|Book about Raleigh's Cameron Park to be published|
Cameron Park recently celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its creation as a new and prestigious streetcar suburb located on the old Cameron farm. The neighborhood was platted in 1910, the first houses completed in 1911, and over the next two decades scores of new houses were built for Raleigh's white professional elite. During the 1930s and 1940s construction slowed, and by 1950 the neighborhood was substantially built out. In the coming decades the neighborhood faced numerous threats: flight to the new suburbs, a proposal to build four-lane highway along Peace Street, fraternity and sorority houses, threatened loss of public facilities such as the neighborhood school and fire station, and the erosion of the neighborhood's edges along Hillsborough Street and Clark Ave.
In the 1970s a new generation of urban pioneers started moving into Cameron Park, key among them Al Adams. Al used his considerable legal and political skills to help turn around the decline of the neighborhood. He led an effort to keep Wylie School from closing and stop the highway on Peace. He helped create a neighborhood revolving fund to purchase the most challenging houses in the neighborhood and sell them to new buyers willing to renovate them and move in. Al led the successful effort to downzone the neighborhood to limit houses from being chopped up into student housing, a key victory for Cameron Park and the first downzoning in North Carolina.
Al helped other older neighborhoods in Raleigh and elsewhere in North Carolina address similar problems. Residents of Oakwood tout Al's critical role in stopping the highway that would have obliterated Oakwood and Southeast Raleigh, forever changing the face of downtown Raleigh. Raleigh is one of the few cities in America that doesn't have an interstate highway cutting through the heart of the city, thanks to Al Adams.
Increasingly diverse, Cameron Park is now considered one of the most desirable places to live in the state. The Cameron Park neighborhood and friends of Al seek to publish a brief history of Cameron Park, telling the story of its creation, decline, and rebirth, and dedicate the book to Al with a tribute to his many accomplishments in making Raleigh a better place to live. The softbound book (approximately 75-100 pages) will contain an illustrated narrative about Cameron Park and its residents through its first century. It will be published under the auspices of Preservation North Carolina, which has published numerous books about NC's historic architecture.
Ruth Little, an accomplished researcher and writer (as well as an artist at the Roundabout Collective, at the edge of Cameron Park) will be the author. Ruth has nearly forty years of experience writing about architecture and neighborhoods -- and the social context of their creation and evolution. She's been published by UNC and UVa Presses. She's also renovated several historic houses herself, so she knows first-hand about the joys and tribulations of renovation.
The project will cost about $25,000. Funding will be sought from current and past residents of the neighborhood, as well as friends and admirers of Al. (Al knows about the project and is pleased to be so honored.) Donors of $250 or more will be acknowledged in the book. They may spread their gifts between 2012 and 2013. It is anticipated that the project will take about a year to complete. Tax-deductible contributions may be made to Preservation NC and should be noted as being for the Cameron Park book.
You can download a copy of the sponsor reply form here: Cameron Park Book Sponsor Reply Form, or click here to donate online (please indicate that your donation is for the "Cameron Park Book" in the "company" line of the online donation form). Donors will receive a copy of the book upon publication. Net proceeds from the sale of the book will be used for other projects in Cameron Park, carrying on Al's legacy.
Cameron Park, from a 1911 paperweight advertising the development project.