Cameron Village Trend-Setter for Raleigh and the South


Pulling up to the Wachovia Bank drive-through at Cameron Village in 1950. Image from the State Archives

On November 17, 1949, Cameron Village—one of the first shopping centers in the Southeast—opened in Raleigh. The shopping center was part of a larger, 158-acre planned development that also included single-family homes and several apartment buildings.

Some of the first shops to open in Cameron Village were Colonial Stores, the Village Restaurant, Roses 5-10-25¢ and PHR Cradle Shops. More than 65 stores—including a dry cleaner, shoe repair shop, butcher, beauty shop, two barber shops and a movie theater— and 112 professional offices were open at the complex within two years.

Cameron Village was enormously popular during the 1950s and 1960s, luring business away from downtown Raleigh, but it faced increasing competition from larger malls like Crabtree Valley in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 1970s, “The Underground,” a below-ground area with popular restaurants and nightclubs was completed, though it was short-lived with most establishments there closing during the 1980s.

The complex underwent major renovations in the 1990s and 2000s, and remains a popular Raleigh shopping destination to this day.

Click here to see more images of the Cameron Village Underground from the State Archives.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


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2 responses to “Cameron Village Trend-Setter for Raleigh and the South”

  1. Ardath Weaver says :

    Read about visionary developer J. Willie York and the residential historic district at

  2. VanessaM says :

    Wow, I had no idea the shopping center was that old. It has grown beautifully and is definitely a favorite for our family.

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