Top 6 Abandoned Places In Raleigh North Carolina

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Raleigh, North Carolina is old and storied enough that it has amassed many unique abandoned locations over the years. Such places include Raleigh-Durham International Airport and The Capital Plaza Hotel. Whether it be The Raleigh Speedway or St. Agnes Hospital, follow along as we explore the coolest abandoned places in Raleigh.

Raliegh is one of the biggest cities in the South and currently retains a reputation as being one of the best places to live in America. Though the city is quite famous for being attractive to others, there are still some parts that don’t have floods of people around it. The result of this all, of course, is that there are some abandoned places in and around Raleigh.

While it’s not the most commonplace for urban exploration, the city of Raleigh does have some hotspots with amazing abandonment backstories. The most popular include:

  • The Raleigh Speedway
  • The Webb Estate
  • The Capital Plaza Hotel
  • Cameron Village Subway
  • The St. Agnes Hospital
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport

If you are coming to Raleigh anytime soon, you might as well make it a road trip. This guide will give you a better idea of the most interesting abandoned places in the area.

The Most Fascinating Abandoned Places In Raleigh

North Carolina’s history is filled to the brim with fascinating twists and turns. That’s why these places are so fascinating. But, if you want to explore other areas, check out our guide on the Top 6 Abandoned Places In Virginia Beach.

1. The Raleigh Speedway

North Carolina loves racing and NASCAR. It’s basically the state sport. When the sport was still in its fledgling era, every major city worked to have its own speedway. This, of course, included Raleigh. During the 1950s, the city put together a small speedway in a bid to outdo Charlotte.

The speedway wasn’t that big, but it had a lot of history. At one point, it hosted the races that eventually became known as the Cup Series. It also was the place where Jocko Flocko, a driver’s pet rhesus monkey, won a race. The speedway ended up shutting down after people who lived in the city complained about the noise and multiple fatalities occurred on-premise.

Not much is left of the original speedway, save for some pavement chunks. Still, it’s a fascinating place to go when you know the history behind it.

2. The Webb Estate

Nestled out on the top of one of Raleigh’s hills is one of the most notorious abandoned homes in the city: the Webb Estate. The mere look of the place makes the area feel haunted and truthfully, it does have a haunting reputation. The Webb Estate was once home to one of Raleigh’s premier business families.

Unfortunately, the Webb family had a big secret. They weren’t very good businessmen, but they were excellent conmen. After multiple lawsuits arrived at their doors, the family knew they wouldn’t be able to make the bills required to keep their home. Moreover, one rumor suggested that the defrauded included a local crime boss.

Fearing for their safety, the family fled. The Webb Estate has been uninhabited ever since, acting as a warning against greed.

3. The Lost Waterway

A waterway? In Raleigh? It’s more likely than you think. During the 1900s, the city had to create a way to funnel water from the Pigeon House Branch of its system. They created an aqueduct that ran from Peace Street to Wade Avenue. It was not that large and was made of a simple cobblestone buildup that made sense in the day.

As the city continued to develop, the waterway no longer was as useful as it once was. Eventually, water flow was cut off to the tunnel, leaving a large, unused tunnel right underneath the city’s most popular beer garden. The waterway has lots of twists and turns, as well as a strange miniature grotto that is kind of reminiscent of a surreal underground city.

4. The Capital Plaza Hotel

This might just be the most famous abandoned hotel in all of North Carolina, and that says something pretty powerful if you ask me. The Capital Plaza Hotel is easily seen thanks to the faded, 80s-style sign that rests in front of the massive building. Unlike most of the other hotels that were left to waste away, the Capital Plaza is actually a part of a larger chain of hotels.

There are branches in places like Jefferson City and Frankfort, Kentucky. As a primarily Southern chain, the hotels were meant for families or businessmen who wanted somewhere nice and relaxing while they get to the place they want. Nothing particularly bad happened here, though the venue looks like it’s been stuck in the 80s.

As of the writing of this article, the hotel remains abandoned. However, it was purchased by a developer who’s hoping to make the hotel into a series of apartments.

4. Cameron Village Subway

This was a tale that we were not expecting to see for a place like North Carolina. While many abandoned subway areas tend to be in areas like New York City, there was a subway in Raleigh that didn’t really work out. Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t a subway subway, but it was an underground entertainment district that was made to be the first of its kind.

The Cameron Village Subway acted as a massive underground mall complete with eateries, retail space, as well as a full-scale concert venue. During the 1970s, it was the one place that everyone wanted to go. The concerts were plentiful and often had a harder punk edge than what you would expect to see.

Some of the names that played in the Subway included the Ramons, REM, as well as Pat Benetar. At times, the city throws special tours of the once-thriving scene. It’s strange to think that such big names played there, only to have the thriving music scene suddenly shut down. But, that’s what happened when the owners paved over the entrance and shut everything down.

5. St. Agnes Hospital

Yep, it’s time for another chilling story about a hospital that once was a part of a community. St. Agnes Hospital was a true trailblazer in America before the Civil Rights movement occurred. The hospital was once the first in the country to provide quality healthcare to African American patients.

When it opened in 1896, it provided training, education, and jobs for the African American community. The trailblazing hospital served over 75,000 patients and also acted as a major hotspot of the nation. However, things took a major change when hospitals became integrated in the 1960s.

The need for St. Agnes plummeted, since every other hospital was able to accept patients of all colors. As a result, the hospital eventually became abandoned and slowly fell to pieces. The equipment that set St. Agnes apart from the rest was equally distributed to other local hospitals. As of right now, most of St. Agness has collapsed. The area is designated a national historic site.

6. Raleigh-Durham International Airport

It’s so weird to think of international airports going defunct, but here we are. It happens. The ailing airline industry is partly to blame for this one, I suppose. The Raleigh-Durham International Airport was built in the 1960s, but only lasted until its demolition in 2000. For an international airport, the venue was very small and people often complained about the lack of attentive staff members.

Between the high building maintenance cost, the low number of flights, as well as the little need for it caused its demise. All the flights that went to Raleigh were then rerouted to Dulles and other airports nearby. Once the doors closed for the final time, the airport was quickly forgotten by locals as well as the pilots. No one even talks about it.

For the most part, the entire airport has been gone for the better part of 21 years. However, if you want to get a quick look at what used to be in the area, you still can. The parking garage is still there. Whether or not it will ever be used for anything again remains to be seen. Considering how much of the city is being revitalized and revamped, it could very well become the setting for a new venue soon enough.

Related Questions

Why is there an abandoned neighborhood in Cary?

There is no one reason. Some people left as a result of finding work elsewhere. However, most people tend to believe that the abandoned neighborhood found in Cary has to do with the extremely rapid development of properties in the area. With the increased number of homes available, the Cary neighborhood found their homes “crowded out” of the market.Moreover, people tended to prefer parts of the city where there were more people. As a result, the new plan is to demolish all 13 homes in the area and erect a center for senior living.

Why are there so many abandoned houses in North Carolina?

North Carolina has been going through major changes in its scenery lately. Sometimes abandonment happens as a result of being unable to handle the rising cost of payments. Others end up inheriting the home after a loved one dies, only to leave it alone as a result of not living in said home. Still more times, it’s a matter of just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.With that said, North Carolina has been proactive in pairing abandonia with potential investors who can bring it back to life.

What are the worst places to live in Raleigh?

For most people, there really aren’t bad neighborhoods. While the neighborhoods can vary, the highest-ranked in terms of criminal activity include South, Southeast, and South Central. If you are unsure whether or not you should live in a particular neighborhood, asking your real estate agent about the history of the district is a good option.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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