A few weeks ago, I visited Historic Oak View County Park here in Raleigh. Despite living just a few miles from the park for over six years, I’d never been! I took advantage of the nice weather to explore.
Beginning in the 1830s, Oak View was a working farm for around 150 years, growing Southern staples like cotton and tobacco. During that time, it belonged to several high-profile families in Wake County, with the county acquiring it in 1984, decades after it ceased being a working farm. By 1984, it was made up of 72 acres of land, a fraction of its former size. Wake County planned an office park on part of the land, used the historic house for storage, and slated 17 acres of the orchard and several historic farm buildings for demolition. The Wake County Historical Society organized a citizens committee to raise funds and several county commissioners became involved with the project to save the park. In 1991, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1995, it became the first historic park in the Wake County park system.
Today, the park is comprised of several historic buildings, a museum, visitor’s center, a Farm History Center, a pecan grove, fruit orchard, and small cemetery.
This is the main house, built around 1855. In the 1940s, a Colonial Revival-style addition was added (to the right of the main structure). Now it’s a small museum!
Inside the library of the main house. Behind me was a fireplace and shelves of old books reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast (on a much smaller scale!)
This is the plank kitchen behind the main house. In the south, kitchens were detached from the main house to eliminate extra heat in the living space. This is the oldest building on the property, having been built in 1825 and served as the house’s kitchen until the 1940s!
One of the barns on the property. You’d never know that the interstate is visible from the park. It feels like you’re away from modern life for a minute.
A bale of cotton beside the cotton gin house. I didn’t take pictures inside the house because it was so dark. You’re able to walk upstairs and downstairs in the house, which I thought was so cool! The cotton gin house was built around 1900 and processed the cotton from Oak View Farm as well as surrounding farms.
And they have livestock! On the day I went, I only saw the chickens but they have goats as well. I was a little sad that I missed the goats but since I live so close (and I really didn’t explore much of the park), I’ll have to go back!
For more information about Historic Oak View County Park, click here!