If Holly Springs had a “Historic District” in my opinion, it would have to be Raleigh Street. Most every lot from Grigsby Avenue down to Earp Street is graced with a home of historic presence. These wonderful old homes have witnessed history first hand and if they could talk, one can only imagine the stories they could tell. We will start our “tour” with the houses along the east side of Raleigh Street, starting at Steeple Road heading north towards Holly Springs Road.
Situated at the corner of Raleigh and Earp Streets, this two-story, white house with the black shutters, was built in 1910 by Davis Cross. It is now owned by Thomas Ragland, his grandmother was a Cross and the family reacquired the house in 1968. Hurricane shutters grace the doors that lead out onto a small second-story balcony. Much of the original architectural features have been preserved such as the woodwork and moldings, the main staircase to the second floor and front porch.
Dr. Britain Utley House
Located on the east side of Raleigh Street, this house was built in 1876 for Dr. Britain Utley. Born in March 1843, Utley married the former Anna F. Hatch. While the good doctor practiced medicine in Holly Springs in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Anna was a homemaker. Present owners Tommy & Chris Pope have maintained the beauty of one of the older homes in the area. The Popes have strived to keep as much of the original architectural integrity of the house by saving its wrap- around porch and tin roofing among other aspects.
The Wood-Burt House
This two-story white house with the large magnolia in the front yard is situated on Raleigh Street, at the entrance to the Remington subdivision. It once was the residence of Dr. B.W. Burt, who practiced medicine upstairs in the drugstore building which once stood on the corner of Avent Ferry Road & Center Street, now the Mims Towne Square Building. The house was originally a one-story cottage built in 1890, with the second story being added later on. It is currently the home of Druscie & Kenny Simpson, who have maintained the integrity of the house by not altering the house which retains original architectural features like a transom window over the front door, painted heart of pine floors, four fireplaces, and bead board ceilings on the second floor. The Simpsons have decorated the front porch with charming features like the rockers and swing that evoke memories of balmy southern evenings sitting on the porch waving to neighbors as they passed by.
The Norris-Cross House
A two-story, white house on the east side of Raleigh Street is almost 120 years old. In 1899, Peyton Norris and his wife kept a popular boarding house for the students attending the Holly Springs Academy, located in the Masonic Lodge across the street. Purchased later by the parents of Charles Cross, he and his sisters grew up in the house. Cross went on to own and operate Cross Poultry of Raleigh. The house boasts of the original main staircase, plaster walls, woodwork and doors and working hand- drawn water well. The back portion of the house was added on after the detached kitchen became obsolete and the Cross family built the addition to accommodate a kitchen and indoor bathroom.
Martin Collins House
One of the more admired and photogenic houses in Holly Springs, that has been featured in many publications and brochures is the Martin Collins House. The story and a half, pale yellow house with the white picket fence surrounding the property, located on the east side of Raleigh Street, was commonly referred to as a “Sears & Roebuck Kit House” back in the day. In 1917, Martin Collins purchased the “kit” from Sears & Roebuck; the house came in pieces loaded in train box cars ready for assembly. Tina & Stanley Rimmer have maintained the integrity of the house and have added vast flower gardens and landscaping. This house is truly a beautiful example of historic preservation at its best. And interesting tidbit of history from the April 1937 issue of the Holly Springs School Chatterbox, it was reported that original owner “Martin Collins drove the first automobile that entered this town.”