~ I live on a farm. . . . . . .
. . . . . . .well it was a farm once upon a time ~
We dug up a rusty tractor seat in the back garden years back, and of course you know how huge our aging oak trees are, towering 80 feet into the Carolina Blue sky. Old farmland, probably very green and beautiful, perched on the gently sloping hills beyond downtown.
Now it's a suburban neighborhood. It changed back in the mid-1960's thanks to - or perhaps no thanks because who likes to see farmland disappear - one of the world's largest and most well-known companies, IBM.
IBM - International Business Machines - "I've Been Moved" - call it what you will - moved a large section of its work force from New York State here to North Carolina and located them in the spiffy new Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is now one of the largest research parks in the world. Named for the three hub cities making up the triangle, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, or more correctly for the three major research universities in these three cities (NC State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), it has continued to expand beyond all imagination with many international companies' research and development facilities located here, but thankfully no heavy, air polluting manufacturing.
Those several thousand original IBM employees and their families needed houses. This former farm became prime land for several subdivisions planned to the north of the city of Raleigh. With close proximity to a high speed beltline which could get Raleigh residents to work in the RTP quickly, and a strip retail center along the major roadway providing suburban shopping, the newly named North Hills was ripe to grow. Home building began and has never ceased. The shopping center was converted to an enclosed mall in 1967, becoming the first two-story, air-conditioned, indoor mall between Washington D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. It survived until the late 90's, then fell into disrepair and was sold in 2001, lock, stock and barrel, to a visionary developer who has turned this area into Raleigh's new 'Midtown' - nothing short of a first class destination.
At first we were upset, worried, concerned, thinking our little suburban enclave would crumble and fall. . . . . . . instead we now sit on a kind of 'promised land'. We now have a fabulous 'village' within minutes of our doorstep. Still not complete, building is expected to continue for a few more years. Already in place are international and boutique hotels, major banking and international business headquarters, elegant apartments and condos in large, but thankfully attractive, hi-rise buildings, great shops and shopping, marvelous restaurants, cafes, breweries, cinema, bowling, indoor and outdoor exercise facilities, and entertainment venues with Summertime weekly music concerts, and a seasonal outdoor Farmers' Market. Currently an excellent retirement community of condos/assisted living/nursing care is under construction. . . . . . .and in our neighborhood we have valuable land under our houses that people want to buy!
They are moving in, the folk who work in Midtown. They are young, many single, some married and starting families, all apparently making good money, there are great elementary and middle schools in this neighborhood, and they want to live close to where they work. However, thanks perhaps to HGTV, they don't want little brick ranches and such, they want to buy our houses, tear them down and build up as well as out - very nice spacious homes with the latest everything shown on TV or Pinterest. Hey, I don't blame them - if I was young I'd want the same.
Here you can see Midtown rising in the background - we are a little
further away and can't see the buildings from our house.
Stylish new homes going up around us. This one above is at
the entrance to our street, the small 60's ranch having being knocked
down, to the surprise of all the neighbors, one day in January.
This is our cottage today, awaiting leafing out trees and flowers for Spring color.
Bob did give the front lawn its first seasonal mow this week.
We've lived here 30 years. Before then we lived close by in townhouses for
another 10 years when we moved south.
We've seen and handled the many changes in this neighborhood which we love.
It's strange that now, almost weekly, strangers and Realtors leave notes on the door or
mail us offers to buy our home.
But we are staying for the present because, as much as I wouldn't mind a brand
new, easier to manage one level condominium, without the many garden chores,
there is so much I would miss. The secluded back garden with the screened gazebo
and potting shed, the big deck, the front porch, the birds, squirrels, rabbits, cats,
even a fox now and then. . . . . and of course my many wonderful, caring neighbors,
some of whom have lived here even longer than us.
My garden in Spring last year.
The neighborhood this week.
Below, more views from Midtown Raleigh.
Time moves on. Nothing ever stays the same but when changes come it makes
a huge difference if one is happy with them. Just about everyone with whom I've
discussed the development of Midtown appears to be in agreement that it is a
job very well done in so many ways.
Do you live in the city or country?
Have you seen many changes in your neighborhood?
Are they good or bad?
I would love to hear about your neighborhood.