Archives for posts with tag: history

Historic Yates Mill in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines; above photo by @OutaboutNC 

Greater Raleigh is modern in so many ways, and there is also a lot of history in the destination to see. With the help of N.C. Cultural Resources and Raleigh Historic, we put together a list of Greater Raleigh’s oldest sites. Many are open to the public for tours, and those that are not open to the public still make for great photo opps (think Instagram).

Yates Mill
Historic Yates Mill stands on a mill site in operation since ca. 1761 and part of the current mill may date to that time. The frame mill includes a number of generations of construction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and gets its name from Phares Yates, who operated the mill from 1869 to 1948. The mill has been restored and now sits on a 174-acre county park. Learn more.

Joel Lane House in Raleigh

Photo by Leigh Hines

Joel Lane House
Built ca. 1770 by Joel Lane, an early settler of Wake County, the house is known as the birthplace of Raleigh as Joel Lane sold to the State of N.C. 1,000 acres of his plantation for the establishment of the capital city. The house was moved one-half block to its current site in 1913. In the winter months, the Joel Lane Museum House is open for tours on Sat. afternoons, with set times on the hour from 1-3pm. Beginning in Mar., tours are available Wed.-Sat. with special group tours on Sun. Learn more.

Lane-Bennett House
The Lane-Bennett House, also known as the Joe Bennett House, is a small, beautifully-finished Georgian-style house constructed in 1775 for Joseph Lane, the brother of Joel Lane, and was home to the Bennett family after the Civil War. In recent years it was enlarged with a small wing on the east gable end of the house. This house is now a private residence.

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Mordecai House
This home is in the heart of downtown Raleigh and was once the site of Greater Raleigh’s largest plantations. It is also the birthplace of 17th President Andrew Johnson. Joel Lane built a one-and-a-half-story hall-parlor plan house for his son Henry in 1775, and in 1826, Henry’s daughter, Nancy Lane Mordecai, added the two-story Greek Revival-style section featuring a handsome two-tiered front porch designed by William Nichols, the English-born architect who had designed the State House (predecessor to the current North Carolina State Capitol). This is also the site of the Ellen Mordecai Garden. Learn more.

Haywood Hall House and Gardens
John Haywood, a long-time Treasurer of the State of N.C. during the late 18th and early 19th century, began construction of this fine Federal-style house ca. 1800 and its elaborate interior woodwork showcases the early architecture of the state. The house museum contains family portraits, original furnishings and a permanent doll collection. The gardens are open all year, and the house is open Mar.-Dec. and is a popular site for weddings. Learn more.

Crabtree Jones House
Built ca. 1810, the Crabtree Jones House, home of the influential Wake County Jones family, is one of the few remaining early Federal-style plantation houses left in the county. It is distinguished by its well-executed exterior and interior detailing, including marbleized baseboards and a Federal-style mantel with a landscape panel. The house was moved from its original site nearby to the north by Preservation North Carolina in 2014 to save it from demolition. The house is not open to the public.

State Bank of N.C.
The main branch of the State Bank of N.C., constructed in 1814 to house the bank as well as the banker’s residence, is Raleigh’s only surviving early 19th-century commercial building. The Federal-style building was executed in Flemish-bond brick with matching two-tiered classical porticos. In 1968, it was turned 90 degrees and moved 100 feet southeast from its original site to its current location. The bank is open during normal operating hours of the State Employees Credit Union.

Elmwood, built ca. 1813, is a Federal-style side-hall plan dwelling, two rooms deep and two-and-one-half stories tall, with a number of mid-nineteenth-century additions. It was built for John Louis Taylor, chief justice of the state’s first supreme court, and his wife Jane. Originally, the land between the house and Hillsborough St., now occupied by two buildings, was Elmwood’s front lawn. Elmood now serves as private offices.

White-Holman House
The original portion of the White-Holman House, built ca. 1798, is two stories in a side-hall plan and features stone foundations, modillion cornice and molded weatherboards and window sills that mark it as one of the best houses of its era in the area. In 1896 it was enlarged with the addition of the two-story gable-front wing on the east side of the house. It was moved from 209 E. Morgan St. in 1985. It is private and not open to the public.

Photo by: Leigh Hines

Photo by Leigh Hines

Click here to see a list of even more historic sites in Greater Raleigh

Leigh Powell Hines is founder of the N.C. travel community #outaboutnc on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow her the lifestyle and travel blog, Hinessightblog.

A Christmas Carol in Raleigh, N.C.Artful Holiday Traditions

Jingle all the way to Greater Raleigh to create new and artful holiday traditions for your family. Take delight in two time-honored performances at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (12/19-28) and Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol (12/10-14).

You’ll be captivated and fascinated by the awe-inspiring grace, grandeur and mysterious illusions of Carolina Ballet’s production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. This season will be spectacular as Robert Weiss again combines the beauty of ballet with a little Las Vegas magic. You can also catch one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast,” A Christmas Carol in Raleigh. Celebrate the musical comedy’s 40th anniversary as this classic performance is sure to warm hearts of all ages. Both productions are bona fide Raleigh holiday traditions and are inspiring ways for adults and children to share in the holiday spirit.

Cap off your holiday experience by grabbing your mittens, lacing up a pair of skates and visiting Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest (through 2/1). A centerpiece during the winter season, this premier holiday event features a signature outdoor skating rink and other fun-filled festivities. Can’t miss: Other holiday favorites across Greater Raleigh like It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play (12/4-8) and “Tis the Season” (12/12) at the Cary Arts Center, Franc D’Ambrosio – Christmas in New York (12/7) at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre and “Handel’s Messiah – Christmas Section” (12/20) at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex :: All Creative Genius events in December

For the Adrenaline Junkie

The fall season in Greater Raleigh means nonstop soccer on a national scale, highlighted by the return of the NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup (12/12-14). Forty-eight collegiate teams from across the nation will fight for a spot in the final game at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Greater Raleigh also hosts the largest annual youth sporting event in the area’s history, featuring the Boys Showcase during the CASL National Soccer Series (12/12-14). Can’t miss: Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament (12/26-30) at Broughton High School in Raleigh, featuring many of the top-ranked high school players from across the nation :: All Adrenaline Junkie events in December

Seasonal Treats

The holidays offer many special experiences across the Raleigh area. Children will love Brunch with Santa (12/17) at the Garner Performing Arts Center or sipping on a cup of hot apple cider at Historic Oak View County Park for their Sleigh Rides and Cider (12/6) event. Parents can enjoy a night out at the 12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit (12/7) at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, showcasing more than 25 elaborate gingerbread houses donated and created by local celebrity chefs. Can’t miss: North Carolina Symphony’s Sound Bites at the Pub (12/1) at Humble Pie. Sit back and enjoy the performance as you dine on a delicious multi-course meal :: All Foodie events in December

Holidays Around the World

Area holiday celebrations are not limited to those of secular pop culture but include celebrations paying homage to cultures from across the globe. Take part in the rich traditions of the Nordic countries during the Scandinavian Christmas Fair (12/6) at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and indulge in homemade Scandinavian foods, Nordic folk dancing, a traditional Lucia Procession and more. Listen to the pipes and drums, watch traditional Irish dance and shop from local Celtic vendors at the 8th Annual Celtic Christmas (12/14) at Tir na nOg; or, be part of the candle-lighting and other festivities for all ages in the 20th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration (12/20) at the Cary Arts Center. Can’t miss: Take a special holiday tour of the North Carolina Executive Mansion during the Governor’s Mansion Holiday Open House (12/11-14). Browse the decorations, which include N.C.-grown Christmas trees, whimsical gingerbread houses, ornate mantle displays and mixed evergreen arrangements :: All Lifelong Learner events in December

Let’s Jam!

Warm up with a cup of joe and a performance at a coffee shop. Stop in Lorraine’s Coffee House in Garner for evening shows by Connie McCoy Rogers and Mo’ Jazz (12/6), Diamond Creel (12/11) and Foscoe Philharmonic (12/20). You can also relax with live music at Sola Coffee & Cafe while listening to Cory Bishop and Friends (12/5), Rachel Joy Pletts (12/6), Lounge Doctors (12/12) and Erin Mason (12/19). Can’t miss: The national and world tours stopping in Raleigh at PNC Arena, including The Black Keys (12/5) and The Avett Brothers (12/31) :: All Music Maniac events in December

Even more December can’t misses

The Raleigh Acorn will be lowered at First Night Raleigh 2015 to ring in the New Year. While the acorn has become synonymous with First Night Raleigh, the festival is much more than the countdown to midnight. Your admission grants access to every performance and every venue throughout the day. That’s nearly 100 performances in more than three dozen locations across downtown Raleigh. What a bargain for just $10! This year’s theme is “Out of This World Fun.” Learn more

Holidays in Raleigh wouldn’t be the same without the Capitol Tree Lighting at the North Carolina State Capitol. The Capitol is beautiful by itself… but holiday trees make things just a little more beautiful. Seasonal music and hands-on fun highlight this evening presented by the North Carolina Museum of History.

How often do you hear the whistle of a train these days? Probably not as often as 40 years ago, when Amtrak first opened its passenger cars to America and transformed the way people get around. Chances are, if you hear a whistle in Raleigh on March 10-11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., it will be the free Amtrak Exhibit Train heading to the downtown Raleigh Amtrak station to commemorate the train’s 40th anniversary!

The Amtrak 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train is touring the country, and it couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Raleigh. This special train is a unique traveling display that showcases memorabilia from the national passenger railroad’s four decades of history, like vintage advertising, past menus, dinnerware, and period uniforms. You can even learn more about the operational elements of the train, and what the differences are between how Amtrak trains ran 40 years ago versus now.

The Exhibit Train will also include an interactive train-themed kids’ activity area, Chuggington Depot, based on the popular television series on Disney Junior. With activities and displays geared towards both adults and children, this is an event that’ll be perfect for the whole family. Did we mention it’s free?

Local businesses and vendors will also be present to round out the event. For more information on this unique traveling celebration, please visit the Amtrak 40th Anniversary website.

February is Black History Month, when millions of Americans will take the time to remember African-American history, the path that led to equal civil rights and America as we know it today, and much more. You’ll find African-American heritage attractions in most Southern cities, but Greater Raleigh is especially rich in cultural heritage, with a local history that includes the South’s oldest black university, the nation’s first institute for blind African Americans, and the first, four-year medical school for African Americans.

The African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University promotes an awareness of and appreciation for the African-American experience through activities and events. The center houses a robust African American Library, as well as a cultural art gallery featuring the works of prominent African and African-American artists. Similarly, the African American Cultural Complex features a unique collection of contributions made by African Americans toward the development of North Carolina and America, including: innovations in science, business, politics, medicine, sports and the arts.

The first public park in the United States solely dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, the King Memorial Gardens are an African-American heritage attraction to include in your itinerary. The gardens are filled with a colorful variety of trees, shrubs and flowering plants that surround a life-sized statue of Dr. King and a magnificent granite water monument that honors the Raleigh area’s notable pioneers in the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to dozens of African-American heritage attractions, which you can find a comprehensive list of here, Greater Raleigh is also home to historical tours, both led and self-guided, that will take you on a journey through the area’s rich local cultural heritage. Find out more here.

The Southeast’s largest natural history museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, is offering visitors the opportunity to view the world’s largest collection of treasures from the Empire of Genghis Khan. Assembled from the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, as well as private collections, this exhibition is the most amazing of its kind.

Genghis Khan was the notorious Mongol warlord who conquered half of the known world at one point in history. Under his rule, the Mongol Empire grew to be four times the size of the Roman Empire at its largest extent, which is equal in size to the continent of Africa.

This exhibition tells the epic true story of Khan’s life, his people, his culture and the enduring legacy that makes his name so familiar to us today. The collection features rare treasures such as jewelry, ornaments and musical instruments, as well as weapons made famous by Khan and his warriors. Lifelong Learners and war historians will delight in the mummified Mongolian princess from Khan’s time that has been newly added.

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition will be on display until Jan. 16th. Tickets range from $5 to $14 and are free for friends of the museum. Be sure to take this rare opportunity to view this spectacular collection.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly! The halls of the State Capitol building, that is. The halls, the rooms and the grounds of Raleigh’s State Capitol will be beautifully decorated and open to the public during the building’s annual Open House, from Dec. 9th to 12th.

Holiday cheer will fill the capitol as local groups perform traditional and contemporary holiday music in the rotunda throughout the weekend. Civil War buffs will enjoy a special treat on Saturday, when re-enactors from the 6th North Carolina State Troops will set up camp and conduct Civil War-era military drills.

The Christmas encampment will serve as a fun way to compare the holiday during the early war period with the latter period of the war, when many things had become scarce.  There will be fun hands-on activities to enjoy, such as candle dipping and making Civil War-era Christmas ornaments just like they used to.

The State Capitol Open House is truly one of the best times to explore the historically rich building, with the added bonus of live entertainment. Even better, the event is free and requires no advance reservation, although it’s wise to arrive at least one hour before it closes. Check out the hours for this event and learn more about the Capitol building here.

When planning your exploration of Greater Raleigh historic sites, you may not think to include the very places that tell us about the people of our past, cemeteries. Brimming with artful monuments, pristinely preserved cobblestone walkways and tombstone engravings that say much more than what is simply written, the resting grounds of our history’s leaders and influencers are definitely worth visiting.

City Cemetery was originally established in 1798 and divided into four parts that represent the segregation of the times: two one-acre plots for citizens, one for visitors and one for African Americans (most of whom were then slaves). Among those buried here are the father of 17th President Andrew Johnson, Jacob Johnson (d. 1812); clergyman and educator William McPheeters; and Colonel William Polk. A map of 35 other resting places of note in City Cemetery is also available.

Mount Hope Cemetery, founded in 1872, is a city-owned, historically African-American cemetery that is one of the first in its kind in North Carolina. Approximately 1,500 monuments sprawl along 34.5 acres of pastoral, well-landscaped hills, although internment records show more than 7,000 individuals are buried here.  Those buried at Mount Hope include Rt. Rev. Henry Beard Delany, one of two African-American bishops of the Episcopal Church at the time of his death and Colonel James H. Young, a commander of a regiment during the Spanish-American War. Mount Hope contains dozens of other notable burial plots and monuments as well.

These two examples provide just a glimpse of the history that can be discovered in Raleigh cemeteries. Go on a cemetery walking tour or put together your own itinerary using’s information on local historic sites and cemeteries.

All of you history buffs and Lifelong Learners out there may know a lot about the Civil War, but do you know about Greater Raleigh’s involvement in the war? As North Carolinians and Americans all over commemorate the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of the American Civil War, it is the perfect time to take a look back.

Watch this three-minute video that  provides an overview of the Raleigh area’s Civil War heritage, including highlights of the state’s Ordinance of Secession to the war’s final surrender negotiated by Generals Johnston and Sherman while Sherman was headquartered in Raleigh’s Governor’s Palace.

If you prefer to read your history, then check out this overview of Greater Raleigh and the Civil War, and then get out and about to see for yourself! There are 25 historic Civil War sites in the Raleigh area that you can visit for an up-close and personal learning experience. You can use this interactive map as a resource to guide your exploration.

What are some of your favorite historic sites in Greater Raleigh? Which Civil War sites are you most interested in visiting, or which ones do you wish could have been preserved exactly as they looked in 1865?

On November 5th, more than 14,000 years of North Carolina’s history will unfold through a wonderful permanent exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of History. This fascinating exhibit is the second installment of The Story of North Carolina, which debuted in April, and it is the largest the museum has ever hosted.

The Story of North Carolina traces life in North Carolina from its earliest inhabitants all the way to modern-day life. There will be artifacts, multimedia presentations, dioramas, and hands-on components to enjoy, in addition to two historic homes and other environmental recreations that show you what life used to be like in the Tar Heel state.

Special attention will be paid to the most important aspect of North Carolina’s history, the well-known and everyday citizens who helped shape the state into what it is today. While Part One of the exhibit focused on American Indian life through early 1800s settlers’ farm life, Part Two will focus on the antebellum era, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the two World Wars and the Civil Rights Movement.

This exhibit is free to the public, and there will be a Celebrate N.C. History Festival on November 5th for the opening day celebration. Come out to enjoy the new exhibit, along with award-winning musicians, storytellers, dancers, craftspeople and re-enactors as they capture the diversity of the state. For more information, visit this site.

What would you do if you knew you could help the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association and the N.C. Museum of History win $50,000?  What if all you had to do to help was make one quick vote today or every day until May 31st?  It sounds simple. It is simple!

The Pepsi Refresh Project is giving away millions of dollars to sponsor great ideas.  With your help, the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association and the N.C. Museum of History’s project for a hands-on gallery that will inspire children to explore history could be one of the winning ideas. The discovery room will be an important addition to an existing exhibit that showcases winning projects by students across North Carolina.

If you’ve visited this Raleigh museum, plan on visiting, or want to support history education for our youth, vote now.  Vote by:

1) Visiting;

2) Using the Pepsi Refresh Project Facebook voting application;

3) Texting 106534 to Pepsi (73774) from your mobile phone (standard rates apply); or

4) Using the Pepsi Refresh Project iPhone app or Android app.

Cast your vote today or any day before May 31st, and help the junior historians and the history museum inspire our youth for generations to come.

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