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Residence View of Blount Streeet, Raleigh, N.C.

Blount St_1_web

Our Flashback Friday postcard this week captures the charm of a Raleigh now long lost. Seen here are some of the elegant residences that once lined North Blount St. Across the street in this view was the most elegant of them all — the Governor’s Mansion.

Blount St_1_back_web

No message on our card this week. The view, though, depicts the 200 block of Blount St. as it appeared in the 1910s.

In the aerial photo below, that very block can be seen as it appeared about 1963, soon after the completion of North Carolina’s State Legislative Building. Within just a few years, all the residences seen here would be demolished.

Courtesy The News & Observer

Courtesy The News & Observer

Once What Was

Most folks today probably don’t realize that up until the 1960s, Blount Street north of New Bern Ave. was a residential enclave. Although most of the original families had long ago died off, and many of their former elegant homes chopped into apartments, the avenue even then still presented an air of 19th century  opulence.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The photo above shows how Blount St. appeared north of Peace St. in the early 1900s. The photo below of the 400 block was taken on a glass plate negative about the same time. Prominently seen are the streetcar tracks which once ran down the length of Blount from Edenton to Peace.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

Several large homes, or mansions, if you will, once lined the 400 block. The one below was the residence of  Dr. William Hawkins and his family, built ca 1873. It was demolished in 1967.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The W.H. Pace home stood in the 400 block at the corner of Polk St. I took this photo with my trusty Kodak Instamatic camera in 1965.

WH Pace house_web

I also took this photo of the turreted confection seen below in 1965. It stood across the street from the Pace home, on the opposite corner. Both homes had been demolished by 1967.

SW cor Blount + Polk_web

A Sad Goodbye

All the homes seen in this week’s postcard view were demolished in 1966 – 1967 to make room for the North Carolina State Archives and History and Library building. (That singular irony is hard for me to bear even now.)

One day in 1966, on one of my visits to Blount Street, with my trusty Kodak Instamatic in tow, I took this photo in the 200 block, just as one of the old grandes dames drew her last breath.

Blount St_2_web


Our Flashback Friday ‘tinted-halftone’ postcard this week was published locally by the long-time Raleigh stationer, James E. Thiem. It was printed by Commercialchrome of Cleveland.

Commercialchrome  (1910-1920) Cleveland, OH

Printer of tinted halftone view-cards, most depicting scenes from the American Mid-West.

Tinted Halftone

A tinted halftone is a printed image by which the color is applied through hand drawn lithography in dots or solid fields, while the detail is rendered through a photographic halftone on a single key plate. A pallet of light red, yellow, and blue was the most commonly used. It began being used in the 1880’s as a way to incorporate color into photomechanical printing at a time when there was no good source of color photography. This method was replaced by process printing by the late 1930’s.

“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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