Hanbury Preservation Consulting

P.O. Box 6049
Raleigh, NC 27628 USA
(919) 828-1905 phone

Berry O’Kelly Historic District (coauthor)

The Berry O'Kelly Historic District constitutes the institutional core of the Method community.  Established in 1870 as a freedman’s village three miles west of the city of Raleigh, Method grew to include churches, businesses, and schools that served the African American community.  An early resident of Method was Berry O'Kelly, who was born ca. 1864 to an enslaved woman in a neighboring county.  Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by family members in Method.  O'Kelly rose from slavery to be a successful businessman with a diverse portfolio and a national reputation. He was a philanthropist, who secured land for both St James AME Church and the eponymous Berry O'Kelly School. His relationship with Julius Rosenwald secured funding to construct several buildings on the once expansive campus, including the 4000th building of the Rosenwald Fund, which was feted in 1928 with a celebration that included a speech by Julius Rosenwald himself.  The school suffered from disinvestment after integration.  It was closed in the 1960s and several of the buildings were demolished.  The Berry O'Kelly Historic District includes St. James AME Church, Berry O' Kelly's grave, and the remaining buildings associated with the Berry O'Kelly School, now used as a city park and recreation center.

The nomination for the Berry O'Kelly Historic District was prepared by Hanbury Preservation Consulting with Jeffrey Harris.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 2017.

To read the nomination, go to http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/WA6529.pdf