Antebellum & Civil War, 1831-1865

A government town grows with the establishment of several enduring institutions

Raleigh's growth in this period included a small expansion of its city limits, the development of the commercial district along Fayetteville Street, the establishment of several surviving churches and schools, and the construction of the new State Capitol building, which still stands.

The State Capitol and several substantial houses surviving from this period reflect the emergence and sustained popularity of the Greek Revival architectural style during the antebellum years. The typically spare style features temple-front facades or porches, low-pitched rooflines, and broad proportions in contrast to the narrower, more upright feeling of the earlier Federal style.

Retail development remained local in nature, serving residents and those traveling to the capital for government business. While no retail buildings and few commercial or industrial structures survive from this era, period descriptions and images show that the blocks of Fayetteville Street immediately south of Union Square were changing from residential in nature to commercial.

The railroad also came to Raleigh during this period; the coming of the iron horse was a transformative event in any community. In Raleigh, however, surviving architectural resources related to the railroad are more common in later periods of development.

Rogers-Bagley-Daniels-Pegues House

This two-story Greek Revival frame building has distinctive Italianate accents. The house was associated with a series of leading figures in local, state, and national history including congressman Sion H. Rogers, legislator William Henry Bagley,…

The Boylan Mansion (Montford Hall)

The Italianate-style plantation home of prominent citizen William Montford Boylan is a landmark at the northern entrance to the Boylan Heights Historic District. Designed by English architect William Percival, the house features deep bracketed eaves,…

St. Mary's School

Saint Mary's School, Raleigh's oldest private educational institution for girls, was founded in 1842, following the failure of an Episcopal school for boys established on this site around 1834. Today's campus covers approximately 160…

East And West Rocks

East Rock (1834) and West Rock (1835) were built of stone discarded during the construction of the second State Capitol. The twin buildings flank Smedes Hall, the school's main building; enclosed walkways connect the three buildings. Date: …

Smedes Hall

Smedes Hall is a three-and one-half story Greek Revival brick building. Originally built for the boys' school and called Main Hall, Smedes was renamed in honor of the Reverend Aldert Smedes, first rector and president of Saint Mary's…

Chapel, St. Mary's School

Designed by English-born architect Richard Upjohn, this small board-and-batten Carpenter Gothic chapel graces the campus with its beauty and simplicity. The main gable contains a cartwheel rose window above an entrance hood supported by curved…

Old Raleigh Post Office (Early Office Building)

This small frame building is a rare surviving example of Raleigh's antebellum Greek Revival commercial architecture. The beaded siding, heart-pine flooring, and early mantels remain intact. Moved several times, the Raleigh Historic Districts…

Peace College, Main Building

Peace Institute, chartered in 1857, was named for William Peace, who contributed eight acres and $10,000 toward the establishment of a Presbyterian school for girls. The Main Building is an impressive Greek Revival structure with Italianate accents.…

Lewis-Smith House

The Lewis-Smith house is an excellent example of the Greek Revival style, featuring a two-story pedimented portico supported by Doric columns on the first level and Ionic columns on the second. Moved from its original location on North Wilmington…

Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Building

One of the city's earliest surviving office buildings, the three-story brick Seaboard Building served as railroad offices for more than a hundred years. The building, which has a restrained Italianate design, originally stood on N. Halifax…

State Capitol

Built to replace the original capitol, which burned in 1831, this National Historic Landmark is one of America's most important neoclassical structures. Three outstanding nineteenth century architects, Alexander Jackson, Ithiel Town, and David…

First Baptist Church

Designed by English architect William Percival, First Baptist Church is a variant of the Gothic Revival style. The church is a symmetrical brick structure stuccoed and scored to give the appearance of stone. The building features an entrance tower…

Christ Episcopal Church

English-born architect Richard Upjohn, founder of the American Institute of Architects, designed this granite church in the early English parish style of Gothic architecture. The church features a Latin-cross plan and a stone bell tower, completed…

Richard B. Haywood House

Richard B. Haywood, a founder of the North Carolina Medical Society, designed this Greek Revival brick townhouse, also known as Crabapple. Its outstanding feature is the superb Doric-order porch. The house is the last surviving dwelling in the…

Cameron-Maynard-Gatling House

This one-story, wood frame house with a hipped roof is one of the oldest homes in the Oakwood Historic District and is depicted in an 1872 birds-eye view map of the city. Described as both Greek Revival and vernacular, its simple design, in contrast…

Henry Porter House

This frame house, built for prominent mid-nineteenth-century merchant Henry Porter, features a two-story pedimented porch and a low-pitched hip roof, typical features of Raleigh's surviving Greek Revival dwellings. Private residence. Date: …

O'Rorke Catholic Cemetery

Prominent layman John O’Rorke donated land to the Catholic Diocese for this cemetery, the oldest historic resource in the city associated with Raleigh’s Catholic community. Established at a time when prevailing Protestant thought often made life…

Oak View

Oak View, a late-antebellum family farm of nearly a thousand acres, includes a mid-nineteenth century I-house with Greek Revival details known as the Williams-Wyatt-Poole House. The original two-story pedimented portico with paneled columns and…

Pine Hall

Built ca. 1841 by Jeremiah Dunn, Pine Hall was part of a thousand-acre antebellum farm. The house resembles its contemporary, Oak View, as a mid-nineteenth century I-house embellished with Greek Revival details including a double portico. Like Oak…

Alpheus Jones House

This stately but unpretentious frame house was built in the Greek Revival style on 680 acres given to Alpheus Jones by his father Seth Jones, who served in the House of Commons from 1814 to 1819. The two-story hip-roofed house features a two-story…