Created as a planned city in 1792, the area now known as Raleigh, N.C., was a handful of sparse settlements as early as the 1760s. Enterprising landholders like Isaac Hunter and Joel Lane owned large tracts of farmland and operated taverns near their homes to accommodate travelers along the main north-south route cutting through central North Carolina. Wake Crossroads, as it was called, provided a foundation for Raleigh's development.
By the late 1780s, North Carolina's general assembly recognized the need for a permanent location to conduct state government. Prior to this, the state capital had been hosted by several existing cities. Rather than select one of these communities, the legislature decided to build a new and more-centrally located city. Eight commissioners were appointed to choose a location for the new capital. On March 30, 1792, they purchased 1,000 acres from Joel Lane and a plan was quickly developed.
The city grew slowly. The original state house, built in 1794, provided a physical location for government business and a center for the community's social life. Over time, a number of inns, taverns, dry-goods stores, coffin houses and brickyards were established to support the burgeoning city. Until the Civil War, these businesses catered mostly to retail customers. Fayetteville Street became Raleigh's commercial core as storefronts began to replace residences along the blocks south of the State Capitol. In addition to downtown commerce, a handful of mills and new ventures, such as the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, completed the composition of the early city.
Raleigh emerged from the Civil War physically unscathed and a new era unfolded. An effort to establish cotton mills and other industries here failed. However, a plethora of family-owned businesses flourished and dominated the downtown. In the 19th century, Raleigh witnessed a wave of publishing enterprises from newspapers and printers to bookbinders. As the century progressed, innovations including the Raleigh Street Railway, a waterworks and electric lights fundamentally altered the city's way of life.
The cemetery, located in a relatively isolated area, contains a large Georgian Revival lodge and is defined by a masonry enclosure wall. Raleigh National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Monuments and Memorials
The Artillery Monument is a black, wrought iron cannon mounted on a cement pedestal donated in the late 1890s.