Just Look Up!

A walk leader in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A. asks: What if we paused, when out on the streets of our city, and just looked up? What would we see?

Lauren Pritchett, April 22, 2014

Photos by Lauren Pritchett.

 

We often travel the same streets every day to report to work, to meet a friend for coffee, or to get to class on time. But rarely do we remove the blinders of our hustle and bustle and actually take notice of what is on the streets. What if we just looked up? What would we see?

Raleigh, North Carolina is a small but solid city that ranks highly on many national “Best of” lists in reputable sources from Forbes to Food & Wine. As the capital of the state, Raleigh offers a plethora of tourist attractions and lucrative job opportunities, making it an appealing destination for visitors and residents alike. Because it was not always the most desirable city, this humble metropolis is accustomed to being overshadowed by regional counterparts like Charleston, Atlanta, and Richmond. What many people may not realize is that Raleigh also offers the historic charm you’d expect from a Southern city. The streets that we Raleighites frequent are lined with architectural gems that tell the story of what came before. It’s amazing what we notice if we just look up!

 

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The Heilig-Levine Building.

I’ve lived in the area most of my life, but I really started to become intrigued by Raleigh’s history when I bought my own little plot of the city near downtown. Said plot features a quaint brick bungalow built in 1940. I pondered, “Wow, this little old house has seen a lot! I wonder what Raleigh looked like 75 years ago?” From there, I began researching my city by browsing digital state archives, talking to neighbors, reading books and blogs, and attending free urban development seminars.

I also started to look up. I had admired downtown Raleigh’s skyline from afar (there are many great views throughout the city), but when I got up close and personal with the commercial buildings at street level, I noticed the many striking intricacies each structure possessed. These architectural details are unassuming in our daily lives, but they represent the city’s economic and cultural past. Examining our brick-and-mortar roots together on a Jane’s Walk will help us plan for a successful future.

Jane’s Walk is providing the perfect venue for the City of Oaks to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with the one another. When one neighbor shares his or her story with a few others, the advocacy for Raleigh’s community spreads like wildfire. This inaugural event is sure to be a weekend full of inspiration and curiosity.


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The Odd Fellows Building.

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