Our Mission

The mission of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission is to identify, preserve, protect, and promote Raleigh’s historic resources.

Maiden Lane Historic District

Developed 1893 through 1914

A streetcar suburb made more desirable by R. Stanhope Pullen's donation of land for a university and park

The late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century houses along Maiden Lane illustrate the close association of residential development with the establishment of the nearby college and city park. The Maiden Lane district also reflects the streetcar-suburb settlement pattern that Raleigh experienced during the first years of the twentieth century. The streetcar line that extended west along Hillsborough Street (then called Hillsboro Road) encouraged families to live on Maiden Lane in what was then a rural area outside town. Development here predates construction in Raleigh's other western streetcar suburbs, Cameron Park and Boylan Heights, both closer to the city center.

The fine collection of houses also represents the shift in architectural taste from the exuberant Queen Anne style, seen in the twin cottages at 9 and 11 Maiden Lane, to the transitional Queen Anne-Colonial Revival style of the duplexes across the street. The duplexes feature more restrained architectural detail, a characteristic of the later Colonial Revival style, applied to houses with the irregular massing of the earlier Queen Anne style.

Known since the later twentieth century as a student rental neighborhood, Maiden Lane has a history of rental properties mixed with owner-occupied houses.


When surveyor Fendol Bevers filed a plat for Maiden Lane in 1892, the area was far outside the city limits but fronted busy Hillsboro Road, which led west to the seat of Orange County. Two substantial developments across Hillsboro Road made the area attractive: the growing campus of the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (known today as North Carolina State University) and the large swath of parkland donated to the city that became Pullen Park. The earliest houses on Maiden Lane, built in the 1890s, belonged to families associated with the college, including the home of English professor and later college president D. H. Hill. Once Raleigh's streetcar line extended as far as "West Raleigh," as the area was known at the time, a Maiden Lane address became even more attractive. A 1920 expansion of city limits brought Maiden Lane within Raleigh's boundaries.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the street featured a mix of relatively stable owner-occupants along with renters who came and went every few years. In addition to D. H. Hill, who lived at 2 Maiden Lane, another long-time homeowner was John Allen Arey, who headed State's Dairy Extension Service for over thirty years. Arey, known as the "father of the progressive dairy program," lived at 5 Maiden Lane from the mid-1920s through the mid-1960s. Most renters were professors, teachers, business owners, salesmen, or government workers. A few were married male students and their wives and fewer still were working women. Towards the middle of the twentieth century, there were a few single female students renting on Maiden Lane. Today, the houses along Maiden Lane are all student rentals or fraternity houses. This demographic shift happened over two decades beginning in the mid-1960s.


Maiden Lane in the 21st Century

Photo by Michael Zirkle PhotographyPhoto by Michael Zirkle Photography


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