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 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.
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Essays: Early History | African American History| Suburbanization| Modernism | Preservation
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