Monday, December 21, 2009

My World Tuesday #62: Staying Power

"Family Owned and Operated Since 1874"
Raleigh, NC - November 2009 (Click to embiggen)

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Another shot from the same night as my last two MWT's (The R Line, and The Disco District). The four story red brick building at center frame is now the Raleigh City Museum, a cooperative effort among several non-profit groups. But back in 1874 it was new shiny new Briggs Hardware Co. building, and the tallest building in town. Briggs would retain the title of Raleigh's tallest building until 1907, (though I couldn't tell you what building finally knocked it off that pedestal).

Legend has it that sometime prior to the Union occupation of Raleigh in 1865 Thomas Briggs (the company's already successful founder), saw the writing on the wall and converted all his Confederate bearer notes to gold and silver "hard money". He then selected a distinctive grove of trees and buried the coins there to keep them from falling into the hands of Union soldiers. Then during the occupation, the Union troops set up camp near the grove and cut down all the trees removing the "markers" and making recovering the buried loot ...well... challenging. The legend goes on to say that it took several years before Briggs was able to locate and recover all of the money, by which time the value of gold and silver had presumably risen enabling him to construct his legacy building.

The building continued to house the company until 1995 when the family moved into a new location near the intersection of Six Forks Road and Atlantic Avenue. (Briggs Hardware is still in business, and still wholly owned by the family. How's that for staying power?) The lower floors housed the hardware business, but the upper levels were rented out to a variety of concerns over the years. In the 1890's the Oak City Guard used some of the space for drill practice (that must have made for some interesting shopping experiences) and Raleigh's first YMCA was also housed there at one time (I'm guessing this was before the "Y" had an indoor pool). The building looks pretty much the same today as it did in 1874 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Fittingly, it is now a museum chronicling the history of the city.

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Sylvia K said...

What a great and informative post, Mojo! Love your night shots, too! I always enjoy learning the history of the many locations we see on My World!

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!


Carver said...

Great shot and a very interesting post. Cheers, Carver

Guy D said...

Great post as always Mojo, beautiful building.

All the best
Regina In Pictures

JOE TODD said...

Always enjoy learning a little history of beautiful part of our world

Anonymous said...

Love the black and white shot!

J Bar said...

Good one.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Martha Z said...

An interesting story to go with the lovely old building. It looks like there are many interesting buildings on that street.

Dirkjogt said...

Great picture and an informative posting

Lawstude said...

Fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving gifts are all the buzzwords in a Christmas setting. Make your Christmas a one to cherish for years!