Raleigh village built by former slaves is fast disappearing, but not these two houses

Oberlin Village, the community formed by former slaves after the Civil War that once stretched two miles along its namesake road, has been shrinking for decades, enveloped by a growing city and muscled under by office buildings, apartments and stores.

But two houses that have managed to survive are being saved and restored, thanks to Preservation North Carolina. The statewide organization that protects and celebrates old buildings is acquiring homes built by two of Oberlin Village’s most prominent families and turning them into its new headquarters.

To save the houses, Preservation North Carolina had to move them. The home built by Rev. Plummer T. Hall along an unpaved road in the 1880s was only a few feet from busy Oberlin Road and had to be pushed back from the street. The larger, two-story Graves-Fields House, built around the same time about 50 yards down the street, was bought by a developer who plans to put an office building on the site.

So Preservation North Carolina had the Graves-Fields House moved next to the Hall House, where the two historic buildings will be connected by a new basement and an outside deck. Movers rolled the Graves-Fields House through the back parking lot of Oberlin Baptist Church this week, then eased over its new foundation facing Oberlin Road.

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(Raleigh News and Observer, 1/11/19)