Pic of the Week

224 Fayetteville Street

This is a shot of 224 (left) and 222 (right) Fayetteville Street. 224 Fayetteville Street, or the Lewis-Woodard Building, has a fresh new front door. This is a huge contrast to the white marble, colder feeling version it had before. You can see the previous version in this April 2015 Google streetview.

A little background on the building from the Fayetteville Street Historic District registration form.

Lewis-Woodard Building
224 Fayetteville Street, ca. 1883, ca. 1925, 1957, 1985, Contributing Building

The three-story, Italianate style building has a brick exterior and extends the full depth of the block from Fayetteville Street to S. Salisbury Street. The facade has a remodeled storefront with original wall treatment surviving at the upper stories and at the cornice. The ground floor has a deeply recessed entry at the south end and a similarly recessed display window at the north end. Elsewhere, the ground-floor facade is covered with large tiles of white marble. The identical second and third stories are four bays wide with one-over-one, doublehung, segmental-arched wood sash windows. Decorative metal window hoods feature keystones and corbels. The elaborate bracketed pressed metal cornice has dentil molding and scrollwork with the same lionshead elements seen in the keystones on the Briggs Building. The three-bay-wide S. Salisbury Street elevation was also remodeled in 1985, when white marble panels were applied to the brick-clad building at the storefront, rising in vertical bands on either side of the center bay, and across the top of the third-story windows. Six-oversix double-hung wood-sash windows remain at the second and third stories; the first floor windows and centered
door were replaced in 1985.

The building appears as two separate structures on the 1884 Sanborn map: a three-story hardware store and office building fronting Fayetteville Street and a two-story tin shop and warehouse fronting S. Salisbury Street. Partners Julius Lewis and Nicholas West had purchased the parcel in two transactions in 1881. Lewis and West ran a hardware store located a few parcels north and across the street at 219 Fayetteville Street that had been in business since at least 1875, according to Raleigh City directories. The business remained at that location until 1883, when it moved to the 224 address, likely into a new building that Lewis and West had erected since their purchase. Lewis became the sole owner of the property in 1894; in 1906, he sold it to Moses Woodard, a local businessman. The building briefly housed the F. M. Kirby and Company Five and Dime before the F. W. Woolworth Company established a store in the building in 1913. Woolworth’s made alterations to the S. Salisbury Street elevation around 1925 and to the storefront on Fayetteville Street in 1957, merging it with the storefront of the Lumsden-Boone Building next door at 226 Fayetteville Street. Woolworth’s moved out of the building by 1972. In 1985, more changes were made to the building to house new owner Raleigh Federal Savings and Loan and other commercial tenants.

*Fayetteville Street Historic District registration form

Weekend Video: Capital Boulevard Makeover

From the meeting this week hosted by NCDOT, the video above was being played on a loop at the Borden Building in Fred Fletcher Park Thursday evening. If you can’t see the embedded video, go here.

The video is a great watch for those following this project and construction starts on Wade Avenue first this Fall.

You can find more on the NCDOT’s project website.

The Smoky Hollow Neighborhood May Be Making a Comeback

Looking West down Peace Street, August 2016

Looking West down Peace Street, August 2016

What would it take for a Raleigh neighborhood of the 1900s that was completely wiped out, literally paved over, to come back? It seems naming a new development in the 2000s after it would be a start.

The Smokey Hollow project will be a 12-story mixed-use project with 400 (400+ actually) apartments and retail according to the press release and recently submitted site plans. The press release doesn’t call out the name Smokey Hollow but the site plans on the city’s website are named just that.

A quick aside, I’m hung up on the spelling for some reason but to the best of my knowledge, the name of the neighborhood that was in this area of downtown Raleigh was Smoky Hollow (smells like smoke) and not Smokey Hollow. (the proper name of Smokey) As of this writing, Smokey Hollow will be the new development that is planned and Smoky Hollow will be the neighborhood that once existed in this area of Raleigh. (I’ve also tweaked previous posts to try and be consistent)

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’d like to dive back into the history of the area and how Smoky Hollow was cleared out by the State of North Carolina and their drive for what was called “urban renewal” in the 1950s and 1960s.

As part of a former project (Link Peace Street) that I was a part of, active in 2012, I have polished off this Google Map for reuse. Below is the map containing the old Smoky Hollow boundaries as well as former streets. There are also historic and present day photos.

As for the history of the neighborhood, Anna at her blog Reinvent Your Wheel has a great take on the area’s change in her blog post, “Capital Blvd: Raleigh’s Great Divide.” I’m posting a piece of the post with permission.

Smoky Hollow (which I’ve also seen spelled as “Smokey” Hollow) was a blue-collar neighborhood in downtown Raleigh prior to the construction of Capital Blvd in the 1950s. Everything I’ve found hints the it was a racially mixed area with both black and white residents which would have been somewhat unique to that time period. Its boundaries were roughly Peace St to the north, West St to the west, North St to the south and Wilmington St to the east. The residents of Smoky Hollow worked primarily for the railroad, mill, or other industrial businesses in the vicinity.

Children growing up in Smoky Hollow entertained themselves by playing on the train trestles and in the Pigeon House Branch creek, which has now been mostly buried. It was a solid community although it seems like it was considered to have been a little rough around the edges. The construction of Capital Blvd, with the addition of other projects, brought about the end this unique piece of downtown by the early 1960s when almost all the residents were forces to relocate. Only a few pieces of the Smoky Hollow neighborhood remain, including Finch’s Diner on Peace St and the store fronts found to the west of it.

*Capital Blvd: Raleigh’s Great Divide

Old storefronts along Peace Street, August 2016

Old storefronts along Peace Street, August 2016

Anna’s post also has a pair of maps, showing the before and after effects of Capital Boulevard punching through the Smoky Hollow neighborhood. In short, a grid of streets was removed resulting in two anti-urban hits to downtown Raleigh; a fast moving highway and the state government complex.

A neighborhood faded away as well as a baseball park. The Devereux Meadow ballpark, which has been mentioned on this blog before, predates capital boulevard, as shown in this 1952 aerial photo taken by the News & Observer.

1952 Aerial photo of Capital Boulevard construction. Reprinted with permission from The News & Observer.

Reprinted with permission from The News & Observer. Click for larger.

This photo shows Capital Boulevard (then known as Downtown Boulevard) under construction in 1952 or so. The project was finished in 1953. The view is looking south. This photo shows the intersection of Peace Street and Capital Boulevard. The ramps for the bridge have been graded. Devereux Meadow ballpark is in the foreground and across the left field fence is the Raleigh Cotton Mill. Across the railroad tracks from the mill is the Seaboard Passenger station. In the center is the Seaboard half-roundhouse adjacent to the rail yards. To the right of the roundhouse is Finch’s with cars parked in front. To the right of Finch’s is a collection of storefronts including the dry cleaning building. These are among only a handful of buildings still standing in the former Smoky Hollow neighborhood. At the right, you can see the Norfolk Southern tracks and trestles including the one that passes over Peace Street. The boundaries of Smoky Hollow were basically that area between the Seaboard railroad yards and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, and between North and Peace streets.

*Historical research by Karl Larson, History Editor, Goodnight Raleigh.

Let me add that you can still see some of the Smoky Hollow houses along West and Harrington Street.

The finished product can be seen below in this November 1964 photo, again from the News & Observer. The neighborhood is gone at this point.

November 1964 Aerial photo of Capital Boulevard. Reprinted with permission from The News & Observer.

Reprinted with permission from The News & Observer. Click for larger.

Over time, the area has filled in, mostly with state and county-owned properties. Economic development? I’m not convinced that was a successful result of the Capital Boulevard project of the 1960s.

Moving to the present, the original area of Smoky Hollow hasn’t seen any real movement lately except for the West at North tower. Located at, you guessed it, West and North Street the 17-story residential building opened in 2008 and is probably the anchor to any West Street activity near Glenwood South.

With a lot coming to West Street, the announcement of the Smokey Hollow project, artist’s sketch below, shows that we may be putting the pieces in place to bring back residential to Smoky Hollow once again.

Artist rendering

Smokey Hollow, planned for the corner of Peace and West Street. Click for larger

It may not look the same as 75 years ago but the Smoky Hollow of the future may exist in mid-rise apartments with ground floor retail.

In a future post, let’s take a look at some of the factors supporting this residential drive in Smoky Hollow. The pieces are all there including a creek, a new park, and calmer, better connected streets.

Pic of the Week

Christ Church Expansion

The latest addition to Christ Church is starting to really take shape these days. You’ve got to hand it to them for trying to make their newest expansion along Edenton Street match the historic building. They have an album of construction photos on their Flickr page.

Upcoming: Smokey Hollow, Peace Street, and Seaboard Station

This is what it is like to take a walk downtown with @dtraleigh

A photo posted by Jennifer Suarez (@jenniferraleigh) on

Readers of the blog should not be surprised that there is a lot of momentum coming soon to Peace Street. The Smoky Hollow project near Peace and West, Devereux Meadow park, the new Capital Boulevard bridge, and new developments in Seaboard Station, including a Harris Teeter, are all going to dramatically change the look of Peace Street.

I went out there to take photos and I’m putting some lengthier stuff together, which I hope to finish soon.

Speaking of the bridge over Peace, put August 18 on your calendar as a public meeting about the Capital Boulevard bridge replacement project is planned.

Stay tuned.

Pic of the Week

Dram and Draught

After years of being empty, the old Esso gas station on Hillsborough Street now has life in it. Dram and Draught, a whiskey and cocktail bar, is now open and adds some neighborhood bar vibes to this area of downtown Raleigh.

Food Trucks Start Operating in Downtown Raleigh

Food Truck signs in Raleigh

This week, a six-month pilot program starts for having food trucks in and around downtown Raleigh. This means that the trucks can operate outside of just events. There are four areas for the trucks to set up at including:

The hours for the trucks to be here are between 10am and 3pm. On First Fridays, they are allowed out there until 8pm.

The food truck debate really does put our public spaces, more specifically the public on-street parking spaces, into view. Parking, and the threat of reducing it, gets emotions running. In my opinion, these designated food truck areas provide a greater public good then a few more parking spaces. They support a diverse of uses, especially a use that provides to pedestrians in an urban area rather than vehicles in an urban area.

Skepticism over food trucks isn’t new in Raleigh. The City of Raleigh Museum has a good blog post about the debate over ice cream trucks in Raleigh during the 1960s.

Before the modern food truck, the ice cream truck fought for the ability to sell in Raleigh. The main points of contention were child safety and littering. City officials and parents argued that ice cream trucks were a hazard to the community and posed a threat to children. Like food trucks, ice cream trucks divided the community.

*Not Jumping for Joy: Raleigh’s Contentious Relationship with Ice Cream Trucks

Are food trucks really an issue or is Raleigh just being Raleigh?

Hopefully, the pilot program goes off well and more food truck areas can be added to the list.

Summer 2016 Restaurant Roundup

To quote the great philosopher Lauryn Hill: "Ready or Not, Here I Come, You Can't Hide Gonna Find You and Make You Want Me" We are officially OPEN. Stop by and see us tonight!

A photo posted by The Haymaker (@haymakerraleigh) on

Downtown continues to add new places to drink and eat. The outdoor seating options coming in the next few months will make you start wishing for Fall. (if the current heat hasn’t already done that)

For a complete list of eats, drinks, and coffees in and around downtown, make sure to bookmark the DT Eats page. Try something new!

6 pounds of mango ready to go into our Mango IPA! #craftbeer #littlecityral #raleighbeer #raleigh

A photo posted by Little City Brewing (@littlecityral) on

Ohh I'm keeping my eye on you Whiskey Kitchen, with your Art Deco facade, awesome outdoor seating and most likely delicious beverages. #downtownraleigh #loveyourcity

A photo posted by Bradley Upchurch (@bradleeivan) on


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