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UPHA Events Survey Results

University Park residents like to listen to music  –especially if the concert is outdoors and free.  They groove particularly on jazz, folk, bluegrass, and beach music. But not too late, please!

Those are some of the results from a recent events survey taken by the University Park Homeowners Association. The survey was intended to find out what our neighborhood likes to do with leisure time, and how the UPHA and its partners can better meet the needs of the community. The on-line survey netted a solid 173 responses, and many of the respondents added specific comments that expanded on the multiple choice answers offered by the survey.

UPHA’s respondents were almost unanimous in declaring that they value the neighborhood traditions that grow out of social activities. Their answers offered support for both free and paying concerts, food truck rodeos, farmer’s markets, and theater performances. The survey responses also indicated,  however, that the UPHA community has very few late-night revelers. Sixty one per cent declared they’d prefer events that ended by 9 pm, and only 5% declared themselves “party animals.”

To read more about the survey and get details of the results, click here. (PDF, 12 pages)

July 2015 Home of the Month

405 Dixie Trail
Home of Heather and Tony Spencer

405 Dixie Trail was built in 1999. The lot that it sits on was originally the side yard of its neighboring house, 401 Dixie Trail. The owners of 401 divided the lot, built 405, and moved into this new home. The two houses still share a brick-and-iron fence that dates to 1930.

We purchased the house in May of 2014. Although new to Dixie Trail, we had lived in the neighborhood for seven years on Mayview Rd., where we renovated our first house. When our family grew, and it was time to look for another house, we knew we wanted to stay in University Park.  Since 405 Dixie Trail is not as old as many of the homes in University Park, we have not had to tackle any major renovations the way we did in our previous house.  We are slowly changing a few things like hardware, and paint colors, to make it our own. One of the first changes was painting the front door a bright acqua!

405 Dixie Trail, built circa 1999

The previous owners at one time had a beautiful yard, with lots of flowers and roses. When we purchased the house it had been empty for some time, and the lack of care had taken its toll on the landscaping. This past year we have started replanting shrubs and seeding grass in the back yard. It is certainly a work in progress.

One of the things we like most about our home is the great neighbors we have. We love the eclectic nature of the neighborhood, and its prime location to shopping and restaurants, as well as the neighborhood schools.  We can usually step outside and find kids playing, neighbors chatting on front porches, and passers-by stopping to say hello.


Wondering what your neighborhood association can do for you?

Here are the ABC’s of the University Park Homeowners’ Association:

A is for Activities;

UPHA’s Christmas party, Easter Egg Hunt, July 4th children’s parade, and many more occasions to meet and have fun with your neighbors.

B is for Beauty;

UPHA protects and defends our greenways, tree canopies, parks, historic sites, and all those cherished spaces that bring delight to our senses and spirits.

C is for Communication;

UPHA publishes the website, reports on development activities impacting our community, and conducts surveys of community opinion. The survey results go to Raleigh’s decision-makers, and make our voices heard.

(However, we don’t set house colors or landscaping requirements – in fact we don’t have any neighborhood covenants to enforce. We exist to help our neighbors get the most out of our beautiful old streets and homes, to help represent our needs to power, and to make University Park a special place for generations to come.)

UPHA Events Survey

Our second survey for 2015 is short and to the point – what sort of neighborhood events do you attend and what would you like to see?

UPHA Events Survey at Survey Monkey…

We’d like to get the feedback in quickly, so the survey will only be open for 12 days – we’ll send a reminder a couple of days before we close it on 15 June 2015.

Link to the Survey >

Thanks and we look forward to sharing the results here on the UPHA site!

June 2015 Home of the Month

2607 Van Dyke Avenue

Home of Teri Meadows Hires

I don’t know much about the history of this house other than it was built in 1940 by J. Y. Phelps and I am the ninth owner since that time. The longest ownership was by Carlyne Clayton and wife from 1946 to 1985. The first picture shows the house in 1995 when it was owned by Pamela Tyler. I purchased this house from Jon and Mara Buxbaum in July 2009 as they were building another home in University Park (where they still reside).

Front View Circa 1995
Front View Circa 1995, City Land Records

I’m an NC native and was moving back to the Raleigh area having lived in Boston, Dallas and New York since graduating from Meredith College many years ago. Simply put, it was time to come home. There was no doubt University Park was my ultimate destination – my brother and sister-in-law are also UP residents, I love the diversity of this neighborhood, and I wanted to be able to walk to shopping and restaurants. I was visiting from New York one weekend and decided on a whim to walk through the house, and I immediately knew this was where I wanted to live. The company I worked for at that time was reluctant to let me work remotely, but persistence and determination won out and I moved without having their final blessing! Like I said, I knew this was the house and neighborhood for me!

The house itself was in amazing condition, definitely move-in ready without requiring any repairs. Jon and Mara had taken excellent care of the house and had already undertaken a major renovation by adding a second story for the master suite.

Renovated Front Yard and Landscaping, 2607 Van Dyke
Renovated Front Yard and Landscaping, 2607 Van Dyke

Because of this, I could focus attention on the outside, so over the first few years I tackled the front and back yards.

Ken Brooks (another UP resident) from Brookscapes created the overall design and installed a pavestone patio, retaining walls, drainage, new front steps and railings, as well as completely new landscaping. I am thrilled with my backyard oasis!

Back Yard landscaping, 2607 Van Dyke
Back Yard landscaping, 2607 Van Dyke

Last year I finally tackled an indoor project, renovating the kitchen and den, which included new flooring, appliances, cabinets, lighting and countertops. We also as turned what was the breakfast room into a butler’s pantry for much needed additional storage.

Kitchen Renovation, 2607 Van Dyke
Kitchen Renovation, 2607 Van Dyke

This house is a wonderful combination of old character and modern touches that represent the charm of University Park. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

May 2015 Home of the Month

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.

306 Brooks, Front Entry
306 Brooks, Front Entry

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.

306 Brooks Avenue, was built in 1928 by George and Nellie Moore
306 Brooks Avenue, was built in 1928 by George and Nellie Moore

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.

April 2015 Home of the Month

Isabelle Bowen Henderson House and Gardens
at 213 Oberlin Road

Home of Russ Stephenson and Ellen Longino

Isabelle Bowen Henderson was my great-aunt.  When she passed away in 1969, she left the property to my grandmother, Phyllis Riley, who gave it to me when she moved to Georgia to live with my mother. Between the mid-1970s and now, Ellen and I have lived in each of the three residences on the grounds. Over the years, we’ve reconstructed two of the three outbuildings and fully renovated the other outbuilding and the three dwellings, including an addition to the main house.

Main House, Front Porch and Turret
Main House, Front Porch and Turret

The secluded 1.2 acre enclave of dwellings, outbuildings and gardens at 213 Oberlin Road are the physical record of Isabelle’s life and work (May 23, 1899 – May 19, 1969).  She was the eldest of six daughters of North Carolina State College Treasurer A. F. Bowen, whose home stood at the end of Ferndell Lane. After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Isabelle worked in Massachusetts where she (and the rest of the nation) became enthralled by Rockefeller’s reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg.

Isabelle returned to Raleigh in 1937 and set about designing her own Williamsburg enclave at 213 Oberlin Road, adjacent to the Bowen homestead.  Drawing on her mother’s love of gardening and her own Arts & Crafts art education, Isabelle synthesized Colonial architectural forms with English garden designs and American folk craft traditions. The National Register of Historic Places describes her work as “a composition of a resited turn-of-the-century house and auxiliary buildings constructed primarily in the 1930’s, integrated into a landscape of display and working gardens, and disposed around a large shaded brick terrace from which bricked and bordered walks lead outward to the gardens.  The arrangement of buildings, fences, walks, and plant materials creates a calculated informality while maintaining a palpable hierarchy of evocative spaces, views, and processions”.

Front Garden in Spring
Front Garden in Spring

In 1938 her front garden was first opened to the public and the same year, a full page article in the News & Observer was devoted to her growing prominence as a portrait painter.  Ben Forest Williams, the first curator of the N. C. Museum of Art has estimated that she produced over one thousand portraits throughout the Eastern United States.  Her works are included in the permanent collection of the N. C. Museum of Art and in the State Supreme Court Building in Raleigh.

Front Room with Colonial Carolinas Mural
Front Room with Colonial Carolinas Mural

In 1942 Isabelle’s front room was featured in House and Garden Magazine.  The fireplace wall features her reproduction of a 1770 map of the Carolina Colonies.  The flanking bookcases include the Bowen and Henderson libraries, and craft pottery from her Jugtown collection.  Isabelle supported the revitalization of Jugtown Pottery and led efforts to assemble the first Jugtown Pottery collection presented to the State of North Carolina.

Herb House
Herb House

In 1951, Isabelle Henderson won the National Horticultural Award, the highest award given by the National Council of State Garden Clubs, for her “permanent and creative contribution to horticulture”.  Henderson hybridized and maintained 600 varieties of Iris and 527 varieties of Hemerocallis, and wrote articles for many horticultural publications, including The Garden Journal of the New York Botanical Garden .  She traded letters and plants with National Book Award winner Lewis Mumford and internationally renowned Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.  Her home and gardens were visited by Carl Sandburg and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Carriage House Apartment
Carriage House Apartment

Isabelle left the property to her sister, Phyllis Riley at a time when cities across the nation were constructing expressways through older neighborhoods to accommodate the rising tide of suburban commuters.  In 1972 the City of Raleigh proposed the North-South Expressway through the middle of Oakwood.  Citizens defeated the project in 1974.  At about the same time, the Pullen heirs sued the City to stop a similar north-south, five-lane arterial, proposed to widen Oberlin Road from Glenwood Avenue to Western Boulevard through Pullen Park.  Just north of Pullen Park, the City unsuccessfully condemned the Henderson House and Gardens twice over the next five years in hopes of resurrecting the west side arterial.  Fast forward 40 years and the historic neighborhoods of Oakwood, Cameron Park and University Park are thriving.  Oberlin Road is not a suburban 5-lane arterial dominated by gas stations, parking lots and fast food drive-throughs.  Instead, the human-scaled network of tree-lined streets around Cameron Village define an authentic, walkable urbanism that makes it one of the most desirable places to live in Raleigh.


In conjunction with being named April’s Home of the Month by the University Park Homeowners Association, Ellen and I are excited to hold an Open House of my great-aunt Isabelle Bowen Henderson’s home and gardens.  Please join us on Sunday, April 19th from 1pm until 5pm to explore and enjoy a unique and historic Raleigh landmark in University Park.

Note: parking on-site is reserved for guests with limited mobility.  Other guests are encouraged to walk or bike to the property, or to park across Oberlin Road on Park Drive.

Isabelle Owen Henderson House and Gardens Site Plan
Isabelle Owen Henderson House and Gardens Site Plan

Site maps and additional historical photos are here: 

All photos: David Strevel