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About askmisterbrown

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  1. askmisterbrown

    Rosengarten Park

    What a wonderful project! The web site is impressive. These folks really seem to appreciate the charming character of that little neighborhood, and want to restore it to historic standards. I hope the city gives them time to do it. It would be a shame to tear it all down. I wouldn't call City Space slumlords. They did not divide their old houses into apartments; they bought old houses that had been divided into apartments many years earlier. Many were purchased from Shrader Properties, a sort of slumlord who mostly rented to hippies, many of whom were (still are) friends of mine. The hippies reviled Shrader, but where would they have lived without Shrader? City Space bought a lot of Shrader's houses. Some they continued renting as is, some they did some work on, some they restored and put up for sale. I can't fault them for any of this. They have provided affordable rentals, mostly for good people. Their houses have not been crack houses or whorehouses, to my knowledge. They are now transitioning from providing affordable rentals to creating affordable homes to purchase, all without taxpayer assistance. I wish them great success!
  2. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    You're right, Jones, the Ellen Mordecai house clearly faced N. Boundary St. It must have been a brand new street, as it does not appear on the 1872 Drie bird's-eye view. By the way, N. Boundary St., often called just Boundary St., was originally "North Boundary" St., with the emphasis on the first word. The old directories spell it out as North Boundary, whereas they abbreviate N. Blount, N. Person, N. Bloodworth, etc. There was a South Boundary St., but of course they were not connected, and both ran east-west.
  3. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    You have a good eye, Jones. The two houses you mention do look antebellum, but they were actually built shortly after the war. As Raleigh was always at least ten years behind architecturally, it makes sense. 318 N. Boundary St., the Ellen Mordecai house, was built around 1874. It is in the North Carolina vernacular style, with Greek Revival details. The Greek Revival was already out of fashion by 1874. Ellen Mordecai was the daughter of Moses Mordecai, the prominent landowner and lawyer. The house originally faced Person St., on the northeast corner of N. Boundary St. It was moved to its current location in 1934 by Carlyle Sykes, who nearly lost control of it going down that steep hill. 530 E. Jones St., the Andrew Syme House, was built around 1875. It is also in the North Carolina vernacular style, but with
  4. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    The Theophilus Snow house at 6 N. Bloodworth St. dates to about 1840. It originally faced New Bern Ave., and had a large front yard. Elizabeth Love turned it to its present orientation around 1915 when she built her new house on the NE corner of New Bern & Bloodworth. Here is a photo from wakegov:;pin=1703898286
  5. askmisterbrown

    Blount Street Commons

    A reporter for the Oakwood News contacted LNR about the rumor that LNR was selling its options on phases 3 and 4 (the blocks south of Polk St.) and the LNR rep denied it. However, LNR's timetable for purchasing those blocks has been extended for up to five years. In return, the state can still use the parking lots. The alley will serve as the front of the carriage houses, since the other sides of them are the back yards of the "big houses." What seems slightly strange to me is that the alley is supposed to serve as the rear of the row houses -- they front on the little green area between them and the row of buildings that will face Person St. So the fronts of the carriage houses will face the backs of the row houses, and the fronts of the row houses will face the backs of the buildings on Person St. Oh, well. I am still sanguine about the development; it will happen, only not so quick. It may change somewhat, and the changes might be improvements. Jones, I wondered what was up with that house behind Mountford Hall. What you say makes sense. That house looks as old as Mountford Hall, and the brick first floor sits right on ground level. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
  6. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    This was the magnificent Kline & Lazarus Department Store, at which was sold "Clothing, Dry Goods, Shoes, Hats, Gents' Furnishings and Ladies' Ready to Wear." At its peak, Kline & Lazarus occupied all the bays, plus the building on the corner of Hargett. I happen to know this because Jacob Kline lived in my house on E. Lane St. His business partner and brother-in-law Goodman Lazarus lived across the street. In the early 20th Century, the 500 and 600 blocks of E. Lane St. were called "Little Jerusalem" and were populated by Jewish merchants and their families, mostly immigrants from Eastern Europe. Bravo to Empire Properties for another wonderful project!
  7. askmisterbrown

    Dorothea Dix Property

    I agree that it would be great to have a botanical garden on Dix Hill. It is a much better site than the current site of the Raulston Arboretum, for a number of reasons: Dix has a beautiful landscape, with hills, flat areas, and a creek. The current Arboretum is mostly a large flat area, with no interesting landforms. Dix Hill is near downtown, near other attractions, and has great views. The current arboretum is in a light industrial area, next to the noisy Beltline, away from any other attractions, except of course for Neomonde. But the Arboretum, wonderful as it is, is only partly a show garden. It is also a place for the Horticulture school to experiment with plants and teach horticulture. Beauty, therefore, is a secondary object, unlike the more gorgeous Duke Gardens. At the Arboretum, wonderful plants are sometimes pulled up just to make room for new plants the school wants to try out. And while individual parts of the Arboretum are nicely designed, there never was much of an overall design for the place. Therefore, I believe that a Botanical Garden on Dix Hill would not replace the Arboretum, but supplement it, as a showplace for landscape design as well as horticulture.
  8. askmisterbrown

    Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center

    The proposed buildings look fabulous from Nash Square. But there are no renderings of the north side, and it looks like that side will get a minimal treatment. Technically, the north side will be the backs of the buildings, but that is the side people will see more often, as most of Raleigh is north of the project. In any case, I hope the project moves forward.
  9. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    Remember the Oak City Diner that used to be on Old Wake Forest Rd? And there is still the Oak City Baptist Church on Method Rd. Well, I was snooping around some Raleigh city directories from around 100 years ago, and found: the Oak City Mills (cornmeal), the Oak City Manufacturing Co. (clothing), the Oak City Steam Laundry, the Oak City Club, and even the Oak City Brass Band. I can only conclude that our nickname used to be "Oak City," which is much better than "City of Oaks," our current nickname. I wonder why it was changed? Perhaps someone thought "City of Oaks" more elegant (wrong criterion) or perhaps because there is actually an Oak City in Martin County, population 313 (too small). Let's go back to "Oak City!" A sampling of city nicknames: Durham
  10. askmisterbrown

    The Edison

    Amen, Jones! The philosophy of tear-it-all-down-and-start-over is not what I would consider progressive; it's a very 1950s mindset. Yes, back in the 50s they would save a landmark or two, but otherwise, all that "old stuff" had to go! The great cities all preserve their historic buildings. This includes not only colonial cities like Charleston and Baltimore, but cities that are newer than Raleigh, like Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Melbourne, Asheville. And saving a few landmarks aren't enough; if Raleigh becomes a mini-Charlotte or a landlocked Singapore, I'll just have to leave. A place that discards its history is not a healthy place, from my perspective. And aside from history, the "old stuff" just tends to be of better quality: better materials, better design, better craftsmanship. Even though 90% of the buildings in Raleigh were built since 1950, 90% of the finest buildings in Raleigh were built before 1950.
  11. askmisterbrown

    Person Street

    Hobby Properties have begun renovating the old shopping center at the corner of Franklin St. and Person St. Plans for demolition and redevelopment have been abandoned. But at least there will be some businesses here. They are going to renovate the four buildings around the corner facing Blount St. into nice duplexes, which is what they were built as. Meanwhile, five blocks north at the corner of Wake Forest Rd. and Chestnut St., the owners of the empty Blue Dolphin Motel are planning to renovate it into ten office suites of various sizes, from 196 square feet to 1164 square feet. Construction should begin this fall, and finish next summer.
  12. askmisterbrown

    Cameron Village Developments

    So true, one little ol
  13. askmisterbrown

    Cameron Village Developments

    While I am in favor of density, it is not an altar to be worshipped at. This site is just one block away from beautiful historic single-family homes that should be preserved. 13 stories and 290 units is too much. University Park and especially Cameron Park are among Raleigh's greatest treasures, and it is not in Raleigh's interest to threaten them. Clark Ave. to the west and Oberlin Rd. further north are two-lane roads with beautiful historic homes on both sides. These roads should not and cannot be widened. There are hundreds of sites inside the beltline on which a 13-story, 290- unit building would be appropriate; this is not one of them. As rjgeary states, the issue is precedent. The City can't say that a 13-story building is OK here, and the rest of the area is limited to 2 stories. The small-area plan was well thought out; it was adopted; it needs to be followed.
  14. askmisterbrown

    The History of the Triangle

    Great photos, DPK! It would be great if State would restore the tower on Tompkins Hall. State has so few outstanding historical buildings, they should not miss this opportunity to recreate one that was partially lost. Regarding Greg Hatem: He deserves every recognition he can get and more. He is Raleigh's MVC (most valuable citizen) as far as I'm concerned, for all his renovations and for the life and interest he has added to downtown.
  15. askmisterbrown

    Green Square & NCSECU HQ

    Chief, I agree with you about the skywalks, especially the skywalk over Salisbury St. The view south on Salisbury St. between the Natural Sciences Museum and the Credit Union is one of Raleigh's nicer vistas, with First Baptist, Wachovia, the old Education Bldg., etc. I would hate to see it messed up. I also don't see why so much money should be spent on skywalks just so people don't have to walk outside for 30 yards!