Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Retro Raleigh

Posted August 28, 2008

What do you miss about the "Raleigh of old" that you would like to see again today? Carolina Conversations blogger Allison Taylor posed that question in a recent email. Here was her message:

"I grew up in Cary, moved to Raleigh, then all around NC, then to England for five years. I love being back home, but it has really changed.

Hey, why don't you have a blog about natives to the area? People BORN here, things that happened way back, events, shows, the underground in Cameron Village, all kinds of things, famous bands, the Fabulous Knobs, the VillaCapri restaurant at Ridgewood, politicians, people at WRAL, Bob Debardelaben (I went to school with his son.), the tremendous growth in the area. And remember off New Bern Avenue, years ago, the person who had that HUGE Christmas scene in the front yard? What happened to that? We natives couldhave our own blog site.

I wonder how many natives are still here or who have returned to the area tosettle down after many years away. I think that might make a good blog."

I think you're right, Allison. Let’s talk about that today.

What do I miss about my young days in Raleigh? Well, several restaurants for sure. I miss Neptune's Galley on Western Boulevard. No offense to the new Red, Hot & Blue on Hillsborough Street at Oberlin Road but I miss the Darryl's Restaurant there at that intersection. I also miss the Big 85 - WKIX Radio where I worked for several years with greats such as Rick Dees, Steve Roddy, Pat Patterson, Jack Kane, Charlie Brown, Tommy Walker, Dale Van Horn, John Tesh, Doug Limerick, Scott White, Steve Shumake and Steve Reid. I miss Joel Chaney’s great sports columns in The Raleigh Times. I miss hearing Bob Farrington ad lib an entire 30 minute newscast complete with soundbites on WPTF Radio.  I miss Uncle Paul on Channel 5. I miss colorful politicians like Thad Eure and Jim Graham. And I also miss Uncle Don’s soda shop on Western Boulevard where the Bojangle’s sits today. That’s where I met my wife Cindy. And I miss seeing David Thompson flying through the air and wreaking havoc on the basketball competition at Reynolds Coliseum

What about you? What do you miss about the Raleigh area?


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  • Retired teacher Sep 1, 2008

    I think the name of the late night breakfast restaurant on Wake Forest Road was the Ham and Egger.  I miss the beautiful free gift wrapping at Boylan Pearce. I miss reading the Raleigh Times afternoon paper. I miss the truly kind sales ladies who worked at Hudson Belks and Ivey Taylors who really acted like they wanted to help you. I loved eating at the Capitol Room at Belks. I also miss Wyatt Quarles seed company right behind Belks. If you would still like to see a night-time Christmas parade, come to Apex. It really is pretty.

  • J.J.3 Aug 29, 2008

    Having lived my entire 43 years in the Raleigh area, these are my fondest memories of "Retro Raleigh"...

    - Cross Family Christmas decorations on New Bern Ave.
    - Mechanical Santa window display at King's dept. store on Wilmington St.
    - Colorful Christmas lights at the old Cameron Village & visiting Santa in his glass house in-front of Penny's
    - Pine State eggnog
    - Downtown Christmas decorations & the evening Christmas parade
    - Marching w/ Uncle Paul & meeting Crawford the Lion
    - Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Tues. nights at Dorton Arena - Wed. night wrestling tapings at WRAL studios w/ Bob Caudle (aired on Sat. nights at 11:30) - Mr. Peanut waving in-front of candy store on Wilmington St. - Best Products on Western Blvd. - WRAL's "Chiller Theater" & "Spook Spectacular" - "Scream in the Dark" - Cardinal Theater at North Hills - Center Drive-in - Warner Bros. Store at Crabtree - Magic Corner on Hillsborough - Record Bar - WKIX - R.B.s Chicken & Pine Drug Store on S. Saunders

  • pleshy Aug 29, 2008

    I miss the State Soda Shop on Salisbury Street, and it only closed a month ago - now there is nowhere to get a milshake downtown. I miss being able to drive Hillborough Street without having all the trim on my car fall off from the potholes (circa 1994-1998).

  • CestLaVie Aug 29, 2008

    So many good examples of Raleigh's past on this blog. I've been trying to remember some new ones, but others have mentioned: the old airport on 401 S where my ex took flying lessons; Center Drive In on 70 to Garner; the old North-South small store on 401 S where I heard you could buy beer & other sources of bootleg booze even if underage - this was BEFORE the huge shopping centers there now; Toot-n-Tell it in Garner which is still there, but without the curb service; Shoney's Big Boy on S Saunders.

    We, too, used to go see Mr Cross's Christmas display; it was a tradition. The Underground at Cameron Village was so unique at the time. How about the very small & crowded restaurant (can't remember the name) on Wake Forest Rd near the now-volkswagen place, where everyone went for breakfast after a night of dancing, unless we went to the Blue Tower or My House restaurants? Took my kids to both Pullen Park & Hayes Barton pools.

    We also loved the library when it was downtown.

  • CestLaVie Aug 29, 2008

    This is a great blog. Even though I'm not a native, I moved here in the mid-60's when I was 21, so have basically spent most of my adult yrs here since then & I feel like a native.

    When we first visited here in Sept 65, my ex-husband had a job interview with IBM in downtown Raleigh. While he interviewed, I took the car & our 2 kids (2 yrs & 6 mos old) for a ride to ck out Raleigh. How lucky of us to find Pullen Park; we spent most of the day there & my 2 yr old son loved the merry-go-round & the train. Been going there periodically ever since.

    How about Jim Thornton's club on S Saunders St? No one's mentioned that. I never went there but rode by hundreds of times. My husband did & he talks about Sat night dances there as a teenager; they were a big deal for a country boy from 1010! Speaking of 1010, he remembers when it was a dirt road & only a couple of cars passed by there daily; his mother's house still stands next to the road today.

  • thewomacks Aug 28, 2008

    Wow, I love this blog. Been in Raleigh all of my 45 years and remember everything people have mentioned. I was just talking about the smell of Wonderbread on Hillsborough Street mixed with KFC nearby. Darryls after Broughton football games -- which by the way we had to play at Sanderson because we didn't have a stadium. I remember when Mini City area was OUT OF TOWN, like a day's drive! We loved taking the bus to feed the pigeons downtown and lunch in the basement of Belks. Most of all I remember NO TRAFFIC! Thanks for all the great memories!

  • IliveinwhackogopcontrolledNC Aug 28, 2008

    I miss the Record Bar (I believe that was the name) in North Hills Mall, the gracious man who sold peanuts to humans and fed them to pigeons on Capitol Square and the peanut man on Highway 70 waving to me as I came home from the beach on Sunday afternoons.

  • maddie Aug 28, 2008

    Yes, I remember Hayes Barton Pool! And the Blue Tower diner on Hillsborough St. around midnight, the Capital Room, Villa Capri, the Underground at Cameron Village, downtown Raleigh movie theatres then going to the Players Retreat for a beer and burger, the OLD 42nd Street Oyster Bar on Friday nights. When you ate at the old 42nd St. Oyster Bar for lunch during the week, your fish was served on a separate platter - huge founder! When I moved here North Hills had not been built. Kidd Brewer's house at Crabtree was the setting for the spring Interfraternity Council party. The entire hill was covered with people and the bands were at the bottom.

  • RUsleeping Aug 28, 2008

    Dr. Bugg on Jones Street!!! Yikes!! It seemed that anytime I went to see him I left getting a shot in my rear. Dr. Sanders was my reg doc, but Bugg would fill in for him. Dr. Horowitz was my dentist and now he is my kids dentist (I thoguht he was ancient then, but he ages well )

  • RUsleeping Aug 28, 2008

    Does anyone remember the Hayse Barton pool? Townhomes sit upon the site now. Uncle Paul, Swain's Steakhouse on New Bern Ave was the "la-tee-da" place to eat if you were not going to the Angus Barn. I miss walking out on the tarmac to meet a relative flying in at RDU which was Raleigh Durham Airport. Remember when there was Wake County schools and Raleigh City Schools. I miss hearing the lunch menu on the radio each morning. The mailbox being right outside the door and the garbage being picked up from the back yard.




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