Oberlin Village historic status considered

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A part of Raleigh rich with history is on its way to getting some protection from new development. Raleigh City Council is following up on neighbors’ requests to make Oberlin Village a historic district.

Banks Talley has lived around Cameron and Oberlin Villages since the ’90s. He knows the history, which is why he’s invested time and energy into renovating a home, while keeping it close to what its original designers intended.

“Two architects, one was Leif Valand and one was James Scovil, and they sort of tag teamed it and designed most of the houses,” said Talley.

Talley and his neighbors have been working to get the area named a historic district for years. Now city council is on the bandwagon, deciding Tuesday night to seek the state’s permission for the designation.

“The Oberlin Cemetery and the Oberlin Neighborhood has been chipped away gradually by development and we need to preserve what’s left of it just because it’s historic,” said Talley.

The Oberlin Village neighborhood was established by freed slaves after the civil war. Some of its most meaningful areas like the cemetery are surrounded by apartments. A historic district title would make it more difficult for property owners to make major changes to buildings, which would keep history alive in an area focused on the future, backers say.

The city will now send a report on the area’s historical significance to the State Department of Cultural Resources for review. Then, officials will file a request to rezone it as a historic district.

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