Skip to main content

Memory Lane

Since printing its first college catalog, the university has talked up the fact that it’s located on a major thoroughfare. Prospective students for the inaugural class of 1889 learned that the one-building campus was “situated on a commanding eminence on the Hillsboro road, one of the principal highways into Raleigh.”

Now known as Hillsborough Street, the road has evolved to fit the times, from dirt road to modern streetscape. | PHOTO GALLERY

This Saturday, the campus and community will celebrate the latest incarnation of Hillsborough with an official dedication and street fair with entertainment for all ages.

Digging up the Past

The $9.9 million overhaul of Hillsborough Street, completed in time for the fall semester, provided some clues to the area’s storied history.

Construction crews found evidence of trolley tracks and decades-old sidewalks along the eight-block stretch from Oberlin west to Gardner as they installed underground utilities, wide brick sidewalks and center medians for pedestrians. The two-lane makeover includes two roundabouts for smoother traffic flow, added parking, better lighting, fresh landscaping and a brand-new NC State entrance near the Belltower.

Hillsborough Street’s history goes back to 1792, when it was included on the original plans for the city. The dirt lane suitable for a college cross country race in 1910 became a bustling street. Mule teams and streetcars gave way to tens of thousands of vehicles whizzing by each day.

Care to take a walk down memory lane? Check out our gallery of Hillsborough Street, past and present. Photos courtesy University Archives and NC State University Communications.

Editor’s Note: Live It Up! organizers are looking for photo submissions pertaining to everything Hillsborough Street: the people, places, and great moments. Send them to The best will be included in a mosaic image to be unveiled it at the Electric Company Mall (Pogue & Hillsborough) during the event.