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Raleigh’s City Market Turns 100 Years Old

Raleigh-City-Market-2008_web

One hundred years ago, on September 30, 1914,  a familiar downtown landmark — Raleigh’s City Market — opened its doors to the public. Join us this week in celebrating the centenary of this historic and venerable market house.

A centennial celebration will take place at City Market on Moore Square this Friday, October 3, beginning at 4pm. The party will feature live music, street performers, and a special menu by Big Ed Watkins (Big Ed’s Restaurant) and Paul Reams (Smoked Out ‘n’ Fried). ‘City Market Centennial Ale’ will be offered by Triangle Brewing Co. The festivities will run until 11pm.

As a part of the centennial celebration, we thought our readers might enjoy a nostalgic look at our posts on City Market that have appeared on Goodnight Raleigh over the years. Happy Birthday City Market — May you serve Raleigh for another hundred years!

A City Market Gallery and Historical Narrative

Below is a sampling of historic photos taken of City Market during its first half century.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The two photos seen here show the City Market when it was located on Fayetteville St. It was erected in 1870 on the site of Raleigh’s second market building, which had been destroyed by fire in 1868. This is the market building replaced by the Moore Square building in 1914.

The photo above was taken ca 1873, just a few years after the Fayetteville St. market was built. Below is how the building appeared shortly before the city closed it in 1914.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The city relocated the market to a less congested area, Moore Square, in 1914. The Spanish Mission style building was designed by Raleigh architect James Matthew Kennedy.

Kennedy’s City Market featured fireproof construction, with steel roof trusses, solid brick walls and a red tiled roof. The new building was considered a ‘sanitary’ improvement over the old market, as the interior was an open and airy space, faced with white-glazed ceramic tile walls, and a smooth concrete floor which could easily be hosed down after the day’s activity.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

These photos show the building not long before it opened to the public on September 30, 1914.

Above, Belgian block pavement is being laid, which still exists today. The Martin St. facade is faced with buff-colored brick. Below is the southern facade, which, excepting the buff brick, is identical to its Martin St. counterpart.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

This view is looking southeast from Martin St.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

City Market flourished in downtown Raleigh for more than 40 years. The view below of a busy market day was taken in the 1940s.

Courtesy Raleigh News & Observer

Courtesy Raleigh News & Observer

The general suburbanization of Raleigh’s population during the 1940s and ’50s, coupled with the emergence of neighborhood supermarkets and the opening of the new State Farmer’s Market, led to the demise of City Market as a destination marketing venue. Thus, the City closed its downtown central market in 1957.

It was sold into private hands in 1959, and the new owner subsequently converted the interior space for use as a furniture store. Produce continued to be sold under the massive canopy, however, for the next 20 years.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

These photos show how the market building appeared in the 1960s.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

By the 1980s City Market and the Moore Square area were in a state of serious decline. The City again entered the picture and repurchased the building for public rehabilitation and private development. Small businesses such as restaurants, specialty shops, bars and coffee shops moved into vacant storefronts in the late 1980s, and the area began to see a reemergence as a downtown retail center.

The building was purchased by a private developer in 1990s, who made further upgrades. Since then City Market has continued its growth as a retail anchor on Moore Square.

City Market has been designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark.


Discuss Raleigh

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