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

Moving a Monument

The Relocation of Raleigh’s Merrimon-Wynne House

On Saturday movers will relocate the historic Merrimon-Wynne House to a site about two blocks from where it has rested for more than 130 years. This will be the largest structure in Raleigh to be moved since the 3-story, solid brick Raleigh and Gaston  (later, Seaboard) Railroad office building made a similar trip in 1976. (The Seaboard building was relocated to accommodate construction of the Halifax Mall — but that is another story.)

Although it had been awkwardly sitting up on blocks for the past few weeks, the boldly-ornamented Italianate villa still maintained a grand presence over the surrounding area. When it was originally built in the early 1870s the Merrimon House commanded the entire block and presented itself as a symbol of gracious Southern living. Even as Blount Street developed into a neighborhood of large, stylish Victorian homes during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Merrimon House continued to exert its elegant prominence.

 

The Merrimon-Wynne House as it appeared in1968, in its original setting under a canopy of magnificent oaks.

The Merrimon House will join two other historic Raleigh landmarks that were moved to Blount Street when the entire neighborhood between Wilmington and Salisbury was cleared for the state government Mall (Again, — another story!)

These are the antebellum Lewis-Smith House (ca 1855) and the fanciful Queen Anne-styled Capehart House (1898). At their original sites, the Lewis-Smith House and Merrimon House faced each other across Wilmington Street, and the Capehart House was just up the block. There is a certain irony here, for after more than 30 years of separation, these three architectural jewels will once again be neighbors. I just hope the magnificent oaks that remain in the Merrimon House yard can be preserved, as they certainly can’t be moved, too!

The Lewis-Smith House, being moved to Blount Street in 1974.

A view of the Merrimon House, across the street from the just-moved Lewis-Smith House. You can see the remains of its stone foundation in the foreground.

 

The Capehart House at its original location on Wilmington Street. This view is from about 1972.

 


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