Oakwood timeline

1788 to 1916

At the time of the Civil War, what is now Oakwood was the northeastern outskirts of the small town of Raleigh. It was woods and fields, and became a campground for Sherman’s Union troops in April of 1865. In the 1870s and 1880s, Oakwood’s development began. By the 1890s, Oakwood was a fashionable suburb, with horse-drawn streetcars leading downtown. In the early 20th century, Oakwood reached its apogee, with streets paved in “Belgian blocks." Streetcars and streetlights were electrified.

1916

The brick Murphey School building is built.

1934

The streetcar system is shut down and bus service begins.

1937

Krispy Kreme opens a doughnut bakery at 304 Pace Street.

1945

After World War II, the automobile allowed for more suburban-style development, and Oakwood became downright unfashionable. Most of the wealthier families moved out, and their old houses were made into apartments or rooming houses. Dilapidation set in.

1950

The Oakwood Garden Club is organized with 15 charter members. This is the first documented use of "Oakwood" as the name of the neighborhood.

1960

The Murphey School becomes the first racially integrated school in Raleigh, when William Campbell enrolls as its first black student.

1965

The State Capital Planning Commission adopts a plan proposing a north-south expressway running between Bloodworth and East Streets. It notes the State Highway Commission and the City of Raleigh are undertaking a major transportation study. In addition to the highway, the plan proposes lakes and park-like grounds near the Legislative Building and Governor's Mansion.

1969

The Murphey School closes due to low enrollment.

1971

The North Carolina Medical Society builds its new headquarters at 222 N. Person Street, after demolishing three historic houses on the site. Five more historic houses are eventually demolished to accommodate a parking lot and side yard.

October 5, 1972

The City of Raleigh announces a plan for a North-South Expressway, which would obliterate Oakwood between East and Bloodworth Streets. This road is part of Raleigh's Thoroughfare Plan, which had been adopted in 1967.

October 19, 1972

The first Oakwood neighborhood meeting is held at the Emmanuel Pentecostal Holiness Church on Polk Street. A petition stating opposition to the expressway had been circulated and 1034 signatures were obtained. A committee is appointed to develop articles of incorporation and bylaws.

October 26, 1972

A nominating committee is appointed to recommend a slate of officers.

November 1, 1972

The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood (SPHO) is incorporated.

November 11, 1972

With 80 people in attendance, officers and directors of the SPHO are elected.

November 20, 1972

Raleigh City Council approves the revitalization plan minus the North-South Expressway; this does not kill the expressway plan, but gives Oakwood a temporary reprieve.

December 15, 1972

The first Oakwood Candlelight Tour is held.

April 13, 1973

Meredith College presents the Oakwood Project, featuring interviews with older Oakwood residents and case studies of blocks of Oakwood homes.

June 3, 1974

Oakwood is designated a National Register Historic District. The original district extends south to the rear of the properties on the south side of E. Jones Street, north to the rear of the properties on the north side of N. Boundary Street, east to the center of Linden Avenue and Oakwood Cemetery, inclusive, and west to the center of N. Person Street, plus 401 and 403 N. Person Street.

June 4, 1974

Raleigh City Council votes unanimously against the North-South Expressway, although it remains in the Raleigh Thoroughfare Plan for two more years.

May 1975

Garland Tucker donates The Tucker House to the City, and it is moved from 420 N. Blount Street to 418 N. Person Street to avoid demolition by the State for a parking lot. It is to be used as an Oakwood-Mordecai meeting house.

June 3, 1975

The Raleigh City Council designates Oakwood as the first Raleigh local historic district.

Late 1975

The State announces it will not tear down any more houses on N. Blount and N. Person Streets, until a plan is in place.

1976

The Oakwood Garden Club establishes a park at the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Linden Avenue, which would later be named Vallie Henderson Park.

October 1979

Raleigh, represented by Ira Botvinick, won ASP Associates v. Raleigh, which upheld the historic district ordinance. This is an extremely important case to historic districts across North Carolina.

February 1981

The SPHO embarks on its first "revolving fund" project, purchasing and renovating 217 Linden Avenue.

June 1984

The Oakwood Inn opens at 411 N. Bloodworth Street. It had been purchased, renovated and furnished by a group of Oakwood neighbors.

October 1984 - June 1985

The SPHO teamed with the owners of the then dilapidated 411 Elm Street to market the property for sale and protect it from demolition.

July 1984 - February 1986

The SPHO purchased the burned property at 200 Elm Street and resold the property to a developer to build a new home on the lot.

August 1986 - April 1987

A short term loan was provided by the SPHO to renovate 225 Linden Avenue until the property was renovated and qualified for traditional bank financing.

October 11, 1987

The Oakwood National Register Historic District is expanded to include properties on the east side of Linden Avenue.

November 4, 1987

The Oakwood National Register Historic District is expanded southward as far as the properties on the south side of E. Morgan Street (now Morson Street), between Person and East Streets.

May 2, 1988

The Oakwood National Register Historic District is expanded northward as far as properties on both sides of E. Franklin Street, west to properties on west side of N. Bloodworth Street almost as far as Sasser Street, and east to Watauga Street.

November 6, 1990

The SPHO purchases the lot at the corner of N. East and N. Boundary Streets, and begins the creation of a city park, The Oakwood Common, which is dedicated in 1993.

June - December 1993

The rooming house at 111 N. Bloodworth Street was purchased by the SPHO. Minor modifications were made the home to make it more marketable as a single family home. The property was listed and sold in six months at the price the SPHO paid for the property.

October 1995 - February 1997

218 Elm Street was purchased by the SPHO and resold at a small loss with the covenant that the home, which was divided into 4 small apartments, be reverted back to a single family home by the purchaser.

August 1999 - July 2000

216 N. Bloodworth Street was in great disrepair and divided into multiple apartments. The SPHO purchased the property and immediately resold at a small loss to a developer for renovation with the covenant that the property be converted back to single family and that the SPHO would have to approve any exterior changes.

August 2006 - April 2008

The SPHO partnered with Prado Construction to move the hose at 620 N. Boylan Avenue, which was slated for demolition. The home was moved to a lot at 207 Linden Avenue which had been the extended back yard of 547 E. Jones St.. Prado renovated the house and the house sold for slightly more than the cost of acquisition, moving and renovation.

August 2012 - June 2014

516 E. Jones Street suffered a catastrophic fire on April 18, 2012. The insurance on the property would not have covered the cost of restoration, only demolition and rebuild (which was cheaper). To save the second oldest house in Oakwood, the SPHO made a small loan to help cover the owner's cost of restoration. Once renovations were complete, the loan was repaid when the home qualified for traditional bank financing.