From Sewage treatment plant plans in New Hill, NC threaten historic landmarks.
Sewage treatment plant plans in New Hill, NC threaten historic landmarks.
Historic District or Sewage Plant?
By Christopher Brook
June 10, 2009
Located in southwestern Wake County, the New Hill community provides a glimpse into life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Featuring more than 60 buildings, the New Hill Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2001.
The towns of Cary, Apex, Morrisville, and Holly Springs now plan to open a sewage treatment facility in the middle of the New Hill Historic District. Unfortunately, its historical status was “not considered when the site selection process was undertaken,” according to Cary Town Council Member Jennifer Robinson.
A trip through New Hill reminds us of how business was conducted in earlier eras. The tracks of the former Raleigh & Augusta Railroad run through the southern part of the district; when chartered in 1855 they served as a quick means of transporting local crops to market. Gable-roofed farms, curing barns, and several pack houses still standing in the district signal the significance of tobacco in the turn-of-the-century North Carolina economy.
Commercial buildings cluster at the crossroads of Old U.S. Highway 1 and New Hill-Holleman Road, showing the importance of a central location for area farmers to purchase necessities. Stores serving these needs included the C.J. Bright Store, one of the few frame store buildings dating back to the 1870s still standing in Wake County. The W.T. Roundy complex, built in 1928 and featuring a store, bungalow dwelling, stoker house, and five frame motel cottages, still marks this intersection. Babe Ruth stopped here on his way to spring training. The Roundy family hoped to revitalize the store and cottages, but the prospect of a sewage treatment plant so close by has caused them to put their plans on hold.
The New Hill Historic District also features buildings that highlight how people lived from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Residences featuring Victorian, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Greek Revival, Bungalow, and Queen Anne architecture dot New Hill.
Also found in the district are two Gothic Revival Churches: New Hill Baptist Church, built in 1888; and New Hill First Baptist Church, built in 1910. These churches are two of only four turn-of-the-century frame church buildings still used by their congregations in western Wake County. The proposed sewage treatment plant would be directly across the street from New Hill Baptist Church and its cemetery.
Despite the encroachment of suburban development on the nearby countryside, New Hill Historic District has retained its distinctive early- to mid-20th century appearance. However, this precious, well-preserved reminder of our past faces destruction should the proposed sewage treatment plant be sited in its midst.
To help, please visit www.newhillca.org. There you will find a list of local political leaders to contact. Ask them to support moving the proposed sewage treatment plant out of the middle of the New Hill Historic District and to one of the other acceptable alternative sites in the same general vicinity.
Source: Preservation North Carolina