If you’re looking for a vibrant neighborhood where no two things are exactly the same, Historic Oakwood is for you.
In this neighborhood you’ll find…
- Victorian & 19th-century home styles.
- Variety of home sizes.
- Beautiful gardens.
- Narrow lots.
- Small front yards.
- Large front porches.
- Tree-lined sidewalks.
While narrow lots and small front yards would normally be a ‘con’ to the neighborhood… Oakwood is different: these home features encourage the closeness of community on their large front porches and backyard gardens.
This is the secret to what makes Oakwood District such a vibrant community.
What Makes Historic Oakwood Special
Oldest & Largest Historic District
Historic Oakwood is the largest and oldest historic district in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The 30-block area of Oakwood was developed between the years of 1880-1930.
The neighborhood developed slowly, lot-by-lot, rather than in sections like later suburbs in Raleigh.
This neighborhood is not flat-lined and developed.
The lots in this neighborhood vary in size and shape. They flow with the architectural style to give every lot and home on it a unique look.
A Rich History
Oakwood was developed as the earliest middle-class suburb in Raleigh. The original residents walked to work in downtown Raleigh.
When vehicles allowed people to move into the outer areas of Raleigh, many folks moved out of Oakwood into the more popular neighborhoods of the time.
Because of this shift, many homes were turned into apartment rentals and the properties were not properly cared for.
In 1970, a couple of homes in the neighborhood were renovated and inspired a neighborhood revitalization.
The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood was created out of this excitement to keep the area vibrant and healthy. And several houses in the neighborhood are now recognized as Local Historic Landmarks.
Oakwood is made of a strong and passionate community. One that prioritizes the integrity of the neighborhood.
Unique Housing Styles
Because of how long it took to build out the neighborhood, Oakwood sees a wide range of housing styles.
This place is like the classic southern saying…
“As slow as molasses”
… Well, it made a sweet, sweet molasses of a neighborhood.
You’ll find these architectural styles in Oakwood:
- Second Empire
- Queen Anne
- Minimal Traditional
Things To Do / Living in Oakwood
Historic Oakwood Park & Dog Park
The Oakwood neighborhood park is open to the public year-round and features:
- Dog Park (with separate areas for large and small dogs)
- Picnic Shelter
- Basketball Courts (fully lighted for safety)
- Softball Fields
Tea & Garden Tour
Oakwood hosts an Annual Garden Tour & Tea in May so you can get an inside look at the beautiful neighborhood gardens created by the Oakwood Gardening Club.
Christmas Candlelight Tour
The neighbors host a Candlelight Tour every December and open their private historic homes to the public. Celebrate together in well-loved historic homes!
You can find more information about the Tea & Garden Tour and Candlelight Tour on the neighborhood website.
The Famous ‘Halloween House’
Jesse’s house in Oakwood is well-known for his elaborate Halloween decorations.
From zombie scenes in the yard to snakes falling out of the trees, this is a must-see during Halloween!
Historic Oakwood Cemetery
Founded in 1869 and located in the Oakwood neighborhood.
The Historic Oakwood Cemetery is made up of two areas: the Confederate Cemetery (the original cemetery) and the Hebrew Cemetery (Wake County’s first Jewish Cemetery).
Both plots of land were contributed by a family of Raleigh that many of the nearby local spots are named after: the Mordecai’s.
You can find a self-guided walking tour brochure of Oakwood here.
Things To Do Near Historic Oakwood
Mordecai Historic Park
The land the Mordecai Park sits on was once the spot of the largest plantation in Wake County.
The park is next to the Historic Oakwood neighborhood and features the Mordecai Plantation Manor.
Mordecai Plantation Manor
The manor is a historic landmark and museum in Raleigh. And it’s the centerpiece of the Mordecai Historic Park.
It’s the oldest house in Raleigh on its original foundation!
Fun fact: The Mordecai House was investigated for paranormal activity in an episode of Ghost Hunters (a TV series on Syfy).
The gorgeous residence of the Governor of North Carolina and family.
The first floor is sometimes open to the public (usually during the holidays).
If you live in this neighborhood, you have easy walkable access to ALL of the food, drink, museums, parks, and fun that downtown Raleigh has to offer!
Restaurants Near Historic Oakwood
A couple of key eats within walking distance:
- Transfer Co. Food Hall
- Oakwood Pizza Box
- The Station at Person Street
- Brewery Bhavana
- Beasley’s Chicken + Honey
- The Pit Authentic Barbecue
- Sitti Lebanese
- 42nd St Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill
- J. Betski’s
- Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
Just to name a few.
Not only do you have quick access to some of the best things to do and see in Raleigh…
You can practically travel back in time to Raleigh’s suburban life during the 19th and 20th centuries when you’re in the Historic Oakwood District.
PS. Have you seen our post about all of the historic districts in Raleigh and their housing styles?