Images from the Archives: A view of ever-changing Hillsborough Street


This dining hall was set up for the North Carolina Exposition of 1884, which highlighted the state's progress in agriculture and industry.This dining hall was set up for the North Carolina Exposition of 1884, which highlighted the state's progress in agriculture and industry.

All of the construction on Hillsborough Street may be turning the area into an unfamiliar place. However, while Hillsborough Street has been consistent in its importance to North Carolina State University and its neighborhood, it has gone through much change since it was lain in 1792.

Here are some images from the Rare and Unique Digital Collections featuring historic Hillsborough Street, including our collection’s oldest image taken in 1884, three years before the land grant college that would become NC State was chartered.

The location has changed greatly in the last 133 years. For instance the street once had trolley tracks for traveling towards downtown Raleigh. When the trolley was discontinued, the tracks were paved over, only to be uncovered during construction in 2010.

Trolley traveling on Hillsborough Street towards the State Capitol, 1910s

Trolley track unearthed during Hillsborough Street roundabout construction, 2010

From 1873-1925, the North Carolina State Fair took place across the other side of Hillsborough Street from campus, and the fair grounds today are located alongside the street, though now several miles west.

Historic Marker on Hillsborough Street about N. C. State Fair

Fairgrounds across from Patterson Hall on Hillsborough Street, 1910s

Hillsborough Street has also been where NC State has held Homecoming Parades.

4-H Club float for the NCSU Homecoming Parade, November 1956

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members in Homecoming Parade, circa 1980

During the Vietnam Era, NC State students would take Hillsborough Street to march from campus to the State Capitol building.

NC State, Duke, and Carolina students marching on Capitol to protest the Kent State massacre and the US military expansion into Cambodia, May 8, 1970

While Hillsborough Street has changed so much, you can still find some familiarity in these historical images.

Aerial View of Hillsborough Street, 1940s

Corner of Hillsborough Street and Horne Street, circa 1980

Front view of Tompkins Hall, with automobiles parked on Hillsborough Street, circa 1955

Horse drawn carriages on Hillsborough Street, looking east toward Tompkins Hall, circa 1921

Line in front of Brother's Pizza Palace on Hillsborough Street, 1975

What a history of a single street! If you enjoyed these images and want to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit the Rare and Unique Digital Collections for access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting the history of NC State and other topics.

“Hillsborough St. Timeline of History.” History | Hillsborough St Project. 2016. Accessed April 26, 2017.
“Student Life Timeline.” Historical State Timelines. Accessed April 26, 2017.
Hill, Michael. “North Carolina Exposition of 1884.” North Carolina Exposition of 1884 | NCpedia. 2006. Accessed April 26, 2017.
Mims, Bryan. “When Streetcars Ruled the Roads of North Carolina.” Our State Magazine. October 5, 2015. Accessed April 26, 2017.