Pigeon House Branch, A “New” Downtown Raleigh Waterway

Looking down from my Glenwood South condo terrace, I see a small creek that emerges from under my building, then disappears under West Street.  

I’ve noticed the small creek before, but didn’t give it much thought until recently.  That’s when I learned that the forgotten creek – today mostly buried in giant pipes – is actually the most prominent waterway in central Raleigh. Unfortunately, it’s also the most abused.

The Pigeon House Branch flows from Edna Metz Wells Park, just down from Cameron Village, through Cameron Park down Johnson Street, into Glenwood South, across Peace Street, down through the former Devereaux Meadows, and then flows north along Capital Boulevard.

Some of you may have read the story of Devereaux Meadows, site of a former minor league baseball stadium that was featured a few months ago in the DTraleigh.com blog.

Devereaux Meadows, Courtesy of North Carolina State Archives

There is a project underway by the city to clean up the creek, but city officials are starting to think BIGGER.  Given the prominent location of the creek, running through the northern gateway into Downtown Raleigh, there is even talk of creating a “river walk”.   This idea was first mentioned last year in the vision of Dan Douglas for the Downtown’s northern gateway, now included in the gateway options under study by city planners.

A waterway / riverwalk could form an important part of the new northern gateway into the city, just as Union Station anchors the southern gateway. 

Imagine walking or riding your bike down the “new” tree-lined green space along Capital Boulevard that borders this “new” waterway, as you watch passenger trains roll by on their way into Downtown Raleigh. 

I see this vision becoming a reality in the not too distant future.  Borrowing the words of John Lennon, “Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!”


  1. Saf

    This can open many possibilities to connect the urban envirnoment with nature and topography.

  2. allaboutdowntown

    What a great amenity and feature we could add to Downtown Raleigh. Having condos, retail or office overlooking nature is always a bonus. Thanks for the research and exposure Jim!!!!

  3. Jim Belt

    Interesting view on this topic from a recent article in the Midtown Raleigh News, titled "Create Riverwalk for Downtown". Here is a link to the article.