Blount Street Historic Corridor

Tour curated by: RHDC

Blount Street has always been a part of Raleigh—it runs straight through the original one-square-mile city plan that William Christmas drew in 1792. Today’s Blount Street extends from just south of Shaw University up to Peace Street and encompasses a great collection of nineteenth and twentieth century buildings. The southern reach has been part of an historically African-American neighborhood since at least Reconstruction. The north end, in contrast, was a white, semi-rural neighborhood even before the Civil War.

Only two antebellum buildings remain. The Greek Revival-style Lewis-Smith House was actually built on North Wilmington Street in 1854. In the 1970s, it and several other high-style, nineteenth-century houses were moved to North Blount Street to make way for the state government complex. Nearby, the Main Building of William Peace University stands on the north side of Peace Street at the terminus of North Blount Street. It is also antebellum and Greek Revival. Construction began in 1859 to house Peace College, a Methodist-run girls’ school. The Civil War interrupted the work and the building remained unfinished until the 1870s.

After the Civil War came momentous changes to life and society in North Carolina. The influx of country residents into cities in post-war decades included the wealthy. In Raleigh, they built fashionable dwellings along North Blount and surrounding streets. Nationally popular architectural plan books presented endless variations of decorative flourish, including Eastlake-style work seen on the porches of the Hawkins-Hartness House and at the Executive Mansion.

Aside from decoration, the period saw a significant shift in overall architectural style. The mansard roof at the ca. 1870 Heck-Andrews House indicates its Second Empire style; look for other dwellings on surrounding streets built in this style. The 1874 Andrews-Duncan House has characteristic Italianate elements: eaves adorned with brackets, windows with elaborate molding, and overall verticality. Architect G.S.H. Appleget designed both houses.

Appleget also designed Estey Hall at Shaw University. This Italianate-style building was the first erected for the higher education of African American women. Shaw founder Rev. Henry Martin Tupper, a Baptist missionary, came to Raleigh during Reconstruction to build schools for African Americans. The imposing, brick-veneered Tupper Memorial Church, built in 1903, was named for him in gratitude. Nearby stands the 1907 Masonic Temple Building, which housed Raleigh’s African American masonic lodge.

As the nineteenth century ended, new building types went up in the area, reflecting growth and industrial development. The Pilot-Crompton Mill, begun in 1893 to produce textiles, is adjacent to the corridor. The 1912 Montague Building at Moore Square is a large commercial building rendered in the Neoclassical Revival style. The Beaux Arts-style Capital Apartments was built in 1917.

Change and variety have been constants along Blount Street throughout Raleigh’s history. The historic buildings you’ll see along and near the corridor offer testament to the city’s evolution.

Locations for Tour

An urban-based industrial complex two blocks north of the 1881 city limits, the mill buildings and accompanying worker housing mirrored those of rural mill sites. James and William H. Williamson established the mill for the manufacture of unfinished…

Peace Institute, chartered in 1857, was named for William Peace, who contributed eight acres and $10,000 toward the establishment of a Presbyterian school for girls. The Main Building is an impressive Greek Revival structure with Italianate accents.…

Located on the southeast corner of Pace and Blount streets, this house embodies the distinctive early twentieth-century Prairie style of architecture developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and characterized by horizontal lines, minimal detailing,…

This two-and-a-half-story frame dwelling is an excellent example of a middle-class home of the late nineteenth century, and it is one of the few houses on Blount Street that remains on its original site. Although it features the Eastlake and…

The Lewis-Smith house is an excellent example of the Greek Revival style, featuring a two-story pedimented portico supported by Doric columns on the first level and Ionic columns on the second. Moved from its original location on North Wilmington…

The ca. 1875 Merrimon-Wynne House is a lovely example of both the Italianate architectural style and the Eastlake mode of decoration. Elongated windows, upright proportions, and modillions under the broad eave are all hallmarks of the style, popular…

Lucy Catherine Moore Capehart, daughter of a prominent state legislator, had this imposing brick house with elaborate wood and stone ornamentation built on then-fashionable N. Wilmington Street. Designed by A. G. Bauer, it is one of the finest…

This two-story frame house features details and characteristics of the Neoclassical Revival style. Slender Ionic columns support the wrap-around porch; the pedimented front entry is particularly noteworthy. Private residence. Date: 1899

The overall style of the two-story, wood frame Higgs-Coble-Helms house is Italianate but it has the asymmetrical composition typical of Queen Anne dwellings. Its second-story windows are capped by pedimented surrounds supported by brackets that are…

G. S. H. Appleget designed this symmetrical Italianate home for Confederate Captain Alexander B. Andrews. Although much different than the Heck-Andrews House in its overall effect, there are similarities in the window surrounds, finely ornamented…

Architect G. S. H. Appleget designed this house for Confederate Colonel Jonathan McGee Heck. A characteristic mansard roof caps the Second Empire house and a dramatic central tower adorns the facade. Patterned slate and ornate brackets, window…

According to tradition, this house was built as a surprise by Dr. William J. Hawkins for his brother and sister-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. Alexander B. Hawkins. Mrs. Hawkins had the ninety-two-foot Eastlake verandah added to soften the brick facade. Mrs.…

The Andrews-London House is a fine example of the Georgian Revival style. Designed by James A. Salter, this two-and-one-half story brick house features extensive wainscot paneling as well as round-arched and pedimented molding at interior doorways.…

This two-story brick house was built in the Georgian Revival style in the side yard of the Hawkins-Hartness House for Mrs. Hawkins's niece, Martha Hawkins Bailey. It is state headquarters for the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Date: 1922

Located on one of the five public squares provided in Raleigh's initial city plan of 1792, the governor's home is an unusually symmetrical Queen Anne dwelling designed by architect Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia and his assistant Gustavus…

Richard B. Haywood, a founder of the North Carolina Medical Society, designed this Greek Revival brick townhouse, also known as Crabapple. Its outstanding feature is the superb Doric-order porch. The house is the last surviving dwelling in the…

Designed in the Beaux Arts style, this structure is the first urban high-rise apartment building erected in Raleigh. It consists of five floors arranged in a U-shape around a well in the main facade. All floor plans have the same features,…

The Montague Building, a combination of the Neoclassical Revival and the emerging Commercial styles, was the first large retail building in the Moore Square area. This building, along with the Mission-style City Market, helps define a lively center…

This three-story brick building with Italianate details housed commercial space on the first floor, a meeting hall on the second floor, and the Masonic Hall on the third floor. It was built in 1907 by Raleigh's earliest African American…

About the artwork: “To start this project, I made two scouting trips to Blount Street where I walked the blocks mentioned in the project and searched for a subject. I decided to create a composition using Prince Hall as the subject. I was…

About the artwork: “The work I am presenting represents what I have read about the historic portion of Raleigh. The African American roots of the freedmen who started on Blount Street and other areas of downtown, because it was one of the few…

Dr. Henry Martin Tupper founded the church in 1866 as Second Baptist Church, providing religious services and classes for African Americans, including theological training for preachers, adult education, and eventually high school and grade school…

About the artwork: “Coming from a small town myself—Oxford, North Carolina, where there were few cultural events, museums, etc.—the public library was the place that fed my soul. A good library is an extremely important resource for any…

About the artwork: “Preserve celebrates food traditions and aims to help viewers recollect the vibrant past of the East Raleigh-South Park Historical District. My banner design is an ode to the African American home demonstrators. From 1919 to…

About the artwork: “Windows on Blount Street is based on a rubbing of one of my carved acrylic paintings from the Reservoir series, in which I chose techniques and motifs from my personal art-making history and used those elements to create 24…

About the artwork: “The 746 East Raleigh South Park District was a place that provided black people with a strong community and incredible opportunities that they were largely being denied elsewhere. I wanted to highlight some of those wonderful…

About the artwork: “The Washington School is one of the most historically significant buildings for Raleigh’s African American educational community. Although not on Blount Street, I thought it would be important to honor a building and…

About the artwork: “While the majority of my artwork is mixed media collage built out of secondhand print materials, I often work through these ideas digitally first. As a result of this practice, I’ve become increasingly interested in digital…

This two-story Greek Revival frame building has distinctive Italianate accents. The house was associated with a series of leading figures in local, state, and national history including congressman Sion H. Rogers, legislator William Henry Bagley,…

About the artwork: “As a young girl growing up in Apex and Raleigh, the Shaw area was a place of prestige within my community, from the university to Dr. Debman’s office, who delivered me and my siblings. My approach to honoring the historic…

Estey Hall was the first structure built for the higher education of African American women in the United States and is the oldest surviving building on the Shaw University campus. Designed by G. S. H. Appleget, the building has a cross-gabled roof…

About the artwork: “One Way Home is a way of talking about and understanding people without depicting people. I am interested in what historic buildings can tell us about old ways of life melding with or giving way to present-day needs. In the…