National Register Properties in Cary

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The National Register of Historic Places

The National Register is the official list of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts deemed worthy of preservation for their significance to the cultural heritage of the nation. Listing on the National Register is an honor which provides recognition of unique historic and architectural character, but does not prohibit owners from altering or demolishing their property.  Listing on the Register does ensure that properties are considered in the planning of federal undertakings such as road projects, and listing encourages local governments and the private sector to undertake local preservation initiatives.  Properties listed on the Register may be eligible for state and federal tax credits for qualifying rehabilitations. For a complete discussion about the National Register of Historic Places and the rehabilitation tax credit program, go to www.hpo.ncdcr.gov and follow the links.

There are two ways for properties to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places:  Individually or as contributing to a district.  Cary is fortunate to have both individual listings and districts.

Cary's Individually-Listed Properties:

Page-Walker Hotel
119 Ambassador Street

Nancy Jones House
9391 Chapel Hill Road

Utley-Council House
4009 Optimist Farm Road

Ivey-Ellington House
135 W. Chatham Street

Cary's National Register Historic Districts:

Downtown Cary National Register Historic District

The downtown historic district is bounded by South Academy Street, South Harrison Avenue, West Park Street, Dry Avenue, and a small portion of Faculty Avenue. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

  • District size: 18 acres
  • Contributing resources: Thirty historic dwellings, assorted domestic outbuildings, and the Old Cary High School building laid out in an informal grid pattern.
  • Period of historical significance: 1890 - 1945

The downtown Cary National Register Historic District qualifies for inclusion on the National Register because of its architectural and educational significance. The National Register nomination explains that "The intact ensemble of small-town residential and educational architecture constructed from circa 1890 to 1945 depicts the development of the town of Cary as a railroad village and educational center. This ensemble includes both modest examples of typical residential styles built during this period throughout small-town Wake County and North Carolina, as well as distinctive buildings unique to Cary, such as the impressive Queen Anne Captain Harrison P. Guess House and the Neoclassical Revival former Cary High School building. The 1939 high school building, along with a number of nearby residences that housed the school's faculty and students, symbolize the prominent role of education in the town's history." (Malloy, 2000)

Carpenter National Register Historic District

The tracks of the former Durham and Southern Railroad (now the CSX) form the western boundary of the historic district near where Carpenter-Upchurch Road and Morrisville-Carpenter Road connect in a T intersection. This intersection and the immediate vicinity is the commercial heart of the district. From this intersection, the district boundary stretches south along Carpenter Upchurch and east along Morrisville-Carpenter Road to encompass a number of small farmsteads. The Carpenter Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

  • District size: approximately 210 acres
  • Contributing resources: Three general stores, fifteen dwellings, commercial and transportation-related buildings and structures, institutional buildings, and various outbuildings
  • Period of historical significance: Late nineteenth century through 1933 The Carpenter Historic District qualified for listing on the National Register because of its architectural significance and its agricultural and community development significance. The National Register nomination notes that the Carpenter Historic District "retains an outstanding collection of commercial, residential, and agricultural buildings that reflect the history of the community and its prominence as a rural commercial center in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Carpenter is unique among small Wake County communities in that it retains its rural crossroads character and never grew much beyond it." (Malloy and Little, 1999)

Green Level National Register Historic District

 The historic district begins at the intersection of Green Level West Road and Green Level Church Road, and then follows Green Level Church Road north for approximately 3000 feet, with historic properties and landscapes located on both sides. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

  • District size: approximately 75 acres
  • Contributing resources: Two stores, a church, three dwellings and assorted associated outbuildings, two farms with farm houses and associated outbuildings, and the Green Level landscape.
  • Period of historical significance: Late nineteenth century through 1945

Green Level qualifies for listing on the National Register because of its architectural significance and its agricultural significance. The National Register nomination states that it is "an intact example of the turn-of-the-century crossroads community with a well-preserved and representative mix of the types of commercial, residential, and social architecture that were prevalent in such communities" and that its agricultural significance is "for its depiction, through the buildings that still stand in the community, of the transforming role of tobacco on the Wake County landscape in the early twentieth century." (Malloy and Little, 2000) In the first half of the nineteenth century, Green Level was just a crossroads village located along the old stage route between Raleigh and Pittsboro, but after the Civil War the community grew significantly. By the early 1870s, Green Level had at least seven stores, two mills, and two schools, as well as a Baptist Church and Masonic Lodge. Green Level remained an important commercial center for local farmers, most of whom were growing bright leaf tobacco, through the early twentieth century.

References

Malloy, Kelly Lally, "Cary Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2000.

Malloy, Kelly Lally and M. Ruth Little, "Carpenter Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1999.

Malloy, Kelly Lally, and M. Ruth Little, "Green Level Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2000.

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