Sunday, June 3, 2007

A History Lesson

An interesting document resides at the Raleigh City Museum. It can be found at this link:
Raleigh City Museum Architectural Survey

It is a document I recommend to all who enjoy the beauty and benefits of the old small town.

by Helen Patricia Ross, Principal Investigator
June 4, 1992

From the section on residential growth in the 1920s...

One of the most dramatic manifestations of 1920s growth in Raleigh was residential development. Inside the new (1920) city boundaries, previously established suburbs were intensely built up, while vacant lands were targeted for a second wave of subdivisions. An example of the infill pattern is especially noticeable in Raleigh's south and east black-occupied neighborhoods. The old boundaries remained unchanged in this part of the city, yet many of the streets were paved and water and sewer lines were installed. These improvements combined with greater streetcar access encouraged substantial building in the suburbs of South Park, Battery Heights, and College Park. [34] Subdivisions illustrating the expansive type of residential development are situated along the streetcar routes in north and west Raleigh, on land that had been cotton fields, cow pastures, and the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair. These areas are: Hayes Barton, begun in 1920, Roanoke Park and Mordecai, both 1922, to the north and College Crest, 1922, Wilmont, 1924, and Fairmont, 1926, in the west.

Northern suburbs flourished around the Five Points intersection in this era. Bloomsbury and Georgetown which had been platted before and after World War I, were the earliest settled neighborhoods. In Bloomsbury, the first roads carved out of the land were given names that instilled a sylvan image such as Myrtle, Woodland, and White Oak Forest (shortened to White Oak) roads. The electric streetcar provided fast access for the commuters who moved here. Between 1920 and 1922, thirteen dwellings had been erected inside and beyond the city boundary on either side of Glenwood Avenue, north of Five Points and past the older Glenwood neighborhood and the Methodist Orphanage. Five of them were located along the streetcar route.

They are one- and one-half and two-story, frame and brick foursquares and gable-roofed bungalows. The owners and neighbors were upper management and businessmen. And yet, a five-or ten-minute walk away from Glenwood Avenue on the side streets of Alexander or Creston roads were found homeowners with occupations such as meat cutters and managers, foremen and clerks.The houses were brick and frame bungalows and Colonial Revival houses with a wide range of architectural massing and details. Due to this mixture of inhabitants and dwelling designs, Bloomsbury grew to become an economically diverse neighborhood.

The other early 1920s residential development, situated east of Bloomsbury and north of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks, was Georgetown. The land, owned by James H. Pou, developer of Glenwood, was platted in the 1910s. City Directories reveal that railroad workers occupied this stretch of the road. Significant examples of workers' housing still remain on Sunrise Avenue. One of the most intact is at 1512 Sunrise Avenue, a single-story, frame, gable front shotgun house with 2/2 windows, a brick foundation wall and two interior brick chimneys. During the 1920s, the adjacent vacant lands gave way to modest frame bungalows which were inhabited by tradesmen and working people. ...

By contrast, the grandest of the second wave of suburbs is Hayes Barton, Raleigh's first twentieth century upper-class neighborhood. Bordered by Glenwood Avenue, Fairview Road, Williamson Drive, and St. Mary's Street, Hayes Barton is an exclusive residential district where pecan and willow oak trees shade Georgian and Colonial Revival houses along streets that bear the names of former North Carolina governors such as Jarvis, Reid, Stone, and Vance. The earliest house here dates back to June, 1920, when the suburb developed by the Allen Brothers and the Fairview Realty Company began its transformation from the cotton fields of B. Grimes Cowper. Marketed specifically towards the high end of the economic scale, Hayes Barton was named for Sir Walter Raleigh's birthplace in Devon, England.

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