Moving south from Richmond on I-95 to US-64 West, we approach the Capitol on New Bern Avenue. New Bern was the original capital of North Carolina, but just like Williamsburg in Virginia, it became susceptible to attacks from the sea. Raleigh was chosen, planned, and designed specifically for use as a state capital in 1788. It has four public squares and a central Union square where the Capitol building is located. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1831 and replaced by the current building in 1840.
Today, on the four corners of the Capitol square, there lies four churches. A pair of First Baptist churches on the NW and SE corners. First Presbyterian church on the SW corner and the Episcopal Church, Christ Church on the NE corner. First Baptist Church on the SE corner began with 23 people meeting in the State House in 1812. First Baptist Church of Raleigh was built in 1859 on the NW corner. First Presbyterian was organized with about 40 adults and children in the old State House in 1816. A meeting house was built in 1818, destroyed by fire and replaced by the current structure in 1900. Not to be outdone, leaders of Episcopal Diocese were committed to establishing a church in Raleigh. Christ Church on Capitol Square was established in 1821 on the NE corner.
Dean Smith, legendary basketball coach at The University of North Carolina, became known for his four corner offense that sealed a win at the end of the game. In Raleigh, the four churches on the corners of Capitol Square have surrounded the state with the hope of preserving victory in North Carolina’s garden of God.
For now, your weary traveler needs to catch some sleep at a truck stop just south of the border. We will see you at the next stop in Columbia.