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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Joel Lane House

by William J. McCrea, 2006

See also: Lane, JoelThis 1887 drawing is perhaps the earliest likeness of the Joel Lane House. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

The Joel Lane House in Raleigh, named "Wakefield" by owner Joel Lane in honor of colonial governor William Tryon's wife, Margaret Wake, was built in the 1760s. Lane did major remodeling in the 1790s, including the addition of a front porch and alteration of the roof shape from gable to gambrel. The house is significant as the site of the first session of the Wake County Court, which convened there in 1771. Ten years later, the North Carolina General Assembly also met at Lane's Wakefield. As part of Lane's large plantation holdings known as Bloomsbury, the house originally faced east overlooking the 1,000 acres that were purchased from Lane in 1792 as the planned site of North Carolina's permanent capital, Raleigh. The house, located on West Hargett Street, has been restored to its 1790s appearance and is maintained as a historic house museum.


Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina (1983).

James Vickers, Raleigh, City of Oaks: An Illustrated History (1982).

Additional Resources:

Joel Lane House: http://www.joellane.org/

Joel Lane House, National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/raleigh/lan.htm

Haywood, Marshall De Lancey. Joel Lane, pioneer and patriot. a biographical sketch, including notes about the Lane family and the colonial and revolutionary history of Wake County, North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C. Alford, Bynum & Christophers. 1900. https://archive.org/details/joellanepioneerp00hayw (accessed April 22, 2013).

"Joel Lane House." N.C. Highway Historical Marker H-2, N.C. Office of Archives & History. https://www.ncdcr.gov/about/history/division-historical-resources/nc-highway-historical-marker-program/Markers.aspx?sp=Markers&k=Markers&sv=H-2 (accessed April 22, 2013).

Joel Lane House, Learn NC: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/2059


Origin - location: 



HI, We are so glad to see this link available. There are a few minor corrections:
1. Joel Lane never called his home Wakefield. That appellation was applied by William Boylan in the 19th century. Joel Lane referred to it as his "manor plantation" in his will.
2. The area was only called Bloomsbury for one year in 1771. The next year and until Raleigh was established in 1792, the area was called "Wake Court House" since the courthouse was very near Joel Lane's home.
3. It was the County of Wake that was named in honor of Margaret Wake Tryon, not Joel Lane's house.
Thank you, Belle Long, Director, Joel Lane Museum House


I hope to bring my grandchildren to see the Joel Lane House on the 27th of April, but so far, I'm unable to learn much of the man himself. What part did he play in the Revolutionary War? How did he come to be so wealthy? How did he happen to settle as far west as present day Raleigh? I'm certain, we'll learn much during our visit, but I like to put a few bugs in the children's ears so that they take notice when they hear a little of something familiar.


Thank you for your interest in Joel Lane. We have permission to reprint Joel Lane's biography from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography from UNC Press. I will update this post with a link once his bio is published. Also, here is a link to the website for the Joel Lane House which has additional information about Joel Lane: http://www.joellane.org/joellane/history/category/joel_lane/colonel_joel_lane/. I hope this information helps. Thanks!


Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC


We've just added Joel Lane's biography from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography from UNC Press. Here is the link: http://ncpedia.org/biography/lane-joel. Thanks for using NCpedia!

Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

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