After a year-long renovation, a 1920s-era residence at 1101 Wake Forest Rd. will open its doors this week as the official visitors’ center for Raleigh’s Mordecai Historic Park, which is located next door. A dedication and opening ceremony will be held this Wednesday, June 18, at 6pm.
The Mordecai Historic Park Visitor Center occupies the former Arthur H. Danielson residence at 1101 Wake Forest Rd. A city parks bond referendum approved in 2007 funded the acquisition and renovation of the 4,700 square-foot house. Raleigh architectural and design firm Clearscapes designed and led the project. Repurposing the historic home as a public facility included a complete overhaul of an outdated infrastructure, addition of exhibition, reception and meeting space, and relocation of offices for Mordecai Historic Park.
The Neo Classical styled brick veneer building, featuring a distinctive portico supported by monumental Corinthian columns, was erected in 1923 for Raleigh businessman John H. Boushall. From 1935 to the early 1960s the mansion was occupied by the Tour Inn, a traveler’s stopover we would call a bed and breakfast today. Later, Arthur Danielson acquired the property as his residence. Danielson was an antiques dealer who operated Danielson’s Antiques on the first floor. Following his death in 2011, the city of Raleigh purchased the home from his estate in 2012.
Mr. Danielson’s mailbox still hangs by the front door of his former home.
Across Cedar St. from the new visitors’ center is Mordecai Historic Park, which the city opened in 1972. It is administrated by the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department’s Historical Resources and Museum Program. The crown jewel of Mordecai Historic Park is, of course, the Mordecai House, once the center of a vast antebellum plantation.
This photo of the historic Mordecai House was taken in the late 19th century.
Today Mordecai Historic Park comprises four acres with Mordecai House (1785/1826) at its core. On site are the overseer’s office and a small barn, both part of the original plantation complex. Additional historic structures which have been relocated to the park over the years include the Badger Iredell Law Office (ca 1810), Allen Kitchen (ca 1842), Andrew Johnson Birthplace (ca 1795), Former Raleigh Post Office (ca 1840), and St. Mark’s Chapel (ca 1847). The restored Ellen Mordecai Garden (ca 1842) completes the assemblage.
This is a view of the new Mordecai Historic Park Visitor Center as seen from the expansive lawn fronting Wake Forest Rd.
Dedication and Opening Ceremony for Mordecai Historic Park Visitor Center
1101 Wake Forest Rd., Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, June 18, 2014