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Hawkins-Hartness House
Photo by Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy of Raleigh Historic Development Commission
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.

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