Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

The Andrews-Duncan House—Back From The Brink

Andrews-Duncan House, 9 September 2018. 8x10 tintype by author.

Andrews-Duncan House, 9 September 2018. 8×10 tintype by author.

The long-languishing Andrews-Duncan House at 407 North Blount Street may have shed its last window screen, tossed its last corbel, and dropped its last roof slate. After years on the market, the State of North Carolina has a pending buyer for this property. The new owner plans to restore the house and what is even better… No wedding venue, office, or event space here—incredibly, the new owner intends to live in the seven bedroom, six bathroom, 10,000-plus square-foot mansion.

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Goodnight, Raleigh Boy.

Karl Larson c. 2017 Photo by Jillian Clark

Karl Larson c. 2017 Photo by Jillian Clark

Dear Goodnight Raleigh readers,

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the June 30, 2018 passing of Karl Edward Larson, known to readers and friends alike as Raleigh Boy. He battled a brief illness with optimism and strength.

Karl came of age in the 1960s, a time of energetic and abrupt transition in Raleigh. Citizens watched as the city changed—some with anger, some with hope. Karl was able to view the changes in an historical perspective. Perhaps influenced by his father’s love of history, he recognized at a young age that the new construction, urban renewal and demolition of historic Raleigh homes and buildings were worth documenting—and document he did. He rode the streets of Raleigh by bike with his Kodak Instamatic camera, snapping photographs of his changing city. He recorded the growth, destruction, stagnation, rot and every crack in between. In so doing, he formed a bond with his hometown that would never waver.

Raleigh was Karl’s primal landscape–the benchmark on which he compared all others. He devoted countless hours to studying Raleigh’s history; filing away not only names and dates, but astute historical analysis peppered with the right amount of perspective, imagination and curiosity.

Lt. Walsh Day group portrait, 13 April 2018. Black glass ambrotype by author.

Lt. Walsh Day group portrait, 13 April 2018. Black glass ambrotype by author.

Those of you who had the pleasure of his company know of his humble and kind nature, engaging conversation and unmistakable laugh–a sometimes quite raucous “YUK, yuk, yuk!” often accompanied by “Lordy mercy!” or “Girl, I swear!” It was rare that I saw Karl in a state anything short of a decent mood.  His infectious conviviality earned him many friends. I considered him my best friend, but he wasn’t the type to choose favorites. In addition to friendship, Karl taught me volumes of Raleigh history, but what he didn’t teach me, I learned myself using skills he taught me about research, how to objectively and fairly perceive and analyze the past, and how to notice and remember details.

For nearly a decade, Karl’s posts on Goodnight Raleigh have entertained and educated many thousands. Thankfully, that will continue as his voice lives on in written word. His legacy and monument lie in the great numbers of people he touched through friendship, educated and instilled within a stronger sense of place.

Goodnight, Raleigh Boy. Requiescat in pace.

You can read more about Karl’s life here: https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article214803170.html

The Carolina Oxypathor Company

N_53_16_4749 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

Pictured is the office of the Carolina Oxypathor Co. located at 124 W. Martin Street c. 1913, just a few doors down from the original News and Observer building. The photograph above was likely taken for an advertisement.

Oxypathor—It already sounds bogus, right? Well, your suspicions are well-founded. In the early 1900s, as the marvels of electricity continued to permeate the everyday lives of Americans, the science behind electricity was a mystery to most people—it was magic. This presented a lucrative opportunity for quacks and charlatans across a variety of fields.

N_53_17_519

Women are seen inside the office of the Carolina Oxypathor Co. N.53.17.519 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

One quack in particular, E. L. Moses of Buffalo, NY, developed the Oxypathor in 1910. This device consisted of a piece of tubular shaped metal filled with sand while its attached wires were fitted to a person’s wrists and ankles. The metal part sat in a bowl of water while the “patient” enjoyed the benefits of large quantities of oxygen absorbed through the skin. The Oxypathor claimed to heal a variety of conditions including disorders of the blood, pneumonia, typhoid fever, etc.

 

Oxypathor device seen in display case at NC State Fair. N.53.16.4746 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

Oxypathor device seen in display case at NC State Fair.
N.53.16.4746 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

In reality it was a better paper weight. A 1914 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, “The Oxypathor belongs in the same class as the left hind foot of a rabbit caught in a graveyard in the dark of the moon.” The device retailed for $35 and cost just over $1 to manufacture. The company was basically printing money. Between 1909 and 1914 approximately 45,000 units were sold for a profit of over one million dollars—around 30 million in today’s dollars. In 1914 criminal proceedings were brought against E. L. Moses and he served an 18 month prison sentence. The fate of the proprietor running the Raleigh location is unknown, but surely karma caught up with him.

 

The Easter Blizzard of 1915

N.53.15.4971 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

N.53.15.4971 From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.

Pictured is Morgan Street looking west at its intersection with Boylan Avenue. The large house seen on the left is roughly the same location as present-day Planned Parenthood. The house seen on the right (704 West Morgan Street) is extant, although modified. Likely sometime in the 1950s it gained asbestos siding and lost its porch. Thankfully, its Italianate eave brackets remain to this day.

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Incredibly, this photograph wasn’t taken in the icy grips of winter—it was taken in spring, Easter Sunday of 1915 to be exact, after a destructive and record breaking weather event that crippled North Carolina and several other states. The front page of the News and Observer read, “Raleigh Flounesed [sic] In Grasp of Its Greatest Blizzard.” It was the deepest snow seen so late in spring and it decimated North Carolina’s electrical and communications infrastructure—toppling telegraph, telephone and power poles. The streetcars halted and the Edison bulbs dimmed as a result of high winds and wet snow falling continuously for over 17 hours. The newly formed Carolina Power and Light was the supplier of the juice and tasked with restoring service. To begin surveying the damage in Raleigh, CP&L sent employees and a photographer (possibly Cyrus P. Wharton or Manly Tyree) out to document the damage and cut live wires. They set out from the central substation at Method Road and headed east on Hillsborough Street, making photographs and surveying the destruction.

The entire series of photographs taken that day can be seen here. This photograph was the last of the series to be identified, being confirmed just last week using the 1914 Sanborn Insurance map and a healthy amount of study. In fact, there is an early historical marker in this photo. Can anyone spot it?


Discuss Raleigh

  • Recent Comments:

    • matt: Great job Ian!
    • Bruce: Thanks, Ian. Don’t stop with this property — there are many more needing attnetion.
    • Cliff Ayscue: I had a great uncle names W E Jones that worked at Trailways in Raleigh for many years. I think from...
    • Jim: Great news for a great house!
    • Kimberly Andersen: Magnificent!!! Thank you for the fascinating history of this house. I am so happy the house will...
    • Gene: Thank you for this amazing write up! So freaking cool!
    • Matthew Brown: Wonderful wonderful article, Ian!! And fabulous old photographs!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
    • LJG: Robin Trower had some of the best guitar face I’ve ever seen. Was at the stage for one of his shows in...


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