Tools that helped build State Capitol on display in Raleigh

Carleigh Griffeth/WNCN

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new display at the State Capitol in Raleigh is paying tribute to the men and the tools that built it.

It all starts with Briggs Hardware and the father of the man who first started the business.

Before Thomas Briggs even opened his famous Briggs Hardware store, his father was already making history.

John Briggs was the lead carpenter of the North Carolina State Capitol construction project in the 1830s.

“He would have been involved in the woodworking, the carpentry, overseeing other carpenters here on the project,” said Kara Deadmon, museum specialist.

The tools that Briggs and his crew used were much simpler than you see today.

“A large portion are wood planes which were used for smoothing and carving usually more decorative pieces of wood,” said Deadmon.

But having been a part of state history, the Briggs family kept them until they sold them at auction this summer.

“I think it’s really important to have pieces like tools so you’re not only remembering the legislators that worked here, the governors and elected officials that worked here, but you’re remembering the people that were involved in the construction of the space as well,” said Deadmon.

Some of the tools are more than 175 years old.

Passed down from father to son, several even have Thomas Briggs’ initials carved into them.

It’s just another example of Raleigh’s rich history that is now on display.

“I think it’s really special. I think it’s unique to a lot of historic sites,” said Deadmon.

The tools on display at the Capitol are only part of a big group that were auctioned off.

If you want to see the others, you can visit the City of Raleigh Museum or the State Archives.

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