Historic Oakwood

November 5, 2023

Experience the allure of Historic Oakwood, near downtown Raleigh, NC. Explore timeless homes and a rich history in this picturesque neighborhood.
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Historic Oakwood is one of Raleigh's oldest and most cherished neighborhoods, with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. This vibrant community was initially developed as a residential area for Raleigh's elite, featuring grand Victorian-style homes and tree-lined streets. Over the years, Historic Oakwood has undergone careful preservation efforts, maintaining its architectural integrity and charm while adapting to modern living.

Historic Oakwood Overview

Historic Oakwood is a testament to the city's rich history and vibrant community spirit. Designated on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as Raleigh's first local Historic District, Historic Oakwood is a neighborhood that boasts a collection of homes from the nineteenth century, showcasing a variety of architectural styles. These homes have been meticulously restored to preserve their original grandeur, reflecting the residents' passion for maintaining the historic essence of their community. The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood (SPHO) has been pivotal in these preservation efforts, ensuring that the neighborhood's architectural and cultural heritage remains intact for future generations.

Oakwood's History

After the Civil War ended, Oakwood was nothing more than open fields and forests. In April 1865, it even served as a campground for General William Tecumseh Sherman and his troops. But soon after, the area got divided into parcels and sold to some of Raleigh's prominent citizens, like J.M. Heck, Richard Stanhope Pullen, W.C. Stronach, and Thomas H. Briggs. Many of the stately homes built in Oakwood during the late 1800s reflect the tastes and lifestyles of Raleigh's upper-middle class at the time. The neighborhood is also home to several Victorian-style houses constructed between the 1890s and 1910.

Home Sizes and Lot Sizes

Homes in Historic Oakwood vary greatly in size and style, offering potential homeowners a wide range of options. Many of the properties feature large, stately homes ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet, with some even exceeding 6,000 square feet. These grand residences sit on generous lots, typically ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 acres, providing ample outdoor space and privacy. From cozy Victorian cottages to grand Queen Anne-style mansions, the neighborhood caters to diverse tastes and preferences. The lot sizes also vary, providing ample space for beautiful gardens and outdoor living areas, which many residents take pride in maintaining.

Oakwood's Architectural Allure

A walking tour through Oakwood unveils the neighborhood's diverse architectural styles. You'll find Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Neoclassical homes nestled along the shady streets. Some of the most notable estates include the Briggs-Ransom House, the Heck-Andrews House, the Tucker House, the Haywood Hall House, and the Pope House Museum. Each has its own unique story and design.

Historic Oakwood Neighborhoods

Oakwood consists of two main neighborhoods - the Original Oakwood Historic District and the Oakwood Extension Historic District. The Original District contains Oakwood's oldest homes built primarily between 1865 and 1915. This section includes notable thoroughfares like Bloodworth Street, Linden Avenue, and Oakwood Avenue. The Extension District expanded Oakwood's boundaries in the early 20th century. Homes here reflect later architectural styles like Craftsman bungalows. Elm Street, Polk Street, and New Bern Avenue are the main drags in this neighborhood.

Historic Oakwood's Amenities

Oakwood is an ideal spot for a stroll on a sunny afternoon. Download a free walking tour brochure from the Historic Oakwood website to guide your adventure. The map includes brief histories of many of the homes. Don't miss Oakwood's signature event - the annual Candlelight Tour each December. For nearly 50 years, Oakwood residents have opened their homes dressed in holiday splendor for this special ticketed tour. After exploring Oakwood's charming streets, refuel at one of the nearby restaurants. Side Street Restaurant offers hearty sandwiches perfect for takeout picnics. Gringo A Go Go's patio has delicious tacos and Mexican fare. And the Transfer Co. Food Hall provides an abundance of quick bites all under one roof.

Community Lifestyle

Historic Oakwood offers a unique and vibrant community lifestyle that blends the charm of the past with the conveniences of the present. Residents enjoy a strong sense of community, with frequent neighborhood events, such as the annual Oakwood Candlelight Tour, where homeowners open their doors to showcase the area's architectural gems. The neighborhood's tree-lined streets and well-maintained sidewalks create a pedestrian-friendly environment, encouraging residents to explore the area on foot or by bike.

Outdoor Spaces and Recreational Amenities

The neighborhood's quiet streets, lined with sidewalks and trees, make Historic Oakwood an ideal place for walking tours and outdoor activities. The nearby Historic Oakwood Cemetery, with its 72 acres of serene landscapes, serves as a noble resting place and a source of tranquility for visitors. While Historic Oakwood itself does not have a dedicated community park, residents have easy access to several nearby green spaces. The Oakwood Commons, a charming pocket park, provides a tranquil retreat within the neighborhood. Additionally, the nearby Pullen Park, one of the oldest public parks in North Carolina, offers a variety of recreational amenities, including a carousel, train rides, and playgrounds.

Top Restaurants Near Oakwood

Historic Oakwood and its surrounding areas offer a diverse and delectable dining scene, catering to every taste and craving. Whether you're seeking a casual breakfast spot, a lively lunch destination, or an upscale dinner experience, this neighborhood has something to satisfy your palate.

Breakfast and Brunch:

  • Big Ed's City Market Restaurant - This beloved local institution serves up classic Southern breakfast fare, including fluffy biscuits, crispy fried chicken, and generous portions that keep customers coming back. The friendly service adds to the charm of this Raleigh staple.
  • Irregardless Cafe - Since 1975, this casual cafe has been winning over visitors with its charming patio and delicious morning meals. Don't miss their famous cheese grits and bread pudding french toast.


  • The Pit - For an authentic North Carolina barbecue experience, head to The Pit. This laid-back spot smokes brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and chicken over hickory wood, creating mouthwatering flavors. Be sure to try the smoked turkey sandwich and their famous hushpuppies.
  • Bida Manda - Named one of the South's best new restaurants by Southern Living, Bida Manda wows with its Laotian cuisine. The pork belly steamed buns, papaya salad, and curry noodle bowls are all must-orders for those seeking a unique and flavorful dining experience.


  • Death & Taxes - This upscale restaurant crafts beautiful seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients. The duck breast with farro risotto and the NC trout consistently receive glowing reviews from patrons.
  • Stanbury - Creative small plates shine at this airy downtown restaurant. Highlights include the roasted bone marrow, foie gras torchon, and any of the handmade pastas. Don't skip dessert – the chocolate terrine is a sublime way to end your meal.

With its diverse array of culinary offerings, Historic Oakwood and its surrounding areas cater to every palate, ensuring that residents and visitors alike can indulge in a memorable dining experience.

Shopping and Entertainment near Historic Oakwood

In addition to its culinary delights, Historic Oakwood and the surrounding areas offer a variety of shopping and entertainment options. The nearby Glenwood South district is a vibrant hub of boutiques, galleries, and nightlife, while the North Hills area features upscale shopping and dining experiences. For those seeking cultural enrichment, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts are just a short drive away. The community's proximity to downtown Raleigh ensures that residents have easy access to a wide range of shopping and entertainment options. From boutique shops to cultural venues, Historic Oakwood offers a rich and varied lifestyle.

Historic Oakwood's Location Overview

Oakwood offers easy access to all three vertices of North Carolina's famed Research Triangle region. Visitors can easily explore the area's top universities, sports, and cultural attractions.

Highway Access

Historic Oakwood enjoys excellent highway access, making it convenient for commuters and travelers alike. The neighborhood is located just minutes away from Interstate I-440, also known as the Raleigh Beltline, which provides direct access to major highways such as I-40 and I-540. This connectivity ensures easy travel to various parts of the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area and beyond.

Commute Times and Suggested Routes

The location of Historic Oakwood offers convenient commute times to several major employment and transportation hubs in the area:

  • RDU Airport: Approximately 15 miles (20-25 minutes via I-440 and I-40)
  • Downtown Durham: Approximately 25 miles (30-40 minutes via I-440 and I-40)
  • Downtown Raleigh: Approximately 2 miles (5-10 minutes via Glenwood Ave or Hillsborough St)
  • Research Triangle Park (RTP): Approximately 20 miles (25-35 minutes via I-440 and I-40)

For those commuting to RDU Airport, the recommended route is to take I-440 West and merge onto I-40 West, which provides direct access to the airport terminals. For Downtown Durham, taking I-440 East and merging onto I-40 East is the most efficient route. Downtown Raleigh is easily accessible via Glenwood Avenue or Hillsborough Street, both of which offer direct routes into the city center. Finally, for those working in RTP, taking I-440 West and merging onto I-40 West is the preferred route.

Final Thoughts from Tim Clarke

As the founder of the Tim M. Clarke Team, one of the top real estate teams in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area of North Carolina, I highly recommend considering Historic Oakwood for your next home purchase or investment opportunity. This neighborhood offers a unique blend of historical charm, modern amenities, and a vibrant community lifestyle that is truly unmatched.

If you're looking to buy in Historic Oakwood, my advice is to act quickly when the right property becomes available. Due to the neighborhood's desirability and limited inventory, homes in this area tend to move quickly. Work with an experienced real estate professional who can provide you with up-to-the-minute market insights and guidance throughout the process.

For current residents considering selling their Historic Oakwood home, now is an excellent time to capitalize on the strong demand for properties in this sought-after neighborhood. My team and I can help you strategically prepare your home for the market, ensuring it stands out and attracts top-dollar offers.

Lastly, if you're a resident looking to enhance your lifestyle in Historic Oakwood, consider exploring the neighborhood's rich cultural offerings, such as attending local events or joining community organizations. This will not only deepen your connection to the area but also provide opportunities for personal growth and enrichment.

Whether you're a buyer, seller, or resident, I invite you to reach out to the Tim M. Clarke Team for personalized guidance and expertise. Our commitment to integrity, transparency, and exceptional service has earned us a reputation as one of the most trusted real estate teams in the Raleigh-Durham area.

As a Certified Residential Pricing Specialist and a leading agent recognized for numerous awards and positive reviews, I take pride in guiding clients through every step of the real estate process. My team and I will work tirelessly to ensure that your experience in Historic Oakwood, or any other neighborhood in the Triangle, is seamless and rewarding. Contact us today to start the conversation!

Listings in Historic Oakwood

**NOTE: If you're not seeing any listings, then currently there are no available homes in this community.**

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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