The week of Labor Day was only a 3 day school week for the kids, as Friday the 6th was a teacher workday. So, the kids and I explored a little. Mordecai Historic Park contains the oldest house in Raleigh, the original part of which was built in 1785. I’m a history lover, and hope to instill this in my kids, so I’d already been wanting to visit for a couple of weeks before a long boring Friday presented itself.
I didn’t know I’d drained my ‘big mama’ camera’s battery, and was disappointed that it completely refused to turn on when we arrived. As a result, I took all the following with my phone. Insta-photos. My phone lens is nearly always smudgy, too. I am also quite the salesperson, no? ;)
The front of the house is the actually the addition dating to 1826. The upper porch was a sleeping porch in the summer months with an atrium the large doors visible in this photos opened to and it contains original wicker furniture meant for airflow to give comfort to the family members on hot nights.
The house is full of original family books and furniture—about 80% are truly family belongings with the remainder purchased as examples of period items.
The quilt above was made by a Mordecai woman by hand. Something that interested me is that the family name is not pronounced as you might expect. It’s Mor-duh-key. I had wondered if it was a strange local accent, but discovered it’s actually because Moses Mordecai was from a prominent Jewish family from another town, and it seems the marriage between him, and Peggy Lane (of the family that originally built the home) caused strain in the Episcopalian Lane family. Moses altered the pronunciation of his last name at some point, and it’s believed is was to alleviate family discord. Nevertheless, as all the Lane children were women, the house was given to Peggy and Moses as a wedding present and it remained in the Mordecai family until the 1940s when the City of Raleigh bought the remaining land and house.
You had better believe this once-co-sleeping mama made sure to point out to the kids that, see!, everyone used to keep their babies close.
There are a lot of buildings places near the Mordecai house, but they’ve been moved from throughout Raleigh, adding a village feel.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President, was born in this house, but it originally stood a few blocks away on Fayetteville Street. The picture does not do its smallness justice.
There also is what’s called the Old Post Office, but all that is known for certain from paint and architectural analysis is it was some form of government office and dates to 1847. Once again one of three of my children cooperate for my photo. Oh well. ;)
I plan to take the kids to visit more of these old historic sites throughout the area as we have time, and Paul really wants to take the kids to either a Civil War or Revolutionary War reenactment sometime, too. I’m personally pushing for Revolutionary War because it makes it easier to decide for whom to root, ha ha, but either would be a really memorable experience!