The Raleigh I grew up in was a small dusty, small southern capital where most everyone knew everyone. Part of the circle included the son of the taxidermist at the old Museum of Natural History who imparted to his son a knowledge and appreciation for the natural world. Carl’s decidedly New Orleanian, Charlestonesque flavored rental on North Street provided a locus for our detailed weekend explorations of that world frequently involving Raleigh’s numerous subterranean conduits, local manifestations of urban waterways buried in concrete coast to coast spawned by a now-contested gestalt that nature was an entity to be separated from. This segregation, while bad for the life of streams proved an irresistable benefit to us growing up near downtown Raleigh, illustrated by a chum I found in a storm drain down from Wiley before and after school.
I started out with only a Facebook status update and the vague directions “across from the Carmax on Glenwood” to go on. An hour and a half later, I found the Water Garden.
Walking along Glenwood Avenue after it leaves downtown Raleigh, one feels beyond doubt that this is not a place intended for human traffic. Furniture warehouses and car lots sit in misanthropic isolation off of a busy road with no sidewalk. You’re not supposed to walk around here, and if you do, you feel small and lost in a blinding, concrete commercial desert. On foot, you realize how far apart everything is, how much space there is that possibly no one has walked in years.
For more than a century rain has been mulling over a way to make a home inside the once regal house on the corner of Ashe Avenue and Hillsborough Street. The house, often referred to as the “Green House” or “The Jackpot House”, drops slate roof tiles as if it were inviting its wet foe inside for an extended stay. The perimeter of the house is littered with malt liquor bottles, window glass, and broken slate. Read more »