By The Honest Carpenter / Ethan Daniel James / 11/25/2018
Downtown Raleigh’s historic districts are packed with stunning homes that display a wealth of architectural styles. This article from The Honest Carpenter and Lisa Ellis and Company will highlight seven Raleigh homes that you can’t miss. And better yet, you can find them all within blocks of each other on historic North Blount Street!
1. Capehart Crocker House
The Capehart Crocker House at 424 North Blount Street is an eye-catcher. Designed in the asymmetrical Queen Anne style, it’s slate tile roof and multiple turrets and towers give it a castle appeal that stands out vividly on a North Carolina street.
Remarkably, this entire structure was once uprooted from its original foundations on 403 N Wilmington St. and moved to its current location!
Directly next door to the Capehart Crocker house, at 422 North Blount Street, sits the Lee House. With its Neoclassical Revival themes, the Lee House definitely looks at home in a southern city like Raleigh.
Multiple Ionic columns support a wraparound porch that provides breezy shade on every side of the home, while the elaborate portico-style dormer gives it an austere look. With its double chimneys and domed center windows, the Lee House is both imposing and inviting.
3. Higgs-Coble-Helms House
Sporting a red metal roof (the only one to be found on Blount St), the Higgs-Coble-Helms House at 417 North Blount Street has a vaguely Italianate feel thanks to its tall, narrow windows with pediment crowns.
The HCH House was extremely well restored at one point, and is now home to the Fischer Clinic. Be sure to peer behind the front yard foliage to catch a glimpse of the unique main gable decoration. The spire piercing through the roof overhang is an especially cool touch!
4. Hawkins-Hartness House
The Hawkins-Hartness House at 310 North Blount Street serves as the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Designed in the Eastlake style, the H-H House is probably most recognizable for the complex hip roof on its four-story tower, and the even more elaborate gables of the second-story octagonal turret.
Heavy stone lintels doll up the otherwise uniform red brick façade. It’s said that the lady of the house, Mrs. Hawkins, requested that the sprawling verandah be added after initial construction to tone down the severity of the H-H House’s appeal. Seems to have worked!
5. Heck-Andrews House
Easily the most impressive of the Blount Street homes, the Heck-Andrews House (309 N. Blount) would do itself justice in any city around the world. Containing both Renaissance and Baroque roots, the H-A House was one of the first great homes to be built in Raleigh after the Civil War.
Admiration for this carpentry marvel could fill a book, but most notable amongst its features are the alternating mansard roofs — concave on the upper story; convex on the tower above with its balustrade crown. Just stand in front of this thing sometime and marvel at the flawless trimwork and ornamentation!
6. Executive Mansion
Harder to glimpse due to its continuous gate-and-fence boundary, the Executive Mansion (200 N. Blount) is more commonly known as the Governor’s residence. Though its Queen Anne quaintness is somewhat diminished by its sheer size, the Executive Mansion really is another architectural masterpiece.
Much has been written about this house, but I believe the details of its construction are the most interesting part of its story. The Executive Mansion, including surrounding walls and sidewalks, was built by prisoner labor. And nearly all materials it contains (clay, stone, lumber) were procured from North Carolina sources.
7. Andrews-Duncan House
Last, and my personal favorite, is the faded glory of Blount Street, the Andrews-Duncan House (407 N. Blount.) Every historic district needs a house that exhibits both grandeur and the ravages of time, and the A-D House does just that!
Another home of Italianate design, the A-D House boasts paired corbels beneath the deep eaves, and dome-shaped hoodmolds over the windows. In the backyard, you’ll find a stone commemorating a mighty oak under which Henry Clay once destroyed his political career by penning a letter against the annexation of Texas.
I know they’ll one day get around to restoring this place – but I hope they let it stand in its gothic charm just a little while longer!
Whether you’re just visiting Raleigh, or looking to make a permanent home here, be sure to make a journey to North Blount Street to check out these residential marvels. And while you’re at it, skip a few blocks over and stroll through the nearby historic Oakwood neighborhood. When you see its bounty of older homes, many of them lovingly restored, you may not want to leave!
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Ethan Daniel James is a Homeowner Consultant and professional carpenter in Raleigh, NC. In 2018, he founded TheHonestCarpenter.com, an online service helping people nationwide get their most important home-related questions answered by a trade expert. Just visit The Honest Carpenter to reach out to him or book a consultation!