Around this time every year I am reminded just how colorful the Triangle becomes with the arrival of the spring. I make sure I always carry my camera with me as the weather warms up because I never know when I will come across the perfect shot of vibrant spring colors like the purple flowers of an eastern redbud getting ready to leaf out or the blazing red blooms of a azalea bush. Two years ago this week I went out on a quest to find some nice spring shots and I discovered Cameron Park, one of the most amazing historic neighborhoods in the Triangle.
This neighborhood is hands down one of the most beautiful and historic communities in downtown Raleigh. Nestled between Hillsborough Street and the Cameron Village Shopping area Cameron Park has the distinction of being one of Raleigh’s first “planned” suburbs.
It was developed in 1910 on land that was once part of the Duncan Cameron plantation. It quickly became the most exclusive of Raleigh’s three major early 20th century neighborhoods and was designed to attract the upper middle class. It is hard to believe, but back then the lots sold for $1,000 to $2,500. The restrictive covenants on the lots at the time specified that a home within the neighborhood must cost at least $3,000 to build.
While it is located within walking distance of modern day shopping and downtown attractions, the neighborhood is filled with mature trees and landscaping that make it feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The neighborhood features homes with various architectural styles including Queen Anne / Colonial Revivals, along with Georgian, Tudor, and Mission Revivals. The houses are generally larger in size and were upscale for their period (and still are today for that matter).
The topography varies throughout the neighborhood providing different levels of relief with some homes located on flat level lots while other stand above on what appear to be raised terraces that overlooks wooded areas. Three ravines cut through the neighborhood adding to the varied topography of the neighborhood. The feel of the community is further enhanced by the mature trees located throughout the community and the pocket parks set aside to retain the natural setting.
For more details on the history of the Cameron Park Neighborhood check out the Raleigh Historic District Commission’s website for additional information. You can also view the rest of my spring photographs taken in Cameron Park in my flickr photo album.