Prisoner Names Surround The Executive Mansion

I took the segway tour of downtown Raleigh this weekend and I learned some great downtown trivia during it. I thought one of the most interesting pieces of history was related to the bricks around the governor’s mansion. The bricks were made by prisoners at the time and to leave their mark, they wrote their names on the bricks. The next time you walk around the mansion look over the bricks and you will see lots of names written on them. Most are worn down but there are some that are still legible. I’m still not sure of the names on these bricks, any guesses?

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  1. Great post. one name I’ve made out (not among your photos) is “Ballard,” which is the last name of a friend of mine. I had to take a photo of that for her.

    This is a neat little piece of Raleigh’s history that I think few people know about. Thanks for shedding some light on it.

  2. Leo, I’ve been enjoying your Web site– quite comprehensive. You are discovering that the deeper you look the more there is to discover about downtown Raleigh >> Way more! Keep up the good work!

    As far as the signed bricks go, every late 19th brick state government building built in Raleigh (including the Governor’s mansion, and the prison itself!) was built by prison labor from prison brick. The name represents the crew leader of that particular gang that produced a quota of brick. The names shown here read, from top to bottom: Holte, Carter, Pruitt, Jones and Gaston. I too have seen the Ballard brick, as well. I have also seen bricks marked with a simple “X” indicating that that crew leader was probably illiterate >> quite poignant!

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Raleigh Boy, and the added details about this cool piece of history.

    Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing bricks with X’s on them. Makes sense.

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