This historic house was built in 1769 and is best known for being the former home of Joel Lane, a man often referred to as "The Father of Raleigh.” Lane was one of the most influential of the city's early boosters, and his work helped secure the construction of the state capital in Raleigh. This home may appear modest compared to many of the larger plantation manors, but it was considered the finest home in the region throughout the late colonial period as the city began to grow.


  • The Joel Lane House is the oldest dwelling in Wake County, built in 1769
    The Joel Lane House is the oldest dwelling in Wake County, built in 1769
  • The Joel Lane House black and white image, courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.
    The Joel Lane House black and white image, courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.
  • Gardens behind Lane House.
    Gardens behind Lane House.

For such an influential man, relatively little is known about Joel Lane. Lane was elected to represent Johnston County during the 1770 Colonial Assembly. He helped create and secure the passage of a bill that created Wake County. During the American Revolution, he served as a colonel in the local militia. After the war, he served as a delegate to the state's 1788 Constitutional Convention-voting against ratification unless the Constitution was amended to include what later became the Bill of Rights. Lane also represented Wake County in the state legislature for eleven terms and served as one of the first trustees of the University of North Carolina. He was married twice during his life and had children with ages spanning 30 years.

The house now sits on approximately a third of an acre; however, at one point Lane owned 5,000 acres of land surrounding the house. Lane proposed building the University of North Carolina on a portion of his 5,000 acres. The land he offered is located in present-day Kerry. However, his offer was declined, so the university was built in Chapel Hill.

The authenticity of the museum’s exhibit helps visitors feel as though they stepped into the past. It is even dimly lit, as it would have been in the days before electricity.

Joel Lane Museum House Official Website, accessed March 24, 2016, http://www.joellane.org/joellane/historyaccessed 

"Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh, NC," UNCTV, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exaK3ly0aiM

"Joel Lane House," National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/raleigh/lan.htm