Historical research uses property deeds, census data, genealogy information, historic maps and photographs, land use information, oral history interviews, and other information to develop a narrative that tells the story of a particular property. This narrative may be for the enjoyment of the property owner, or it may become the foundation for other projects, such as historic plaques, National Register or local landmark designations, rehabilitation projects, or public education and interpretation.


History of Turnipseed Preserve

Wendell, Wake County, North Carolina


The Turnipseed Preserve is a 265-acre park that will open to the public in 2017. The park will include 2-3 miles of hiking trails and boardwalks through former farmland, pine forest, and wetlands. The preserve is named for the Turnipseed Family, for whom the road the preserve is on is also named, and who has farmed hundreds of acres along Marks Creeks for generations.

click here to read the full report

Blue Jay Point Historic Resource Survey

Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina


Blue Jay Point County Park is located north of Raleigh on the Falls Lake reservoir. Its 236 acres offers hiking, fishing, playgrounds, a lodge, and an environmental education center. The park land was originally owned by the Tate family, who operated a mill near the confluence of Upper Barton's Creek with the Neuse River. After their deaths, the land became part of the Reynold Allen Plantation and was farmed by enslaved African Americans. In the 1970s, the land was taken for the construction of Fall Lake. It includes 16 former home sites and two historic cemeteries.

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Procter Farm Cultural Resource Survey

Wendell, Wake County, North Carolina


The Procter Farm is a 563-acre swath of feral farm fields, secondary growth forest, meandering streams, and beaver ponds located northwest of Wendell. The farm was established in the late 1700s by William Marriott, and remained in the Marriott-Procter family for generations. Once developers began to take interest in the farm, the Marriott-Procter heirs offered the historic property to Wake County. It will open to the public in 2018 as a nature preserve for horseback riding.


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Bunch-Honeycutt House Cultural Resource Survey

Wendell, Wake County, North Carolina


The Bunch-Honeycutt House is part of the Turnipseed Nature Preserve, managed by Wake County Parks, Recreation, & Open Space and scheduled to open to the public in 2016. The house was built by the Bunch Family in the late 1870s or early 1880s, and may have served as a farm office or home. The Medlin Family owned the property last, and rented the house to Eppie Honeycutt, a tenant farmer who grew a few acres of tobacco.


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Lake Crabtree County Park Cultural Resource Survey

Morrisville, Wake County, North Carolina


Lake Crabtree County Park is a 215-acre park about 8 miles northwest of Raleigh. It is on the north banks of Lake Crabtree, a 520-acre reservoir created by a dam built in 1989 on Crabtree Creek. Previously, the land was farmland. The remains of one of the original homesites is visible on the landscape today.  This farm began as a middle class subsistence farm, then an investement farm for Raleigh businessman Rufus Tucker. Charley and James Duke ran a sawmill there for a few years before it became part of the Raleigh-Durham Airport property and later a Wake County park.

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Robertson's Millpond Cultural Resource Survey

Wendell, Wake County, North Carolina


In the 1820s, William Avera built a grist mill, dam, and millpond that he left to his son, Dr. Thomas Avera. The site was later purchased by Charles Robertson, who operated the mill during the first half of the twentieth century. The millpond is a black water swamp similar to those found in the state's coastal plain, making it the only habitat for bald cypress in the county. The pond has been a popular recreation site, and Robertson ran a small store with fishing bait and boat rentals. Although the mill no longer remains, the dam and millpond are a lasting legacy of these families.

click here to read the full report

Harris Lake County Park Cultural History Research

New Hill, ​Wake County, North Carolina


Harris Lake County Park is a 680-acre recreational park that offers biking and hiking trails, a disc golf course, fishing, picnic sites, and guided education programs. The park is adjacent to the Shearon Harris Nuclear power plant reservoir, Harris Lake. Prior to the construction of the reservoir, the site was a small farming community. The park retains features of seven homesites, and through oral histories, cell phone audio tours, wayside signage, and other tools park staff is expanding their interpretation of this community.

Roberston-O'Briant Farm Historic Structure Report

​Creedmoor, Wake County, North Carolina


John Robertson built the original hall-parlor house in the 1840s and tended livestock, grew oats, wheat, and corn, and ran a general store for the Sandy Plain community. His son James expanded the family farm to include tobacco and potatoes. In 1888, John O'Briant purchased the property and added a beautiful Victorian addition to the house, as well as updated outbuildings for tobacco and potato culivation. The site is now owned by Wake County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space. It retains nearly all of its original outbuildings, and may one day be transformed into a public park.

​click here to read part 1

click here to read part 2

© Firefly Preservation Consulting, 2018

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