If you’ve driven down Hillsborough Street towards downtown, then you’ve gone past the old Staudt Bakery at the Hillsborough/Morgan Street split. This nondescript art moderne-styled building from the 1940s has sat vacant for around 50 years.
This sprawling yellow-brick structure is bounded by Ashe Avenue and Hillsborough, Morgan, and Whitley Streets. It once produced bread, cakes, and pastries and employed a fleet of delivery trucks to bring these baked goods to residential and commercial destinations around Raleigh.
Although the history of this building dates back almost 70 years, The Staudt Bakery started around the turn of the century at a still-standing residential structure at the corner of East Hargett and Haywood Streets.
A 1910 publication from the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce gives more information on the bakery first started in 1895:
This bakery is owned and controlled by F.G. Staudt, an expert baker himself and a man who employs none but skillful and cleanly assistants in his work. His bakehouse is splendidly fitted with modern ovens, dough mixers, kneaders, etc., and everything turned out of this establishment is guaranteed clean, pure, and wholesome.
The bulk of the business consists in making and baking of bread which is delivered to all parts of the city daily by Mr. Staudt’s own delivery wagons, of which he has three. In addition to the home trade, Mr. Staudt sells a great deal at wholesale, supplying the retail dealers throughout the city, and shipping to outside points. Purity of ingredients, accurateness in making and baking, and prompt and courteous attention to customers are the main points on which Mr. Staudt’s success is based, and his business is steadily and rapidly increasing.
He is a native of Germany, coming to this country twenty-six years ago. He learned his trade in Baltimore, moving to Raleigh twenty-two years ago, the last fifteen of which have been devoted to the bakery business. Fraternal life knows him well, as he is an active member of the Royal Arcanum and a number of local organizations. He is a member of the Merchants Association and a keen supporter of Raleigh’s best interests.
— 1910 Raleigh Illustrated, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Although the exact date of the end of Staudt’s Bakery is unclear, it’s clear from the photos here that the building has sat derelict for a very long time. I’ve often walked by and wondered how such a structure can sit in such a valuable piece of real estate unused, for so long.
Turns out that this sprawling complex of a building was part of a deal between bankrupt Bolton Corp. and a Charlotte real estate company in 2007:
The three Bolton brothers with an interest in the former mechanical, electrical and plumbing concern are selling 18 parcels of about five acres that front Morgan and several neighboring streets near Hillsborough Street. The properties are being sold by Bolton Properties and Harrison Avenue Partnership, two entities created by brothers Michael, Douglas and William Bolton.
The properties, a collection of light-industrial sites and vacant buildings, were put on the market in early 2004. Though coveted by apartment developers, the properties failed to fetch a buyer at the original $8 million price.
For two and a half years this Charlotte-based company has sat on this tract of land and quietly accumulated other nearby parcels. This is the same company that assembled the land used for the stadiums where the Charlotte Bobcats and Carolina Panthers play.
They also own the old Esso Station on the corner of Boylan Avenue and Hillsborough Street.
This property occupies a very unique space – almost exactly halfway between Downtown Raleigh and NC State University. The latter consisting of around 40,000 people, including faculty and staff.
While it’s almost certain that this vacant structure and those around it will be coming down in the not too distant future, what will replace them is still a source of speculation amongst Cameron Park and West Morgan St. residents.
Stay tuned for more commentary on the West Morgan Street community area.