Local News

Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane At Old Fairgrounds Site

Posted October 11, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— TheNorth Carolina State Fairhas deep roots in the city of Raleigh. Those roots are spread across three separate sites.

Fairmont is the name of a neighborhood within the Beltline. Its name reveals a part of its past. In the late 1920s, the Raleigh Real Estate Board lured prospective homebuyers to land adjacent to what was then State College.

The old tenants left because the area was seen as the best, most popular rapid growth residential section of Raleigh. The area later became the site of the old fairgrounds.

A horseshoe curve connects Pogue and Gardner streets. It used to be the racetrack for the fairgrounds -- a historical nugget that comes as a surprise even to some who live in Fairmont.

"I knew that there was some interesting architecture in the neighborhood, but I had no idea that this was the old fairgrounds," says Fairmont resident Kathy McKeown.

The other end of the racetrack inspired the curved seating of the amphitheater. When the developer first drew up the plans, the infield of the racetrack was cut up into pie-shaped lots. Those lots are now rose garden parks in the Triangle.

Along where race cars and motorbikes hit the straight-away now stands another cultural gem, Raleigh Little Theater.

A neighborhood brochure reveals only one building surviving the change from the fairgrounds to Fairmont -- the Fair Superintendents' Building. It sits on the corner of Everett and Horne streets.