: Bicentennial Task Force, 1991.
Perkins, David. Raleigh: A Living History of North Carolina's Capital. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: John F. Blair Publisher, 1994.
Riley, Jack. Carolina Power and Light Company: A Corporate Biography, 1908-1958. Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards and Broughton Company, 1958.
Simmons-Henry, Linda, and Linda Harris Edmisten. Culture Town: Life in Raleigh's African American Communities. Raleigh, North Carolina: Raleigh Historic Development Commission, 1993.
Solpen, Steven. Raleigh, A Pictorial History. Norfolk, Virginia: Donning Company, 1977.
Vickers, James and Jan-Michael Poff. Raleigh, City of Oaks: An Illustrated History. Sun Valley, California: American Historical Press, 1997.
Waugh, Elizabeth C. North Carolina's Capital, Raleigh. Raleigh, North Carolina: Junior League of Raleigh, 1967.
Raleigh: A Capital City was produced by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick W. Andrus, Heritage Tourism Program Manager, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Managing Editor. Raleigh: A Capital City is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These materials are kept at 1201 Eye St., NW, Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 9:00am to 12:00pm, Monday through Thursday.
The Raleigh Historic Development Commission conceptualized and compiled materials for the itinerary, guided by Dan Becker and Elizabeth Alley. National Register web production team members included Jeff Joeckel, who designed the itinerary, Rustin Quaide, and Shannon Bell (all of NCSHPO). Maps were designed by Rustin Quaide. Property descriptions were written by members and staff of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and edited by Shannon Bell. Contextual essays were edited/written by Shannon Bell (Early History), Elizabeth Alley (Suburbanization, African Americans, Modernism) and Dan Becker (Preservation). Photographic assistance was provided by Elizabeth Alley, Jerry Blow, Charles Hall, Glenwood Morris, Michael Zirkle Photography, Dr. Leon Jordan and the North Carolina Division of Archives and History.
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