Before the existence of the Village at Pilot Mill Mill, another village stood on the same site. Known as Pilot Mill Hill ("Mill Hill" being a name common to the mill villages of North Carolina), it comprised 68 houses of varying sizes. The wooden homes with mud yards fronting unpaved streets were rented to mill workers and their families for a few dollars a month. Covering the area of our present community between Haynes (formerly North Wilmington) and North Blount streets, the old village included a school (now the Hope Elementary School), a church (Pilot Church), and a company store run by the mill.
When the mill closed in 1982, the village was destroyed and the homes were razed. For the next twenty years, the area was desolate, plagued by drug deals, shootings and gang war within the neighboring Capitol Park community.
Our new village only became possible after the Raleigh Housing Authority completely rebuilt Capitol Park, transforming it from a poor and dangerous environment into a showpiece of affordable housing. When the Village at Pilot Mill was developed a few years later on an empty site of bare red earth, the old mill village had been long forgotten.
Click here to read the full history on Pilot Mill, prepared by Tommy Oglesby, 1998.
In the days of the mill, Haynes Street was called North Wilmington Street, but otherwise the layout of the original village was eerily similar to that of ours today based on the 1914 plan to the left. The former homes have been replaced by buildings much larger and more substantial and the diverse occupations of the new residents are all far removed from mill work. Today high tech industries draw new residents to Raleigh and the Village at Pilot Mill. In the 1890's a new industrial enterprise and the promise of opportunity and a better life drew people to Mill Hill, Raleigh, from around the state.
While we are not sure of the date, this was our neighborhood before the mill houses were razed.