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Historic Ligon House bought, preservation planned in Southeast Raleigh

Built in 1914, the house at 573 E. Lenoir St. in Raleigh was once owned by John Ligon. The house and lot are now for sale for $525,000. This photo was taken Nov. 17, 2021.

Built in 1914, the house at 573 E. Lenoir St. in Raleigh was once owned by John Ligon. The house and lot are now for sale for $525,000. This photo was taken Nov. 17, 2021.

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The John W. Ligon house on East Lenoir Street, once home to one of the leading figures in Raleigh’s Black history, will be preserved.

The two-story bungalow built in 1914 was advertised for sale for the land only, the house being described as having “no value.” Preservationists around downtown and Southeast Raleigh feared the relic of the city’s history would be demolished.

Around downtown and Southeast Raleigh, much of the older housing has already given way to large, modern newcomers.

But the buyer, who paid $650,000, said he will “explore all ways to save and restore the house.

“We’ve already taken steps such as tarping all of the holes in the roof in order to prevent further deterioration to the structure,” said Ashkan Hosseini of Hoss Holdings LLC.

“We understand the important role of Rev. John W. Ligon in Raleigh’s history and as a part of the historic East Raleigh-South Park neighborhood and we intend to preserve the house.”

Born to former slaves, Ligon became a school principal fond of Shakespeare and Ralph Waldo Emerson, only to get fired in 1919 because he “dared to be a man” and ran for public office.

In 1953, the city named its only Black high school for Ligon, building it for a then-unprecented price of $1 million. It would produce graduates as notable as Chuck Davis, founder of the African American Dance Ensemble, and John Baker, the first Black sheriff in North Carolina since Reconstruction.

Just down Lenoir Street from Ligon, now a prominent magnet middle school, the house where the Raleigh educator and pastor raised his family is now up for sale.

Preservation groups sounded optimistic. Vacant for years, the house now stands with its windows covered in plywood.

“The commission is grateful for Mr Hosseini’s willingness to preserve this important piece of Raleigh’s historic fabric,” said Ian Dunn of Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

“We are hopeful for a sympathetic restoration and designation as a Raleigh Historic Landmark to elevate and promote its history while preserving it for future generations.”

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