Noteworthy

Historic Raleigh home vies for award

Posted November 29, 2008
Updated December 5, 2008

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— The Joel Lane Museum House is one of three sites competing to be North Carolina’s All-American Landmark.

Hampton Hotels’ Save-A-Landmark program is sponsoring the contest. The winning landmark in each state will get a day of volunteer service from employees of Hampton Inn.

The house is up against the Coolmore Plantation in Tarboro and the Old City Jail in the heart of Andy Griffith's hometown, Mount Airy. The winner will be announced Dec. 5.

If the Joel Lane Museum House wins, one of the first places to tackle could be the garden behind the home.

“Some plants have died over the years, and we’d love to be able to replace the plants,” curator Belle Long said.

The original floorboards also need some work.

“There’s quite a lot that needs to be done,” Long said.

The house, at 160 S. St. Mary’s St., was built in the early 1770s by Joel Lane, who some refer to as the father of Raleigh. Long sold 1,000 acres of land to the state in 1792 to build the capital city.

Lane, who served as a state senator, also introduced a bill to create Wake County.

About 20 years after building the house, Lane remodeled it on 1790 to enlarge the second story. The style is designed to transport visitors back to the 18th century.

“For something that’s 250 years old, it’s in pretty good condition, but it sure could use some help,” Long said.

The home is the oldest remaining house in Raleigh and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is owned by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in North Carolina.

Except for some grants for renovations, the house relies on donations from its 2,000 to 3,000 visitors each year. Long said school groups make up the bulk of their visitors.

The house is open for tours four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children above 6 years old. Children 6 and under get in free.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of this place, and the more we have, the more we can do and the more outreach we can do,” Long said.

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