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Landmark Tour Reveals Raleigh's Classic Style

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RALEIGH — Raleigh is in the middle of a population explosion, but it is not the first time.

Many people are concerned about the sprawl of new homes and the loss of farm land. However, it is not the first time that has happened either.

A tour of historic homes this weekend could offer clues about how to make growth and progress a positive thing.

Raleigh's first urban sprawl gobbled up hundreds of acres of farm land. The land owners lived in Mountford Hall to the west of downtown and in the Mordecai House to the north.

The farm families' homes are preserved. Their plantations became neighborhoods.

Several homes in these neighborhoods are part of a Saturday tour of Capital Area Landmarks. Tour organizer, Gary Roth, said that these historic streets may offer valuable lessons in how a city should grow.

Roth said, "What is it that makes those places neighborhoods rather than just a collection of houses? And, what do those neighborhoods potentially have to say to us in terms of the issues that we're dealing with today?"

Rebecca Henderson's Hayes Barton home is part of a tour. She hopes to spread her love for things that make a house a home. Things that make a subdivision a neighborhood.

"I'm amazed that children growing up today don't know very much about history or the beauty of things from the past," Henderson said. "And I think it's just a wonderful way to see living history."

The homes vary in style. Some are no longer homes because lawyers have made them businesses. A neighborhood grocery on Devereaux Street will soon be a home.

"From a preservation stand point it's the greatest thing of all, is that people are using these structures, keep them alive, and making them function and what we hope to accomplish with the tour is to inspire other folks in that regard."

The tour is this Saturday May 2nd from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. For ticket information call Capital Area Preservation at 833-6404. Reporter / Photographer:Rick Armstrong