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Capitol Heights Historic District


Houses on Van Buren Street, Capitol Heights Historic District

Photo: Van Buren Street, Capitol Heights Historic District, Rakeigh, NC, National Register of Historic Places, NR#10001112, photographed by Heather Wagner, 2009.

The Capitol Heights Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Capitol Heights Historic District is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, a city of approximately 389,000 residents roughly in the center of Wake County. The Capitol Heights Historic District encompasses 6 city blocks, or portions thereof, and includes the majority of land platted for the Capitol Heights subdivision in May of 1946. The streets of the Capitol Heights Historic District are arranged in a grid pattern, with Madison Road and North State Street as the north-south streets and Penn Road, Van Buren Road, Hamilton Road, Tyler Road, Monroe Drive, and Glascock Street running east-west.

The Capitol Heights Historic District lies approximately 1-1/2 miles northeast of the State Capitol. It directly borders Oakwood Cemetery and Oakwood Park to the south and west and directly borders Saint Augustine's College to the south and east. The residential area directly to the north of the district, the Belvedere Park neighborhood, dates to the same period, but was platted and developed separately.

The Capitol Heights Historic District is entirely residential and contains 84 principal buildings and 3 outbuildings constructed between 1947 and 1949 that contribute to the significance of the district. There are 16 houses, 31 outbuildings, and 6 structures in the district that do not contribute to the district's significance, as they were either not present during the period of significance or have been so altered that they no longer possess sufficient historic integrity. Additionally, 24 residential properties to the west and northeast of the district that were part of the original plat of the neighborhood have been excluded from the boundary, because alterations to the structures have rendered a high percentage of them non-contributing. There are no vacant lots in the district. 84 percent of the total principal resources contribute to the historic and architectural significance of the district. Capitol Heights Historic District boundaries were determined, in part, by the area included on the 1946 plat of the neighborhood. Properties bordering on Brookside Drive to the west of the neighborhood are commercial and of modern construction and were not included in the historic district. Additionally, those residential properties in the 600 blocks of Monroe Drive and Glascock Street have been excluded from the district because approximately half of them have been altered to the extent that they would no longer be considered contributing resources in the historic district. A small portion of the neighborhood on the southwest corner of the intersection of North State and Glascock streets was also excluded due to incompatible alterations to the historic fabric of the structures. The west boundary extends along Madison Road from Glascock Street to Penn Road. The south end of the Capitol Heights Historic District follows the rear lot lines of the houses on the south side of Penn Road. The east boundary extends along N. State Street from Penn Road to Glascock Street. The north boundary extends along the south side of Glascock Street from N. State Street to Madison Road.

The topography of the Capitol Heights Historic District is relatively flat, and dense vegetation is limited to the interior of the blocks (along the rear lot lines). Lot sizes are consistent throughout the Capitol Heights Historic D istrict, most measuring 60' wide by 145' deep, for a total square footage of 8,700 square feet. Corner lots and those on the north and south ends of the neighborhood vary slightly in size and shape, but all with nearly equal square footage. The depth of the lots coincides with half the depth of a block. Houses are generally centered within the lot and most are set back from the street approximately thirty feet. Some properties have small sheds or garages behind the house and side driveways are prevalent in the district. There are concrete curbs and gutters located throughout the district; however, the only sidewalks in the district are along the west side of North State Street.

Residences within the Capitol Heights Historic District are small in size and were constructed in the Minimal Traditional style between 1947 and 1949. The houses are generally 1-story, 2- or 3-bedroom houses with side-gabled roofs and brick or concrete-block foundations. They were finished with asbestos siding, brick veneer, or, in a few cases, wood shingle; wood siding is rare in the district and is generally limited to gables. Replacement siding of vinyl or aluminum is common in the district. Wood, double-hung windows are typical and are generally arranged in either a 6-over-6 or 8-over-8, double-hung sash configuration. Picture windows are common, but not standard, and when installed were often flanked by double-hung windows. Porches are prevalent in the district, but generally small and supported by decorative metal posts or simple square posts. The continuity of form and materials in the Capitol Heights Historic District can be attributed to its rapid construction by a limited number of builders.

Two groups of houses vary slightly in form and material than the rest of the houses in the district and represent the work of specific builders. Houses on the south side of Tyler Road, erected by the Curtis Construction Company, are of exposed concrete block construction, with side-gabled roofs, metal casement or wood double-hung windows, and small gable- or shed-roofed porches. Additionally, a group of homes on the east end of Penn Road, constructed by the Clancy Construction Company, feature L-shaped plans with wide roof overhangs, entrances near the intersection of the wings, and sometimes picture windows near the entrance; these homes are of frame construction with concrete-block foundations, wood or asbestos siding, and 6-over-6, double-hung or 2-over-2, horizontal-pane windows.

From 1949, the end of the period of significance, to the present, no additional construction of primary structures has taken place in the Capitol Heights Historic District. Houses have been altered with replacement windows, siding, or porches, and some houses have been enlarged at the rear; however, there has been no demolition and very little substantive alteration. Conversely, the majority of outbuildings in the Capitol Heights Historic District were erected after the period of significance.

Significance

The Capitol Heights Historic District is an approximately 6-block area within the Raleigh city limits. The Capitol Heights Historic District extends from Penn Road north to Glascock Street and was platted in 1946 as the Capitol Heights neighborhood. It contains 84 primary contributing buildings, all residential properties constructed during the period of significance from 1946 to 1949. The Capitol Heights Historic District is an architecturally significant post-World War II neighborhood that developed as a direct result of the postwar demand for housing and the availability of financing for both home buyers and builders. The Capitol Heights Historic District contains small, Minimal Traditional style, single-family housing, constructed to house returning veterans and the growing urban population of Raleigh in the late 1940s.

Capitol Heights was identified as a significant subdivision in a city-wide survey as a largely intact and well-preserved post-World War II, speculative subdivision in Raleigh. It is also listed on the National Register for architecture. The neighborhood is largely homogeneous in form and detail: constructed entirely in the Minimal Traditional style, the 2- and 3-bedroom houses display variations on a few basic building forms and with the minimal detailing that is the hallmark of the style.

The small subdivision with a grid pattern contains a well-preserved collection of Minimal Traditional style speculative houses. Capitol Heights retains its overall integrity of setting, feeling, association, design, and materials, with only 47 of its 87 houses not contributing to the district's character.

Historical Background

The Federal Housing Administration — In the midst of the Great Depression, building construction, especially residential construction, had fallen to record lows, and the mortgage and financial systems were unable to provide either builders or homeowners with necessary financing. Then in 1934, as part of the New Deal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The FHA was created to "restructure the collapsed private home financing system and stimulate private investment in housing. It called for the development of housing standards, a process for real estate appraisal, and a comprehensive program of review for approving subdivisions for mortgage insurance."[1]

Longer-term mortgages and mortgage insurance through the FHA were perhaps the most far-reaching components of the program. Prior to the FHA package, home loans had generally been short term (5 years was typical) and were only available to those who could afford to make the standard, 50 percent down payment. In contrast, FHA offered 30-year mortgages with only 10 percent down. The FHA also used federal monies to insure mortgage loans, promising to repay banks if homeowners defaulted, making home loans safe and desirable business for bankers. Additionally, legislation in 1938 created the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) to buy and sell mortgages from member institutions, making additional money available for home mortgages.[2] These programs revolutionized the mortgage and finance industries, making home ownership an affordable goal of the middle-class for the first time.

The FHA, through their standards and publications, also influenced the physical appearance of subdivisions and developments from the late 1930s through the 1950s. However, these standards have been highly criticized in the second half of the 20th century because they clearly favored suburban development and neighborhoods that were homogeneous in design and socio-economic makeup. According to Thomas Hanchett, historian at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte and former professor of urban history and historic preservation at Youngstown State University and Cornell University, the top 3 criteria for deciding whether or not to back mortgages were: relative economic stability, protection from adverse influences, and adequacy of transportation.[3] These subjective criteria led to the red-lining of urban neighborhoods as undesirable based on perceived "adverse influences." The recommendation that new development use protective covenants to obtain ideals of economic and racial stability contributed heavily to the design and location of mid-century development.

The Veterans Administration, The GI Bill, and the end of World War II — Established in July of 1930, the Veteran's Administration (VA) was initially responsible for providing medical services, life insurance, pension payments, and other similar benefits. The agency evolved gradually through the Great Depression and World War II and then underwent its most substantial change in 1944 with the introduction of the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, or "GI Bill of Rights." This legislation provided 3 key provisions: up to 4 years of education or training, federally guaranteed home, farm, and business loans, and unemployment compensation.[4] The goal of these programs was to level the playing field for veterans who had given up gainful employment, the opportunity to pursue an education, or building financial credit by enlisting in the service.

The terms of VA home loans have changed regularly since their inception in 1944, with terms generally becoming more liberal and the amounts that the government would insure rising with inflation. The VA mortgage program offered such generous insurance that banks not only made more cash loans, but also slashed the cash down payment that veterans were required to provide. Veterans could receive a certificate to confirm their service or simply show their discharge papers at the lender of their choice to obtain financing, often for 100 percent of the purchase price of the home and with little or no money down; the cost was generally financed over thirty years.[5]

The liberal terms of the GI Bill and the VA home loans were a direct response to the demand for housing in the post-war years. During the war years, 1939-1945, new home construction averaged less than 100,000 houses per year in the United States.[6] However, during the same period, marriage and birth rates began to increase dramatically, rising steadily from 1940 to reach a 20-year high in 1943.[7] This rise in family formation, paired with the low number of housing starts during the war years, led to a widespread shortage of residences by the end of the war. Additionally, for more than 5 years, military necessity, most noticeably through the rationing of raw materials, had taken precedent over consumer wants and by the time the Japanese surrendered in August of 1945, the demand for housing was unprecedented.

The Development of the Capitol Heights Neighborhood — The Capitol Heights neighborhood was constructed at the northern edge of Raleigh, near the city limits, on approximately 30 acres of land owned by Raymond D. Kelly and G.B. Wynne. Kelly, who owned the majority of the acreage, was the owner and operator of the Interstate Fruit Exchange; the land was rumored to have been a pecan farm, a notion supported by Kelly's profession and the number of pecan trees in the neighborhood. With the large demand for post-war housing and economic incentives favoring residential development, the men no doubt saw the value in developing their land. In May of 1946, the area was platted as the Capitol Heights neighborhood; in August, Kelly and Wynne placed restrictive covenants on the land; and, in September of 1946, they began selling parcels to Clancy & Scott, Inc. and George Henry Wright.

Ernest I. Clancy and George Henry Wright were the primary builders of the Capitol Heights neighborhood, erecting 101 of the 124 homes in the neighborhood. Clancy and Wright, like many other men in the post-war years, were responding to the growing market for housing and recognized this opportunity to manage their own contracting firms. The assurance of federal mortgage guarantees — at whatever price the builder set — stimulated an unprecedented building boom and prompted many to enter the construction trade.[8] This created a new generation of builders that grew so large and so successful that home building for the first time became identified as an industry unto itself.[9]

In September of 1946, Wright purchased 36 parcels on the north end of the neighborhood from Kelly. He began construction and by December of 1946 had incorporated as the Wright Construction Company, with Wright, himself, serving as president and his wife, Mildred, as the secretary of the company. The city directories illustrate the growth of the Wright Construction Company in the late 1940s. The 1947 directory lists Wright individually as a building contractor; by 1948 Wright was listed with the Wright Construction Company. Over the next several years, the advertisements for the Wright Construction Company grew steadily to a half-page advertisement in 1955.

In 1947, Wright purchased an additional 65 lots from Kelly. Wright continued to build in the neighborhood through 1948 and was ultimately responsible for erecting 68 homes in Capitol Heights. However, the neighborhood appears to have been just the first of many housing developments with which Wright was involved and by 1948, Wright had begun to sell his remaining, undeveloped lots in the Capitol Heights neighborhood to the Clancy Construction Company and the Curtis Construction Company, likely to focus his efforts on other neighborhoods. In the post-war era, completed homes sold so quickly that developers could finance new phases of construction and, as neighborhoods neared completion, move on to new locations.[10] Deed records indicate that the Wright Construction Company sold homes in the Fallon, Fisher Heights, Longview Gardens, Windsor Park, Long Acres, and Lockwood neighborhoods of Raleigh from 1947 to 1957, furthering the notion that Capitol Heights was just the first of many housing developments built by the Wright Construction Company. The company remained in business through 1985, though it appears to have been operated by Wright's son, G.A. Wright, in its final years.

Ernest I. (E.I.) Clancy (1916-2000) was the other main builder involved in the development of the Capitol Heights neighborhood. Clancy had a background in construction, having earned a degree in Civil Engineering from State College (now North Carolina State University) in 1938. He was active on the home front during World War II, building airfields in Alaska. His brother-in-law, John Theys, was a graduate of the Naval Academy and served in the Navy during the war.[11] They returned to Raleigh after the war and, for a time, E.I. Clancy teamed up with Everett S. Scott to form Clancy & Scott, Incorporated. That company erected 21 houses in the Capitol Heights neighborhood in 1947 and 1948, including Scott's own house at 619 Monroe Drive, as well as a home for their secretary, Lenora M. Burden, and her husband,W. Jack Burden Jr., at 715 Van Buren Road.

In January of 1949, Clancy Construction Company was incorporated with E.I. Clancy and John Theys acting as the president and vice-president, respectively. The company continued to work in the Capitol Heights neighborhood; their first 10 projects listed in their company ledgers for 1949 were homes in the neighborhood.[12] The company also erected homes in Anderson Heights and Budleigh Forest in the late 1940s and early 1950s before diversifying in 1952 to include commercial construction. For their first commercial contract, Clancy Construction Company erected Fire Station #1 (at 220 S. Dawson Street) in 1952. The company remains in operation today under the name Clancy & Theys Construction and is managed by the sons of E.I. Clancy.

While Wright and Clancy were erecting home after home in the Capitol Heights neighborhood, the Brown-Hamel Mortgage Company was working just as quickly to provide financing to the majority of the original homeowners in the neighborhood. It was common practice during this period for mortgage bankers to have a relationship with specific builders and to finance entire neighborhoods as they were built.[13] In 1946, while Capitol Heights was just beginning construction, Greensboro-based Jack Brown, a lawyer by training and the first FHA commissioner in North Carolina, saw the promise that the housing and mortgage business had to offer in the mid-1940s. He left his position with the FHA to enter the mortgage business, purchasing the Hamel Mortgage Company in 1946 and creating Brown-Hamel Mortgage Company. Brown-Hamel specialized in mortgages, insurance, and residential brokerage, actually financing the loans themselves with the help of back-room lenders.[14] By 1955, Brown-Hamel Mortgage Company merged with Fidelity Bond & Mortgage Company of Raleigh, headed by well-known businessman Cliff Cameron, to form Cameron-Brown Company. Cameron-Brown Company focused on mortgages and insurance, while the Brown Realty Company remained in Greensboro with a focus on commercial and residential brokerage. The Brown Investment Company remains in operation in Greensboro.[15]

FHA Principles and the Design of Capitol Heights — Virtually all housing developments during the post-war period attracted buyers with VA or FHA financing. For this reason, developers often followed FHA guidelines for development even if only a few houses in a subdivision were ultimately sold with FHA or VA loans. Additionally, builders and developers often sought the help of local planners and government officials to put the necessary planning, zoning, and subdivision regulations into place to help them meet FHA regulations.[16] So prominent were the FHA guidelines that they remained the standards of developers and home buyers long after the federal policies surrounding these programs had changed.

First published in the 1930s, the FHA Underwriting Manual regulated FHA developments throughout the post-war housing boom. The FHA followed their initial publication with a series of works between 1936 and 1940 including Subdivision Development, Planning Neighborhoods for Small Houses, Planning Profitable Neighborhoods, and Successful Subdivisions. FHA guidelines encouraged homogeneous, single-family neighborhoods with curvilinear streets where possible, commercial centers located at the periphery of the neighborhood, and racial segregation. These ideals of the FHA were often manifested in the form of restrictive covenants placed on neighborhoods at the time of their development.

Transitional subdivisions, built from c.1935 to c.1955, are so named because of their intermediate status in age, location, and design. The "late 1940s Transitional Subdivision," also referred to as tract subdivisions, was first defined by Charlotte historians Wyatt and Woodard. A direct response to the post-war housing shortage, it refers primarily to the style of homes, the Cape Cod and Minimal Traditional style homes that bridge the architectural gap between the bungalows and cottages of the 1920s and 1930s and the Ranch houses that dominated the landscape of the 1950s and 1960s. The transitional subdivision tends to be homogeneous in form and detail with generally small 2- or 3-bedroom houses in the Cape Cod or Minimal Traditional styles. The term transitional subdivision may also refer to the view of these buildings, not as permanent homes, but as short-term solutions to the housing shortage of the 1940s.

The transitional subdivision was defined as much by its layout and spatial experience as by its architectural style. Generally intended for speculative housing, it followed FHA guidelines for construction, but not necessarily their plans for curvilinear street patterns. Capitol Heights, a typical transitional subdivision, was laid out along a grid plan with small lots at the edge of the pre-war city, in this case the northeast edge of Raleigh.[17] The need for rapid, mass-produced housing and the guidelines set forth by the FHA led to the grid development and streamlined design and construction methods of these formulaic subdivisions.

While the arrangement of transitional subdivision was likely a direct result of FHA regulations and recommendations, the restrictive covenants placed on a neighborhood was equally as influential. Like the FHA guidelines, which emphasized homogeneity rather than diversity and encouraged single-family housing over small-scale rental housing, the covenants enacted by Kelly and Wynne in August of 1946 restricted the lots and setbacks, buildings, and racial composition of the neighborhood. The FHA encouraged the use of restrictive covenants, noting that they, "have been found from many years of experience to be an essential instrument in maintaining stability, permanence, character, and desirability in community development."[18] The covenants for the Capitol Heights neighborhood were certainly influenced by the FHA guidelines as some components of the covenants were taken word-for-word from the Community Builder's Handbook. The majority of the points addressed in the covenants dealt with the construction and setbacks of homes in the neighborhood. Buildings were restricted to "one detached single-family dwelling not to exceed 2 stories in height and a private garage for not more than 2 cars which may include servants quarters." Houses were to be a minimum of 30 feet from the front of the lot and on lots sized no smaller than 6,000 square feet. All of the lots in Capitol Heights met this requirement with most lots measuring 60 feet wide by 100 feet deep.

The restrictive covenants placed on the Capitol Heights development also dealt with the "adverse influences" noted by the FHA guidelines. Some of the restrictions were clear and enforceable, including restrictions against the use of any building or structure (including tents, shacks, and trailers) other than the primary residence, as a residence by any person. Other conditions were more vague: "no noxious or offensive trade or activity shall be carried on upon any lot nor shall anything be done thereon which may be or become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood." The final condition of the covenants addressed the racial conformity of the neighborhood, restricting against persons of anything other than the Caucasian race, unless employed as domestic servants.[19] In 1948, the NAACP lobbied the U.S. Supreme Court to declare racial deed restrictions unconstitutional; however, the existing covenants (including the 1946 covenants written for Capitol Heights) remained in effect until their prescribed expirations, in this case until January of 1971.[20]

While the restrictive covenants dictated the racial profile of the Capitol Heights neighborhood, the utilization of FHA or VA loans dictated its socio-economic make-up in its earliest years. 62 percent of the original property owners served in the U.S. Army with veterans of the other branches certainly present as well. After the war, residents held working-class positions as salesman, repairmen, and drivers. While several original occupants remain in the neighborhood, for most, these small houses served as starter homes for families formed during and immediately after the war. The location, low-cost, and small size of homes in the neighborhood continue to attract young professionals and small families to the neighborhood today. Additionally, after the restrictive covenants expired in January of 1971, the neighborhood diversified racially. Current data for the neighborhood indicates that most residents are in their thirties, there are no current members of the armed forces, and more than half of its residents are African American.[21]

Exceptions to the protective covenants were given to lots 1 through 13, which were reserved for commercial development, as noted in the covenants. The FHA had clear regulations regarding commercial properties, but most of their recommendations were for commercial developments serving communities of 500 families or more. However, their general interpretation of commercial properties as related to residential developments is still applicable to Capitol Heights. The FHA recommended that commercial properties, including corner groceries, be relegated to commercial centers and that "areas allocated to non-residential uses within the neighborhood should not exceed...3-5 percent in the shopping center" and should be in close proximity to major thoroughfares.[22] Kelly and Wynne were certainly familiar with FHA guidelines and when Capitol Heights was platted, the far west end of the plat, bordering on and facing Brookside Drive, was reserved for small-scale commercial development. The site represents a small percentage of the neighborhood, is accessed by Glascock Street, and faces away from the residential development. The shopping center has undergone significant rehabilitation and reconstruction in recent years and is not included in the historic district; however, the fact that a commercial center was planned for the neighborhood from the beginning further attests to the fact that the entire neighborhood was platted and designed according to the recommendations of the FHA.

Because of readily available financing, streamlined methods of construction, and an unprecedented demand for housing, builders acquired large tracts of land, laid out neighborhoods according to FHA principles, and rapidly constructed large numbers of homes. The FHA encouraged developers to engage in low-risk projects, a policy that led to the construction of traditional house forms and styles rather than pursuing the emerging trend toward modern architecture. Additionally, FHA policies institutionalized the preference for mass production and efficiency.[23]

Architectural Context

Capitol Heights, like other transitional subdivisions, was homogeneous in design with a cohesive architectural ensemble of late-1940s Minimal Traditional style houses that represents one of the best-preserved collections of post-World War II housing in Raleigh. The restrictive covenants placed on Capitol Height influenced the design of housing by indicating that homes were to cost a minimum of $4,000 and to be no less than 750 square feet (excluding porches and garages) for a 1-story house. These types of covenants were typical of development that followed FHA guidelines. The FHA did not recommend specific styles, but did recommend homogeneity in design and scale, noting that "low or rambling ranch type houses near high-priced 2-story dwellings has been found objectionable in some areas."[24] They also recommend that single-family housing not be intermingled with rental housing.

The economic environment of the Depression, the patriotism of World War II, and the massive housing shortage after the war all combined to create a desire for economically efficient homes that appealed to Americans' nostalgia and practicality. The Minimal Traditional style fulfilled the builder's need for efficiency and the homeowner's desire for a practical, traditional home. The resulting houses were generally small, 2- or 3-bedroom houses, similar to the 1947 Cape Cod or Minimal Traditional style homes in Levittown, Pennsylvania. They were generally a side-gabled, 1- or 1-1/2-story frame house, often with a front-facing gable, and often with little ornamentation beyond the multi-pane double-hung windows. The FHA recommended the homes include modern kitchens and laundry facilities, plenty of storage, and that porches be constructed at the side or rear of the home, as the increase in automobile and other street traffic negatively impact the "pleasant living" and privacy of the porch.[25] The transitional subdivision and the Minimal Traditional-style house illustrated a shift in architecture from the bungalows and cottages of the pre-war era to the Ranch houses of the 1950s.

The homogeneity of design in the Capitol Heights neighborhood can be attributed to the popularity and efficiency of the Minimal Traditional design, FHA guidelines for home construction, trends toward mass production, and the fact that the houses were constructed by only 3 builders. While houses throughout the neighborhood certainly followed several specific patterns, it clearly illustrates the work of the different builders; the influence of pattern books cannot be verified for this district.

The Wright Construction Company erected the majority of houses in the district and while they certainly repeated forms and details, it was with less regularity than the Curtis and Clancy Construction Companies. Typical of the Minimal Traditional style, their houses are 1-story structures, generally 2 or 3 bays wide and double-pile with side-gabled roofs. The houses are of frame construction sheathed with brick veneer or asbestos siding; wood siding was rare in the district. The houses originally had wood double-hung windows in a 6-over-6 or 8-over-8 double-hung sash configuration. For the most part, entrances were located either on the facade or within a block projecting from one side of the structure. Original porches, where they exist, are small, with concrete floors and roofs supported by wood or metal posts. Inside, the homes generally contained a living room, kitchen, 2 or 3 bedrooms, and a single bath.

In 1949, the Curtis Construction Company was responsible for the construction of 11 homes on the west half of Penn Road. These homes are identical in form, each a 2-bay wide side-gabled structure with a 1-bay wide, hip- or gable-roofed block on one end that is set back from the facade of the building and usually contains the main entrance to the house. Most of the houses have a small entrance stoop in front of this recessed bay with an aluminum awning or modern roof sheltering the entrance. Original windows, where they remain, are 6-over-6 wood double-hung sash windows. Larger stationary sashes flanked by multi-light casement windows are typical on the facade of the building.

Homes on the south side of Tyler Road were also constructed by the Curtis Construction Company in 1949. The 1-story homes are 3 bays wide and double-pile with side-gabled roofs and gabled rear ells. These homes also had metal casement windows and entrances centered on the facade, generally under a projecting gabled roof supported by knee brackets or slender posts. Unlike the other homes in the neighborhood, the houses are of concrete-block construction and most retain exposed and painted concrete block as the primary exterior material with wood weatherboards in the gables.

In 1948 and 1949, Clancy & Scott, Inc., later renamed the Clancy Construction Company, erected a series of homes on the east end of Tyler, Hamilton, and Van Buren roads, along North State Street. These homes do not display the cohesiveness of form and detail of those constructed by the Curtis Construction Company. However, they were predominantly 3-bay wide, double-pile, side-gabled structures, sometimes with a projecting bay on one end. The houses had 8-over-8 or 6-over-6 wood sash windows and asbestos siding. Several homes have small, projecting gables sheltering the entrance, supported by knee brackets or slender posts. However, more common is a projecting gabled front porch on one end of the facade, supported by square or decorative metal posts.

In 1949, the Clancy Construction Company built 10 homes on the east end of Penn Road (from 711 to 720 Penn Road). These homes were nearly identical in form and detail and their L-shaped form shows the builder's ability to vary the position and orientation of a single house form in order to lend visual interest to a street. All of these homes are currently covered with vinyl or aluminum siding and the original siding material is unknown. Entrances are generally located at the intersection of the two gables and sometimes sheltered by a shed-roofed extension of the main roof. A second entrance inset into the corner of the longer of the two gabled sections is treated as a primary entrance when that gable faces the street and a secondary entrance when the section runs parallel to the street. Windows were most likely 6-over-6 wood sash windows throughout, though only a few original windows remain. Several of these homes have single-pane fixed windows facing the street, a feature that is likely original to the homes.

The City of Raleigh, like most urban areas, was transformed after World War II; the population doubled, the area within the city limits and the number of industrial businesses tripled, and over 7,500 homes were built within the city limits. The FHA and VA programs revolutionized the housing market throughout the country, which reached successive new all-time highs in 1948 and 1949.[26] Almost a quarter of the new houses constructed in the United States during the 1940s to 1960s received FHA or VA subsidies and by 1956, the VA had guaranteed 5.9 million home loans totaling $50.1 billion.[27] While these numbers are impressive, they do not fully explain the far-reaching impact that FHA and VA policies had. While only a few houses in a particular development might be sold using FHA loans, in order to sell even one house in this manner, the whole development had to meet FHA standards. Furthermore, it is believed that through market competition, the liberal terms of the VA loans spread to conventional mortgages, thus affecting home-buyers beyond the VA programs.[28]

Despite Raleigh's continued growth in the second half of the twentieth century, the Capitol Heights neighborhood remains largely intact and represents one of the best-preserved post-war speculative subdivisions in Raleigh. While many of the Minimal Traditional style houses have experienced some level of alteration, from the installation of vinyl or aluminum siding, to the replacement of original wood windows, the overall form and integrity of the housing remains. The neighborhood illustrates the principles of housing and community development espoused by the FHA and VA programs in the years immediately following World War II.

Endnotes

  1. Ames, David & Linda McClelland. Historic Residential Suburbs. National Register Bulletin, NPS 2002, pg.48.
  2. Ames, pg. 31.
  3. Hanchett, Thomas W. "Federal Incentives and the Growth of Local Planning, 1941-1948," Journal of the American Planning Association. Spring 1994: 197-208, pg.5
  4. United States Department of Veterans Affairs. www1.va.gov/opa/feature/history/history4.asp. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  5. Brown, Tripp (Brown Investment Properties, Inc). Personal Interview, 9 November 2009.
  6. Jackson, Kenneth. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, pg. 232.
  7. Jackson, pg. 232.
  8. Jackson, pg. 233.
  9. Wyatt, Sherry Joines and Sarah Woodard. "Post World War Two Survey." www.cmhpf.org/postww2survey.htm. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  10. Ames, pg. 29.
  11. Cutler, Scott (Clancy & Theys Construction Company). Personal Interview, 13 November 2009.
  12. Cutler.
  13. Brown.
  14. Brown.
  15. Brown.
  16. Hanchett, pg. 6.
  17. Little, M. Ruth. "Post-World War II and Modern Architecture in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1945-1965." Multiple Property Documentation Form. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 2009.
  18. The Community Builders Handbook. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 1947, p.89.
  19. Wake County Register of Deeds, book 948, page 288-290.
  20. Hanchett, Thomas W. "The Other 'Subsidized Housing:' Federal Aid to Suburbanization, 1940s-1960s," Journal of Housing and Community Development. January/February 2001: 19-22, 42-49, pg.48.
  21. City-Data. www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Capitol-Heights-Raleigh-NC.html. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  22. The Community Builders Handbook. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 1947, p.51.
  23. Wyatt.
  24. he Community Builders Handbook. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 1947, p.87.
  25. The Community Builders Handbook. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 1947, p.88.
  26. "Legislative History of the VA Home Loan Guarantee Program." United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 2008, pg. 4
  27. United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  28. Legislative History, pg. 2.

References

Ames, David & Linda McClelland. Historic Residential Suburbs. National Register Bulletin, NPS, 2002.

Bishir, Catherine and Larry Early. Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina: Essays on History, Architecture, and Planning. Raleigh: Archaeology and Historic Preservation Section, Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.

Brown, Tripp (Brown Investment Properties, Inc). Personal Interview with author, 9 November 2009.

City-Data. www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Capitol-Heights-Raleigh-NC.html. Accessed 11 November 2009.

Clark, Clifford Edward, Jr. American Family Home, 1800-1960. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1986.

The Community Builders Handbook. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 1947.

Cutler, Scott (Clancy & Theys Construction Company). Personal Interview with author, 13 November 2009.

"Federal Benefits Available to Veterans and their Dependents." Veterans Administration Information Services, 1957.

Hanchett, Thomas W. "Federal Incentives and the Growth of Local Planning, 1941-1948." Journal of the American Planning Association. Spring 1994: 197-208.

Hanchett, Thomas W. "The Other 'Subsidized Housing:' Federal Aid to Suburbanization, 1940s- 1960s." Journal of Housing and Community Development. January/February 2001: 19- 22, 42-49.

Hill City Directories. Raleigh, North Carolina. 1945-1960. Copies at the Olivia Raney Local History Library.

Jackson, Kenneth. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

"Legislative History of the VA Home Loan Guarantee Program." United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 2008.

Little, M. Ruth. "Post-World War II and Modern Architecture in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1945- 1965." Multiple Property Documentation Form. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 2009.

The National Archives: Army Enlistment Records. aad.archives.gov/aad/. Accessed 11 November 2009.

Nicolaides, Becky. Suburb Reader. CRC Press, 2006.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs. www1.va.gov/opa/feature/history/history4.asp. Accessed 11 November 2009.

Wake County Register of Deeds.

Wyatt, Sherry Jones and Sarah Woodard. "Post World War Two Survey." www.cmhpf.org/postww2survey.htm. Accessed 11 November 2009.

† Heather M. Wagner, for Raleigh Historic Districts Commission, Capitol Heights Historic District, Wake County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2009, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Capitol Heights Historic District Map

Street Names
Glascock Street • Hamilton Road • Monroe Drive • Penn Road • State Street North • Tyler Road • Van Buren Road

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