Sir Walter hotel gives New Year's revelers a glimpse into Raleigh's past

Posted December 30, 2011
Updated December 31, 2011

— The Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, the city's oldest hotel building, recently wrapped up a major renovation project, just in time for the First Night celebration downtown.

The building, with its ballroom, grand lobby and ornamental ceiling, pays homage to the capital city's architectural past. The renovations ensure it will be preserved for generations to come, said property manager Felise Knight-Lucas.

"All of the windows, the wallpaper, chandeliers, everything in here is original to the building, to the 1920s," Knight-Lucas said.

The Sir Walter, located on Fayetteville Street, now houses apartments for seniors, but it opened as a hotel in January 1924 in an attempt to attract convention business to Raleigh. Since then, it has boasted many famous guests.

Raleigh landmark gets pre-New Year's makeover Raleigh landmark gets pre-New Year's makeover

"President Truman has actually stayed here at the Sir Walter," Knight-Lucas said. "He came to the State Fair."

For the past decade, it has served as a First Night venue, giving New Year's Eve partygoers a glimpse into the city's past.

"This used to actually be called the third house of the Legislature. This building has been host to businessmen, politicians, newsmen," Knight-Lucas said. "Everybody has worked together over the years to make sure it stays beautiful for our residents."


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