Our Mission

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


UPDATE: Prince Hall celebrates its 1st anniversary on May 1, 2013!

On April 3, 2012 City Council passed an ordinance designating the city's first Historic Overlay District (HOD) in twenty years. The Prince Hall Historic District is an urban residential area that has been part of an African American neighborhood since at least Reconstruction. The district is situated several blocks southeast of the Capitol, within the boundaries of the original William Christmas plan for Raleigh. Neighboring Shaw University contributed to the area’s vitality during the century following the Civil War, as the university made Raleigh a magnet for African Americans free to settle where they pleased. While most streets in the district are predominantly residential, commercial and institutional buildings are also present, including some landmarks of local African American history. S. Blount Street in particular is essentially a commercial corridor within the neighborhood. It is home to the Masonic Temple Building (1907) and the Tupper Memorial Baptist Church (1913), both designated Raleigh Historic Landmarks for their association with African American history. Most surviving residences date to the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while the district’s historic commercial and civic buildings are from the first half of the twentieth century.

During the 15-month public review process, RHDC, the Planning Commission, and City Council's Comprehensive Planning Committee each recommended applying Historic Overlay District zoning to properties located in the proposed district. The properties, zoned Residential Business with Downtown Overlay District, Residential Business District, Neighborhood Business, Neighborhood Business with Downtown Overlay District, and Business with Downtown Overlay District, retain base zoning classifications.

The special character of the district will be maintained through a design review process administered by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. Exterior changes to properties require an approved Certificate of Appropriateness prior to beginning work. Currently, the City recognizes five local historic overlay districts: Blount Street, Boylan Heights, Capitol Square, Moore Square, and Oakwood.

The new HOD took effect May 1.  Click here for information on Certificates of Appropriateness.

The district name was changed from the temprary South Person/South Blount District to Prince Hall on October 16.  A history of the name and how the change ocurred can be found here.


Report and Recommendation

Special Character Essay, Prince Hall Historic Overlay District