Mordecai HouseEdit profile
The Mordecai House (also called the Mordecai Plantation Manor or Mordecai Mansion), built in 1785, is a registered historical landmark and museum in Raleigh, North Carolina that is the centerpiece of the Mordecai Square Historic Park, right outside the Historic Oakwood neighborhood. It is the oldest residence in Raleigh on its original foundation. In addition to the house, the Park includes other attractions such as the original birthplace of President Andrew Johnson, the Ellen Mordecai Garden, the Badger-Iredell Law Office, Allen Kitchen and St. Mark's Chapel, a popular site for weddings. The oldest portion of the house was built by Joel Lane for his son, Henry. At one time, the home was the center of a 5,000-acre (20 km 2) plantation and one of the largest farms in Wake County. The house was named after Moses Mordecai, who married Henry Lane's daughters. The first daughter, Margaret, died and so Mordecai married her sister Ann. In 1824, Mordecai hired William Nichols, State Architect at the time, to enlarge the house. The addition was considered a significant work of Nichols, who had also been responsible for remodeling the original building containing the State House. With the addition of the four new rooms in 1826, the Mordecai house was transformed into a Greek Revival mansion. The Mordecai family was prominent in local and state affairs. Jacob, Moses' father, founded a girls' school in Warrenton, North Carolina. Moses was a prominent lawyer and member of the 1805 Court of Conference. Moses Mordecai had two sons, Henry and Jacob, and one daughter, Ellen, by his first wife and one daughter, Margaret, by his second. Henry was a prosperous planter at Mordecai House and served in the State Legislature. His daughter Margaret and her descendants owned and occupied Mordecai House until 1967. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, portions of land owned by the Mordecai family helped Raleigh's expansion as a city. In 1867, Henry Mordecai donated land east of the city to establish a Confederate cemetery and another plot became Wake County's first Hebrew Cemetery. The adjacent Oakwood Cemetery, chartered in 1869, eventually lent its name to the large suburb that developed in the adjoining wooded land, earlier known as Mordecai Grove. In 1974, Oakwood became the first neighborhood in Raleigh to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Property owned by the Mordecai family continued until 1967, when the house and its surrounding block were put on the market. Local preservationists protested and the city purchased the property, turning it over to the Raleigh Historic Sites Commission to supervise and develop as a historic park. The commission was able to obtain many original Mordecai furnishings, as well as preserve the family papers and library. Mordecai Square Historic Park is now managed by the City of Raleigh's Parks and Recreation Department. The Mordecai House is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.