Our Past Has Potential


Most of us walk down the streets of Raleigh without once taking notice of the beautiful, historic buildings we pass by. The next time you walk past the Capitol Building, take a minute to really admire the Greek-revival architectural details including the honeysuckle crown atop the dome. 

When you're out at City Market on the weekend, maybe grabbing brunch at Big Ed's, think about how those cobblestone streets were once the gathering place for visiting farmers selling their goods and picnicking with their family and friends. If you should find yourself at the historic Merrimon-Wynne house for an event, think about how from the year 1919 to 1934, it served as a girl's dormitory for Peace College.

These historic buildings in Raleigh are rich with history and they serve as links to our past. They help keep alive the memories and the fascinating stories of people long gone- these are the stories that make up our collective cultural history. Not only do they keep us connected with our past, historically significant buildings also add to Raleigh's cultural, economic, and environmental well-being. For example, adaptive reuse, the process of reusing old buildings for something other than their original purpose, can conserve land and reduce urban sprawl. It also means we use fewer building materials and reduce waste in our landfills.

I want to take some time to address the historic preservation movement in our community and some of its successes and challenges, which is why I am hosting a panel discussion with some of Raleigh's most dedicated preservationists such as: Mary Ruffin Hanbury, Ed Morris, and Myrick Howard. The discussion will cover a range of issues pertaining to the role historic preservation has played in Raleigh's resurgence and how it will be a part of our city's future.

I believe, with a little imagination and vision, our historic buildings can play as big of a role in our future as they did in our past.


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