Monday, March 24, 2014

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina - Part II

Thank you so much for the great comments left on Part I of my recent weekend walkabout in downtown Raleigh. 
Here, I'm sharing a few of the more historical buildings along the main thoroughfare, Fayetteville Street, 
and around town. 

I love this part of the main street. 
For many years it was a pedestrian only area but since changing back to a through street, the downtown has become much more vibrant and safer, especially after dark.
Colorful storefronts and restaurants with mostly apartments above. The tall tan colored 1874 brick building was Briggs Hardware, owned by the Briggs family descendants until 1995, then sold and turned into the Raleigh City Museum. When we first moved to Raleigh from Massachusetts in 1977, I loved walking on the squeaky wood plank floors, searching through the shelves and bins containing items only hardware business with so many years under its (tool) belt could still have!

Heading south past old and new architecture…………

………………the large building on the right above is Raleigh's
 oldest surviving hotel building constructed in 1923-24 - 
The Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel. In the late 1970's it was 
converted into apartments for the elderly.
Other hotels have been built around it, the one on the far 
left is the Marriott where we spent last New Year's Eve.

Modern office buildings are prevalent in downtown - this one is interesting with condominiums on the higher floors  

Going toward the Victorian area named Oakwood, full of beautifully preserved and restored homes (I'll show you those when I have time to take another walk downtown), there are many historic homes purchased by the state government to use as offices.  As much as it seems a shame to use them this way, it did mean they were not bulldozed when people could no longer afford to care for and repair many of the huge houses. 

This is the flamboyant Heck-Andrews House, a local favorite!  The history of this house is somewhat mysterious, especially revolving around the last tenant, a sad old lady known as 'the ghost of Blount Street' who lived there until having to be removed due to health issues………and her hobby of serious hoarding which made the property a fire hazard.

This link will take you to a wonderful story of the house/family history, also some great b/w interior photos showing how beautiful the property is inside - but of course requires a lot of restoration work.

I think you will agree that Raleigh has an interesting downtown. Despite being the main home of the state of North Carolina government office complex, it has also retained a lot of historic properties, private investors have rehabbed many of the Victorian era homes, and those repurposed for office use are still attractive keeping the sense of a small southern town rather than a large modern city.
Hope you can visit some day and enjoy some true southern hospitality.


  1. Love the pictures of dow ntown, my friend Ana lived there when I first knew her, She and her husband moved back yo Indy some years ago.

  2. It is a lovely downtown Mary. I am off to view the link to the ghost house!

  3. I love that they are preserving the past. I much prefer older buildings to the huge highrises of most cities. I would definitely rather see offices in an old home than have them bulldozed to build something sleek and modern. Have a great week. Tammy

  4. The Heck-Andrews House is my absolute favorite! I did some sketches a few years ago of a handful of the historic houses in downtown Raleigh. A few that I sketched are no longer around (in fact, likely were torn down long before I was born), because I fell in love with their stories on -- LOVE that blog!

    Our city truly has some amazing stories to tell, if you're curious enough to learn about it. I will have to do a post soon, where I can share my sketches. It would surely get me excited to get back out there and photograph some of these historical treasures.

    Your photos are gorgeous. I love the first one, showing the storefronts. Reminds me of many of the old postcards that GoodnightRaleigh has dug up over the years, thanks to many of the loyal (and older) readers who are constantly providing new insight into the past!

    Great post! xo

  5. The Heck-Andrews house is stunning; I'm so glad it was not bulldozed. I went to the link you shared - what a story! I was fascinated by the entire thing. But what a sad end for that young lady, Gladys Perry . . .

  6. Not sure if my comment went through, here it is again: The Heck-Andrews house is stunning; I'm so glad it was not bulldozed. I went to the link you shared - what a story! I was fascinated by the entire thing. But what a sad end for that young lady, Gladys Perry . . .

  7. It is a charming the architecture and the history. I would have loved shopping in a hardware store like that one!

  8. Loved reading about Miss Gladys Perry via the link you posted! So interesting!
    Suzanne xo

  9. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    So many lovely buildings with so much character.
    My husband and I have talked about visiting North Carolina one day. After seeing your photos it makes me that much more excited.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us!
    Have a beautiful day,

  10. I just read that whole article on Gladys Perry and the beautiful home she lived in. It was so fascinating and so sad too. Thank you for sharing more photos of beautiful downtown Raleigh, Mary. I do love those old homes and building. Have a wonderful week!

  11. Wonderful tour - and I adored the story about Gladys. It must have been amazing to have to clean out her house - and how fortunate that the box was found with all her history inside. I love stories like this.

  12. Wonderful examples of classic architecture here, Mary. Great captures. The mansard roof on the Hecks-Andrews house is spectacular. What fun to explore this preserved area! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Beautiful Victorians, oh yes they are! Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Love old hardware stores and this one sounds like it would have been a
    real delight to walk through. Thanks for sharing your downtown.


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