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The ‘Fall of Raleigh’ Comes to Town

The historic Briggs hardware store building was erected in 1874. It is now home to the Raleigh City Museum.
The historic Briggs hardware store building was erected in 1874. It is now home to the Raleigh City Museum.

In August 1865 Thomas H. Briggs and his business partner James Dodd opened a hardware store on Fayetteville St. — just four months after the surrender of Raleigh to occupying Union troops. How could Briggs possibly finance such an enterprise at a time when all of Raleigh lay destitute after four long years of civil war?

— With his family’s fortune in gold and silver — that’s how — which he had wisely, and secretly, buried near Devereaux’s meadow north of town during the war. The business prospered, and Briggs was later able to erect the current Briggs Building, Raleigh’s first ‘skyscraper,’ in 1874.

If this story intrigues you, then you can learn more about it and other tales of the Fall of Raleigh in a presentation to be given by Civil War historian Ernest Dollar this Saturday, September 19, at 2 pm at the Raleigh City Museum. The museum is located in the historic Briggs Hardware Building, 220 Fayetteville St. To learn more about this event, visit the Web site of the Raleigh City Museum for details. To view a video clip of Ernest Dollar in which he recounts the story of the Fall of Raleigh, click here.

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