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The mission of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission is to identify, preserve, protect, and promote Raleigh’s historic resources.

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The District is Named!

On October 16, at the recommendation of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, the Raleigh City Council officially named the South Person/South Blount Streets historic district the Prince Hall Historic District. 

Background

In April, residents of the new local historic district convened for an information fair; a hot topic was the selection of a historically-appropriate name to recommend to City Council for adoption. Out of this meeting came three suggestions: Prince Hall, Stronach’s Alley, and the Deluxe. An online poll to receive community input was placed on www.rhdc.org through the month of September; the results are as follows: Prince Hall, 55%; Stronach's Alley, 39%; Deluxe, 6%. 

The new district, which is located partially within the East Raleigh-South Park National Register Historic District as well as within the new South Park-East Raleigh Cultural District, requires a name that is in harmony with the aforementioned designations but refers specifically to its unique place within. Here are brief histories of the three names considered at the community event:

Prince Hall: Called the ‘most stylish’ building in the district, the Price Hall Masonic Temple Building at 427 South Blount Street was erected in 1907. The three-story Italianate building was constructed from brick likely salvaged from a demolished Masonic Temple Building for whites. The first story features a cast iron bracketed cornice and a cutaway corner entrance supported by a cast iron column, while the upper floors contain segmental arch windows accented with hoodmolds. 

The first lodge built by Raleigh’s earliest black fraternal orders, the Widow’s Son Lodge No. 4 and the Excelsior Lodge No. 21, Prince Hall served as a meeting place for benevolent societies and rented its lower floors to various enterprises, serving as an incubator for local, black-owned businesses over the decades. It is a Raleigh Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Stronach’s Alley:  Bisecting the block bounded by South Wilmington, East Cabarrus, South Blount, and East Lenoir streets, Stronach’s Alley was once lined with modest residences. It was named after William Carter Stronach, a 19th-century businessman who built Raleigh’s first tobacco warehouse and erected a prizery on the southeast corner of Wilmington and Cabarrus Streets. African American carpenter Bibb Matthews is said to have selected the name in recognition of his employer; he and his father W.H. Matthews, a bricklayer and plasterer, may have been involved in the construction of some of the district’s homes.  

Sanborn maps show several dwellings existing in the alley, as well as a “Colored Mission Room” and “Negro Hall,” a well, and a woodworking shed. The block itself included additional homes, a church, hospital, movie theatre, automotive parts store, and cotton warehouses over the years. Given its past use, the alley is archeologically sensitive and could yield artifacts that better tell the history of the district.

Deluxe: In 1923, Needham and Hattie Lewis established a hotel at 220 East Cabarrus Street to serve Raleigh’s African American visitors during segregation. Originally named the Lewis Hotel, the two-story brick veneer building had a hipped roof and a two-story recessed front porch. It had 26 guest rooms, a shoeshine parlor, and a cafeteria.

Several notable jazz, big band, and gospel musicians stayed at the hotel while on tour, including Cab Calloway’s, Louis Armstrong’s, and Nat King Cole’s bands, Erskine Hawkins, Louis Jordan, Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, and Fats Waller. The hotel was a welcome sight to weary travelers during the Jim Crow era, as it (along with the Lightner Arcade and Hotel) was one of a handful of hotels catering to blacks in the southeast. After Mrs. Lewis’s death in 1948, it was renamed the Deluxe Hotel. A fire destroyed the building in 1992.

Raleigh Historic Landmarks (RHLs)

On October 3, Raleigh City Council adopted ordinances for 4 new Raleigh Historic Landmarks. READ MORE

Historic Overlay Districts (HODs)

Oberlin Village is being considered as a General Historic Overlay District (HOD-G).  READ MORE

 

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Certificates of Appropriateness (COAs)

Deadline dates for the 2017 COA meetings have changed!  The revised schedule and deadlines document has been posted here.