Raleigh North Carolina’s Blount Street Historic District
We were in Raleigh, North Carolina, two years ago for our nephew’s wedding. It was a treat to do a walking tour of Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood District and Blount Street Historic District. This is a brief photo tour of some of the homes I loved in the Blount Street Historic District. If you are like me, I find it educational and fun to view beautiful historic homes. We can always dream.
The neighborhood known today as the Blount Street Historic District was once a rural area outside of the city of Raleigh. During the period between the Civil War and WWI, it became the city’s most fashionable neighborhood filled with mansions of prominent Raleigh citizens, including social activists, railroad tycoons and industrialists.
The Second Empire Heck-Andrews House at 309 North Blount Street was the first substantial home built on the street after the Civil War. It was designed by G.S.H. Appleget and constructed for Confederate Colonel Jonathan McGee Heck. The impressive house features a dramatic mansard patterned slate roof, three-story tower and ornate window surrounds. It set the tone for construction of similar large homes on the street.
Fannie Exile Scudder Heck, writer and missionary for the underprivileged, called 309 North Blount Street home. She was the second of 10 surviving children whose father, Colonel Jonathan McGee Heck, served in the Confederate Army and was taken prisoner for a time. Living during that period in Richmond, Virginia, the colonel moved the family to Raleigh when he realized fighting soon would be approaching Richmond. Fannie was born during this period of “exile,” thus her middle name.
Previously owned by the State of North Carolina, which restored its dilapidated exterior, the structure is currently being converted by the North Carolina Association of Realtors for office use and first floor venue space.
301 North Blount Street’s Andrews-London House is a Georgian-Revival style brick home designed by James A. Salter in 1918. It features beautiful interior wainscot paneling and arched doorways with pedimented moldings.
Another beautiful home at Blount and Polk.
G. S. H. Appleget designed this symmetrical Italianate home in 1874 for Confederate Captain Alexander B. Andrews. Appleget also designed the Second Empire Heck-Andrews House above, and although a much different style than that house, there are some similarities. Note the similarities in the decorative porch posts, window surrounds and ornamented brackets.
Andrews became an orphan by age 12 and went to live with his uncle, a railroad developer. Young Andrews worked in the Blue Ridge Railway in South Carolina until he enlisted in the Confederate Calvary. He fought in many of Northern Virginia’s campaigns of 1862 and 1863. The most noteworthy battle in which he participated was the attack and repulse of United States gunboats near Hamilton, a rare battle between naval and cavalry units. He was shot through a lung in 1864 and was forced to retire from service. Andrews then became a financier and railroad magnate who managed the completion of the Western North Carolina Railroad, a difficult feat both financially and geographically.
The house was owned by the state and was used as offices but currently lies vacant and looks sad and forlorn.
310 North Blount
The Hawkins-Harness House was built in 1882 as a surprise gift by Dr. William J. Hawkins for his brother and sister-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. Alexander B. Hawkins. Mrs. Hawkins added the ninety-two-foot Eastlake verandah to soften the red brick facade. Mrs. Annie Sloan Hartness, wife of James A. Hartness, the North Carolina Secretary of State from 1929 to 1931, purchased the home in 1928.
William Joseph Hawkins, grandson of Revolutionary War Colonel Philamon Hawkins II and son of a large plantation owner, was a medical doctor, railroad financier and bank director. At one point he owned 25 slaves, and in 1869 was accused of plotting to defraud the North Carolina Railroad.
The Hawkins-Harness House now serves as the offices of the Lieutenant Governor. Its interior features stunning hardwood cabinetry built by Philadelphia craftsmen.
200 North Blount