north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     “Elmwood,” built around 1813 at 16 North Boylan Avenue in Raleigh, was constructed for John L. Taylor, first Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. The architect of the Federal style structure, one of unusually fine workmanship, remains a mystery. Taylor conducted law classes in the house.

     N.C. Supreme Court Justice William Gaston, John Taylor’s brother-in-law, acquired “Elmwood” around 1829. Gaston did not often visit the house and, soon after gaining ownership, began renting it to Thomas Ruffin, another N.C. Supreme Court Justice. In time Gaston also rented the property to the short-lived Episcopal School for Boys, associated with Saint Mary’s, the nearby Episcopal school for girls.

     In 1837 Romulus Saunders bought the house from Gaston. Saunders served as state senator, diplomat, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives before his death in 1867. During Sherman’s occupation of Raleigh in April 1865, Union Gen. Henry W. Slocum made the house his headquarters. A few years after Saunders’s death, Samuel A. Ashe, editor and historian, moved into “Elmwood,” where he resided until his death in 1938. The property, left to members of his family, currently houses offices.

Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003)
Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina (1983)
Linda H. Harris, Early Raleigh Neighborhoods and Buildings (1983)

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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources