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Memory Lane

Since printing its first college catalog, the university has talked up the fact that it’s located on a major thoroughfare.

Prospective students for the inaugural class of 1889 learned that the one-building campus was “situated on a commanding eminence on the Hillsboro road, one of the principal highways into Raleigh.”

Now known as Hillsborough Street, the road has evolved to fit the times, from dirt road to modern streetscape.

Digging up the Past

A $9.9 million overhaul of Hillsborough Street, completed in time for the fall semester, provided some clues to the area’s storied history.

Construction crews found evidence of trolley tracks and decades-old sidewalks along the eight-block stretch from Oberlin west to Gardner as they installed underground utilities, wide brick sidewalks and center medians for pedestrians. The two-lane makeover includes two roundabouts for smoother traffic flow, added parking, better lighting, fresh landscaping and a brand-new NC State entrance near the Belltower.

Hillsborough Street’s history goes back to 1792, when it was included on the original plans for the city. The dirt lane suitable for a college cross country race in 1910 became a bustling street. Mule teams and streetcars gave way to tens of thousands of vehicles whizzing by each day.

Care to take a walk down memory lane? Check out our gallery of Hillsborough Street, past and present.

Responses (6 Comments)

  • John Martin

    Cool pictures over the years! Thanks for sharing those!

  • John C. Hill

    I relived a part of my youth in the those old photos of Hillsborough Street for several reasons. First I am a Raleigh “native,” born and raised in Raleigh, as well as a NC State Alumni, Class of 1963. As I looked at these old photos I could pick out the house across from Winston Hall where my Grandparents and Aunt lived for about 7 years – and ran a florist shop that the Beta Beta TKEs used to buy flowers for our “sweethearts.” The Teke House was just a block over from Hillsborough Street on Clark Ave and we used Horne to get to the House from Campus. One photo shows the old College Inn which we used to frequent to quake a brew and enjoy a grilled sandwich when we had an dollar-most often after we Advanced ROTC Cadets got our monthly stipend of $25! The proprietor, Red, would join us on a Friday or Saturday for a brew from our basement bar. I have a number of memories about returning to campus and crossing Hillsborough Street – mostly about the traffic, and our impatience with speeding drivers! Once, a group of us were blocked by a little old lady in a big Buick that blocked our path back to campus by stoping in the cross walk at the Horne Ave intersection. We simply opened her rear door and 10 guys traversed her back seat to get to class. Her expression of total surprise and disbelief was classic.

  • Merideth Gothard Lovejoy, Design 1974

    Wow! Thanks for the photos (even though the 2nd line of caption was cut off). I recall seeing the show listed on the theater marquee in the 1970 pic. It was a bore. And before Sadlack’s was a super little ethnic place that served middle eastern food. YUM!

  • Tom Heldreth

    I used to spend hours in the D.H. Library Archives and old yearbooks viewing historic photos of the NCSU campus. They fascinated and mesmerized me, and these pictures have reawakened an interest that I have long neglected. THANK YOU so much for assembling these fantastic images for us. My years at NCSU were the best of my life, and I applaud your efforts in saluting the history of my favorite institution.

  • Tom Heldreth

    P.S. Kudos and thanks to Jason Ronallo for that link to “Historic State.” I was not aware of its existence, and it is a wonderfully comprehensive resource for all those searching for images from nearly every decade and topic you could possibly imagine. WOW! I also enjoyed John C. Hill’s reflections on his years at State. Thank you for sharing! :-D

    Tom Heldreth
    Class of 1980

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