306 Brooks Avenue,
home of Donna Carver and Dave Close
Our Home – “The Moore House”
Our home, situated at 306 Brooks Avenue, was built in 1928 by George and Nellie Moore. Mr. Moore was a steel worker at Raleigh Iron Works Co. located at the corner of Hargett and West Streets. Raleigh Iron Works produced a number of products, one being boilers. Our home has a working boiler, albeit not the original one, that we use to generate steam for the radiators. For us the boiler is an integral part of our lives (winter only) and is a source of warmth and wonder. In 1965, Mrs. Moore was joined in residence by the Russell Herman family and they shared the house at 306 until 1982. Neighborhood residents recall that the Hermans’ had five children and they all enjoyed running through the house playing tag and hide and seek.
Robert and Fair Wright took ownership of the house in 1982. They renovated the house; improving plaster, updating electrical, and adding central air conditioning. Robert designed and built the two car garage in 1991, including a studio above where he conducted his architectural business. The Wrights raised a daughter at 306, and she showed us the house when we first looked at it in 1996. She did not want her mother to sell the property, but if it had to be sold she wanted a family to live in her childhood home. We fell in love with the house and moved in on Halloween 1996, bringing two children with us. Soon after, we had our third child and the house once again became a wonderful place for watching and hearing children run and play.
Our first order of business upon moving in was to update the plumbing, one of those costly projects that provide no visible evidence of improvement. With dogs and children, we decided to fence the front yard, and had our “black cemetery fence” installed. The fence was a visible testament to our improvement of the property, but it did not keep dogs or toddlers in the yard. This predicament forced us to invest in a lot of chicken wire which we strung along the wrought iron fence, rendering it less than stately.
We replaced the side porch in 2014 and restored it to the style of the original home. We have done very few other projects but plan to redesign and transform the kitchen this summer.
This home is about the neighborhood. Our children grew up here, going to FAO, Martin and Broughton. We often referred to the house as “Camp Brooks,” as the boys often had friends running about. We have made lasting friendships here, we have seen neighbors come and go and for the most part they enhanced our lives. Older people such as Margaret Massey, Isabella Cannon and Gina Zweigart walked by the front fence often, and became a part of our children’s lives. When we moved to 306 our block was largely inhabited by widows, women who were a part of the history of University Park. Many of their homes are rentals now, but there is evidence of young families moving into the area, so that we can continue to hear the laughter of children.