The Atwater-Perry House is an excellent example of a late-nineteenth century, middle-class dwelling. The house is significant for its association with two middle-class black families in Raleigh. William Atwater, a grocer, bought the ca. 1898 single-story rental at 904 E. Hargett Street and moved in with his family. The Atwaters were the first owner-occupants of the house and the first black owners and residents. After Atwater’s death in 1924, his daughter and her husband William Perry bought the house and remodeled it into a two-story Foursquare. The foursquare is a house type that can accommodate a variety of architectural modes; in this case, the porch posts, shingle siding, and exposed rafter tails show the influence of the Craftsman style. The type gets its name from the interior arrangement, which accommodates four rooms in a roughly square plan at each story. William Perry was Raleigh’s first black mail carrier, a position he held for about thirty years. The house stayed in the Atwater and Perry families for the better part of a century. The land was also the site of the first state fairgrounds, established in 1853. When the fair moved to West Raleigh in 1872, the land was subdivided for residential development.
c. 1898, c. 1924, c. 1945