The Town of Wendell, incorporated in 1903, maintains a rich historic and cultural heritage. As the town continues to grow, it is essential that such growth and progress not come at the expense of the town's historic roots. Nowhere is this reflected better than in the Statement of General Principles for the Town of Wendell Comprehensive Plan, which lists first and foremost the need to "preserve the small-town feel and historic character of the community."
Currently, the Town of Wendell contains three (3) historic landmarks identified on the Wendell Historic Trail Map and two (2) National Register Historic Districts. Additionally, the town’s Unified Development Ordinance includes standard infill development and architectural design standards to help ensure new development in established areas is consistent with its surroundings. Historic preservation for property listed in the National Register of Historic Places is encouraged and incentivized, as further explained below.
Wake County Historic Preservation Commission
Wake County Historic Preservation Commission has jurisdiction on historic properties located within Wendell. The historic preservation program and commission are funded by Wake County government and currently staffed by Capital Area Preservation, Inc., a nonprofit preservation. The commission's primary responsibilities are to: 1) Initiate and recommend properties for designation as historic landmarks; 2) Review Certificates of Appropriateness; 3) Keep the historic architecture survey up to date and maintain the historic resources database; 4) Initiate National Register listing and comment on National Register nominations; 5) Develop a historic preservation plan and ensure that historic resources are recognized in county and municipal plans; 6) Provide information to the public about the county's preservation program and historic resources. Visit the above website for more information on the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture. The town of Wendell contains two national register districts – one in Wendell’s commercial core and the other along Wendell Boulevard. Wendell’s Downtown Commercial Historic District was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The Wendell Boulevard National Register district was later established in June of 2009.
Listing in the National Register is primarily an honorary designation. Under Federal law, owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that there is no federal involvement. Owners have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so. However, for those who choose to perform renovations in a historic manner, both state and federal tax credits may be available.
Historic Trail Map
The Wendell Historical Society, in conjunction with the Town of Wendell, has created a Historic Trail Map to guide residents who are interested in learning more about some of the many historic structures in
downtown Wendell. The Historic Trail Map highlights 19 historic structures (both residential and commercial) which date back as far as 1850. These structures are privately owned and are not open to the public for interior showings unless otherwise posted. A copy of the Historic Trail Map, as well as a supplementary information sheet providing historical and architectural information for each building is included below.