A guide to Raleigh NC neighborhoods: Oakwood, Boylan, more



A double rainbow appears over downtown Raleigh, as seen from the Boylan Avenue Bridge, on Thursday evening June 20, 2019.

A double rainbow appears over downtown Raleigh, as seen from the Boylan Avenue Bridge, on Thursday evening June 20, 2019.

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Dismantling street

With the Triangle’s housing costs continuing to rise, minority and elderly residents feel displaced.

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A city is as big as its neighborhoods, and Raleigh has a lot of them.

For better or worse, many areas of Raleigh have changed dramatically over the years.

This change is explored in a new report in The News & Observer that examines the city’s housing market using a one-neighborhood block – the 1,500 block of East Jones Street in College Park – to show the effects. on a neighborhood and its inhabitants as the economy forces alter the makeup and, ultimately, the character of a neighborhood.

We started our Raleigh Neighborhood Guide as a companion piece to this story, the first in an occasional series on housing in Raleigh.

We’re starting with the areas in and around downtown Raleigh, and will continue to update and expand to include as many Oak City neighborhoods as possible.

Can’t see your neighborhood here yet? Tell us a bit about it. Email: [email protected]

Oak wood

Historic Oakwood, established in the 19th century on the outskirts of downtown Raleigh, was the first area in Raleigh to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest and largest local historic district in Raleigh. The National Park Service calls it “Raleigh’s only 19th-century intact neighborhood.”

The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Person Street to the west, Franklin Street to the north, Watauga and Linden Street to the east, and Edenton and Morson streets to the south.

The oldest houses here represent the architecture of the Victorian era, including Queen Anne, the Second Empire and Italian, with later houses representing the craftsman, the bungalow, the foursquare and other styles. . Oakwood has strict design guidelines for new construction.

It’s a great neighborhood for strolling through the shady streets, where you’ll pass an array of rainbow-colored houses, a beautiful historic cemetery, and even (if you’re lucky) a giant dinosaur. . The annual December candlelight tour is the neighborhood’s most famous event.


Mordecai (pronounced MOR-da-key) can be found just north of Oakwood. The neighborhood, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to Raleigh’s oldest residence on its original foundation: Mordecai House, built in 1785 by Joel Lane but named in honor of Moses Mordecai, who married with the Lane family. Mordecai House sits inside Mordecai Historical Park, which is also home to President Andrew Johnson’s birthplace and childhood home.

But the majority of Mordecai’s houses are not that old; many were built between 1930 and 1955, and there are even a few “kit houses” here. The Raleigh Historic Development Commission calls this neighborhood “the most architecturally diverse of the early 20th century Raleigh suburbs for the white middle class.”

Mordecai Historic District is approximately bounded by North Blount Street, Courtland Drive, Old Wake Forest Road, and Mordecai Drive. The area has seen more than its fair share of demolition and new home construction in recent years.

University park / Idlewilde

Just east of Oakwood is the historically African-American neighborhood of College Park, which, along with neighboring Idlewilde, is a gentrifying area of ​​Raleigh. (College Park is east of Tarboro Street and Idlewilde is west.) College Park, about 26 blocks away, gets its name from its proximity to the Saint Augustine University campus.

The East College Park Development Project, facilitated by the City of Raleigh, is responsible for 98 new single-family homes and 51 townhouses in this neighborhood (60% of homes are subject to income restrictions as defined by guidelines HUD).

Boylan heights

West of downtown Raleigh is this cozy early 20th-century neighborhood, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of Raleigh’s first planned suburbs, Boylan was developed in the early 1900s from the Boylan Estate, which was bordered by the NC Railroad to the north, the lands of the State Prison (Central Prison) to the west and Dorothea Dix Hospital property to the south.

The neighborhood was developed and sold as a place for (mostly) middle-class white families (with a few expensive houses at the top of the hill). During and after the Great Depression, families lost their homes or moved to wealthier areas, and the area became popular with absent homeowners, with larger houses converted into apartments.

In recent years, the neighborhood has become popular with young families wanting to live near downtown or North Carolina State University, and homes have been converted back to single-family homes. The neighborhood’s proximity to Dix Park makes it even more attractive today. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is Montfort Hall, a mansion completed in 1860 for William Montfort Boylan that has recently been refurbished into a boutique hotel called the Heights House Hotel.

Battery heights

This district of the National Register of Historic Places, developed mainly in the late 1950s and early 1960s and located southeast of downtown, is one of four mid-century housing estates built for Afro- Americans during segregation. Here you will find ranch-style and split-level homes, located on generous grounds.

According to the Raleigh Historical Development Commission, the district takes its name from the land batteries stationed in the area during the Civil War. The land was originally owned by Bartholomew Gatling, a former postmaster and County Raleigh attorney whose family later developed the land in lots for African-American professionals.

Battery Heights has been home to many of Raleigh’s most prominent black residents, including John H. Baker Jr., who grew up in the Oberlin community, played NFL football after college and became the first sheriff. black from Wake County.

East Raleigh / South Park

This area, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a collection of smaller neighborhoods that make up Raleigh’s largest African-American Historic District. Developed primarily between around 1850 and 1940, the 30-block neighborhood lies east and south of downtown, with the older section extending north of South Street and west of East Street. .

The houses in the older part are densely populated and close to the street. In this area, you will also find a good number of churches and local grocery stores, and a few pre-war houses remain. The South Park area, whose development began in 1907, was marketed to African Americans because of its proximity to Shaw University.

This area is starting to see more development, with the recent construction of modern style homes.

Oberlin Village

Oberlin, one of Raleigh’s most historic neighborhoods, sits between Hayes Barton and Cameron Village. The neighborhood was founded as a freedman village for blacks after emancipation. The Wilson Temple United Methodist Church, established in Oberlin in 1873, still stands in a Gothic Revival style structure built in 1911. The architectural style of Oberlin houses ranged from two-story Queen Anne-style houses to smaller and more simple houses. chalets and bungalows on floors. But this district has also seen a huge amount of dismantling and new construction in recent years, radically changing its composition. Yet there is Oberlin Cemetery, established in 1873, which is said to be a cemetery for slaves.

Cameron Village / Cameron Park

Northwest of the city center is the Cameron Village neighborhood, a mix of homes, apartments and businesses first developed around 1950. Eight blocks of ranch-style single-family homes mostly surrounding the mall make up its historic neighborhood, and the look and feel of it. The neighborhood feel is protected by development agreements, according to the Raleigh Historical Development Commission.

The neighborhood shopping center to the south, developed on the former Duncan Cameron plantation, recently changed its name from Cameron Village to Village District, due to its connection to a prominent slave owner.

The rich Cameron Park is south of the Cameron Village shopping center, and was developed in the early 20th century. This area is home to different architectural styles including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Georgian Revival. This district is also protected by efforts to maintain architectural continuity. In the early 1900s, these conventions also prohibited blacks from living there, unless they were employed as domestic servants.

The Cameron Park neighborhood is in the process of voting to possibly change its name, as the mall did in January 2021. The results are expected shortly.

University park

This neighborhood, just north of the NC State University campus, was established in the late 1800s (it was even the site of the first NC State Fairgrounds), but most of the homes here have now been built from the 1920s through 1960s. Here you’ll find the Raleigh Little Theater, as well as the much-loved Raleigh Rose Garden (the go-to for engagement photoshoots).

Shortly: Glenwood / Brooklyn, Five Points, Hayes Barton and Longview.

Sources: Raleigh Historical Development Commission (rhdc.org), The national parks service

This story was originally published September 26, 2021 6:00 a.m.

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Brooke Cain is originally from North Carolina and has worked for The News & Observer for over 20 years. She writes on television and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and follows the changing landscape of the local grocery store.


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