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

Hotel Wiley, Raleigh, N.C. (Located in residential section of city)

Wiley Hotel_web

This week Flashback Friday makes a quick stop at Raleigh’s Hotel Wiley. The old hotel itself is now long gone, but there is yet a tangible connection with the building’s first occupant and today’s Wake County Public Schools.

Wiley Hotel_back_web

Looks like Gigi was already with ‘Mother’ in Savannah before she got an opportunity to send this update back to New Jersey.

Trying to get rid of Mother’s cough in warm climate.

For Mother’s sake, I hope the warm climate cured her ‘cough.’

Raleigh’s Old Wiley

The Raleigh Public School System erected the ‘first’ Wiley School, a utilitarian, yet handsome building, at the corner of West and Morgan Sts. in 1900. It was named in honor of Calvin H. Wiley, North Carolina’s first superintendent of public instruction (1853-1865). The frame and slate-roofed building featured eight classrooms, an office suite, electric lights and a coal furnace for heat. There was a small playground in the back of the lot.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

Wiley School as it appeared about 1910. Note an unpaved Morgan St. and the horse and buggy parked out front.

Following WWI, the residential character of the neighborhood began to shift toward a more industrial and commercial presence. In 1923 a Coca-Cola Bottling plant opened up across West St. from Wiley on a block that had previously been entirely residential.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The Coca-Cola Bottling Plant on the corner of West and Morgan Sts., as it appeared in 1941. It stood at the foot of the Morgan Street Bridge. In the background is a glimpse of the Wiley Hotel.

Raleigh’s New Wiley

By 1923 ‘old’ Wiley School had long outgrown its eight-room schoolhouse on Morgan St. About this time, the school board contracted with architect Christopher Gadsden Sayre to design four modern, fire-proof buildings for the Raleigh public school system. These were Wiley, Thompson Elementary School, Hugh Morson High School, and Washington High School.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

Raleigh’s ‘new’ Wiley School was erected on Saint Mary’s St. in 1924, and still dominates its prominent site today.

Today, most everyone has heard of Wiley Elementary School — It is a model International Magnet Elementary School in the Wake County Public School System. It is also one of Raleigh’s oldest schools still serving its original purpose.

The Wiley Hotel Years — and After

After 1924 or so, the Wiley Hotel operated in the repurposed old school building for the next 20+ years. As such, the hotel probably served largely an overnight ‘traveling salesman’ clientele, given its proximity to Union Train Station, and later the Union Bus Station, also nearby.

Maybe a few overnight visitors, like our ‘Gigi’ and her mother stayed there too, in the early years at least. Their 1930 postcard shows cars parked out front, so maybe they drove from New Jersey.

The hotel certainly fell into decline after WWII, as by 1949 a US Post Office branch had been built on the site. The post office closed about 1970. That building remained vacant for many years, later renovated as various nightclubs a few times in the 1990s, and is now again vacant, I believe.


Our Flashback Friday ‘tinted-halftone’ postcard this week was published locally by the long-time Raleigh stationer, James E. Thiem. It was printed by the Curt Teich Co. of Chicago under the trade name ‘C.T. American Art.’

Curt Teich Co.   1893-1974 Chicago, IL

A major publisher and printer. Their U.S. factories turned out more cards in quantity than any other printer. They published a wide range of national view-cards of America and Canada. Many consider them one of the finest producers of White Border Cards. The Linen Type postcard came about through their innovations as they pioneered the use of offset lithography. They were purchased by Regensteiner Publishers in 1974 which continued to print cards at the Chicago plant until 1978.

Curt Teich logo


“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!

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