Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hopes for a Happier Hillsborough Street



News & Observer has a story on the Hillsborough Street Renaissance Festival held yesterday.

Rhodes' association joined campus environmental groups, local restaurateurs and bands, and student chefs on the street Saturday. In one tent, people formed a drum circle, banging empty water jugs and detergent bottles. In another, they tasted barbecue prepared by the school's fraternities.

The idea for the festival started with three NCSU engineering students who wanted to raise money for campus charities and draw attention to environmental causes. But as they began organizing, a grander concept emerged.

They saw it as a way to erase the street's image as a divider -- home to rowdy bars that irritate nearby homeowners -- and turn it into a place where families, business owners and students could come together for a day.


Looking forward to that day to become real life again. Many of us remember the simple life -- where a trip to the A&P was just one stop that could be done on foot or bike from your home.

Extra credit for remembering the names of the places that Hillsborough was home to.

I'll start: Hamburger Hut. Gateway Restaurant. ...

11 comments:

Karl said...

OK-- I definitely remember the Hamburger Hut (now on W. Morgan-- they took the old grill and counter with them when they moved off Hillsboro St. I watched the Watergate hearings from that counter) and the Gateway Restaurant, where you could get a meat and two vegetables for $1.25 (now a parking lot for NC State). Here're a few more: Edward's Grocery (when it was a real grocery, before the nightclub moved into that space --also now a parking lot); The 'Boarding House' at the corner of Chamberlain and Hillsboro (meals served 'family style' for $2.50-- one meat, ice tea and all the vegetables you could eat); Elliason's Restaurant (the owner, George Elliason, passed away recently) and The College Grill (aka Red's --best Rueben sandwich on Hillsboro St.), were both next door to the Varsity Theater; Baxley's Restaurant, and Mr Ribs Resaturant, which was a little further down the street. There was another small bar next to Weatherman's --jewelery and watches -- in the 'Darryl's Building' whose name escapes me right now, but I remember the owner's name was Rose. She had to close when Darryl's moved in.

Anybody else remember any of these businesses, too?

Fallonia Parker said...

Was that the Wolves Den you are thinking of, the space which Darryl's acquired?

Karl said...

Yes! The Wolves Den! Thank you Fallonia ...I've been trying to remember the name of that place for years! As I recall, Rose was an avid fishing sportist-- I remember an enormous mounted stuffed trophy fish that hung on the wall behind the bar. I loved that place!

btw-- how'd you do with the other Hillsboro St. haunts I remembered?

Fallonia Parker said...

You got em!

I never tried the "boarding house" -- it had that paneled in front porch, didn't it? I know some "poor" grad students who went there.

There was a little grocery down near Ashe Ave, next to the little drug store, that was family run. It had an old silver tin ceiling in it. The Jade Garden or Magic Corner might have that spot.

I knew Reds, but never had a night off there. Too bad I missed out on the Reuben, I didn't know!

The Wolves Den, yes. Warmer than your average pizza parlor. Funny how each place had its devoted regulars.

I can't figure out how the college works without Baxleys and Brothers in that first block.

Do you recall what was there before the Rathskeller. Was that the Hamburger Hut location? Those blue plate specials got me through organic chem one summer.

Karl said...

OK-- I got the wrong corner for "The Boarding House." It was at the corner of Logan Ct, not Chamberlain. It was run by two older ladies who actually boarded students -- mealtime was open to all paying customers. The building was torn down about 1972 when almost that whole block was cleared of houses for construction of the Lemon Tree Inn, now North Residence Hall. The place had been so popular with students that the Technician ran a full front page article on it. A photo showed the two ladies standing on the front porch, and the headline read "Goodbye Alma and Hazel!" or something to that effect.

Another boarding house was at the Chamberlain St corner, where the convenience store is now. That one was "Mrs Hudson's." I actually lived in an apartment there for a couple years in the late '70s. The 'boarding' aspect had been done away with many years before, after Mrs. Hudson was no longer able to run it. Her son Rex and his wife Edith had come to live with her in the mid '70s. There was a garden in the backyard featuring flower borders and a goldfish pond. Rex and Edith continued to live there and rent rooms and apartments until Rex passed away in the mid-80s.

As far as the Rathskeller, that may have been where the Hamburger Hut was located, but seems that may have been in the next block up, where Two Guys is now. I think Elliason's Restaurant may have been in the space the Rath moved into. Time to pull out the old city directories!

I don't remember the drug store or grocery you mentioned, but there was a restaurant called Peter Pan Restaurant in the space now occupied by Jade Garden. It was owned by a Greek lady, and had been there forever. After she passed away in the early '70s a small bar opened up in the basement that served up the best 'German style' lentil soup I ever ate!

Funny how the mundane, everyday things in life often leave one with the strongest memories!

Fallonia Parker said...

O My Goodness, The Peter Pan. I nearly forgot!!! I tried to forget. The grocery was next door. It was a big deep rectangle.

Going east, do you remember the Blue Tower. It was a waffle house kind of place, corner of Hillsborough and the last block of Glenwood. Excellent eats at odd hours. There is a business in there now, has a cute little cupola on it. Really needs to be a diner again.

And of course the Canton Cafe. Raleigh's first and only Chinese restaurant.

There were two "fruit" markets. The Friendly Fruit and _________? One at the Glenwood / Hillsboro block and another across from Textiles on Hillsboro, near Fergusons Hardware. These were the precursors of 7-11, Handy Pantry stores.

These everyday memories do make an impression.

Fallonia Parker said...

PS: I think Elliasons was where the Rat went in. Was the HH next to Varsity Mens Wear? I know it is was in the block with the theater.

Karl said...

Oh yes, I remember the Blue Tower-- that and the Char Grill were two of my regular places when I lived in Boylan Heights during my college years. The Friendly Fruit Store --the last wooden frame commercial building on Hillsboro St.-- was next door to Abbot and Pierce service station. Both of these were taken out when Glenwood was run through to Morgan. Brantley's Drug Store and the Spur gas station were across the street between the RR tracks and West St. I could fill up the tank in my VW beetle for about $3.50!

And of course, the Canton Cafe. That goes way back-- dad would take the family there for 'Chinese' when I was a kid. I remember the high-backed wooden booths, the kitschy oriental artwork and the Chinese lanterns -- all so exotic!

Further up the street in the 200 block was The Broiler. Didn't go there very often, as it was somewhat on the 'seedy' side, with all kinds of questionable characters lurking about.

Down at the other end of Hillsboro was Mr. Ribs, another fav of my dad's and where I worked as a dishwasher one semester. Don't exactly remember the 'other' fruit market, but I believe it was in the same building where the 'original' PR was located before Bernie relocated to Oberlin Rd about 1960. This was another of my dad's haunts.

Here's one for ya-- Do you remember the big Reddy Kilowatt neon sign on Hillsboro St., just up the road from the bulldozer building?

Fallonia Parker said...

I would take my molars back to get my hands on that picture hanging on the wall at Brothers : it was an aerial view of the campus, circa 1945, included the farms on Brooks Ave, quonset huts on the campus greens, fruit trees in the "brickyard." I hope things like that went to the NC Dept of Archives. Do you remember it? Right inside the door.

I now remember Mr Ribs. I was looking at that dive of a building recently, trying to remember what ever attracted me there. It was a good spot.

How do the renovation plans look to you?

Karl said...

Yes, I remember that photo. I hadn't been in Brother's for a while before they closed, so I did not think of it again until you mentioned it. I have a large aerial photo in my office that shows the campus and Hillsboro St from the Belltower all the way out past the CP&L substation. I think it dates from 1970-72, as the D.H. Hill bookstacks tower is up and the Talley Center is still under construction. Also, you can just make out the boarding houses mentioned above.

As far as the renovation plans-- I have not studied them closely yet, as I did not attend the event last weekend on account of the rain. My highest priority would be getting all those overhead wires underground-- hideous! Remember how Glenwood Ave. looked prior to wire burial? And the roundabouts-- hmm... we'll have to see how that goes. I do like the idea of placing one right at the brick gateway at Pullen Rd. That intersection is hazardous! Ironically, the connecting street to Oberlin goes right through the site of the eponymous restaurant. btw-- I drove by there a week or so ago, and saw somebody had plowed right into a portion of the gateway, knocking it down. I can't count the number of times that has happened before!

tucforge said...

OK. This is old stuff here (March) but I just found it. I know a lot about this area as it was my life for my years at State. I too lived at Mrs. Hudson's -in the basement. Mrs. Raynor's Boarding House at the corner of Logan Court was next door to me when I lived at 0 Logan Court as well. Mrs. Raynor was my landlady. I also lived above the Empire Club pool hall (next to the Huddle Restaurant) where Darryl's ended up.....yadda, yadda, yadda.