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Arts & Culture

As A Memorial To A ‘Dying Breed,’ Oakwood Inn Offers Parts Of The Historic Home To The Public

A picture of the interior of the Oakwood Inn
Leland Little Auctions
The interior of the Oakwood Inn

Traditional bed-and-breakfasts are flipping their ‘Open’ sign to ‘Closed’ in a growing era where more people are going online to swap lodging through services like Airbnb. Historic homes are turning their lights off while years of cozy weekend getaways are becoming only a memory.

But Raleigh’s original bed-and-breakfast is letting the public bring those memories into their own homes. The Oakwood Inn is holding an online-only auction for the chairs, dressers and other antique furnishings that made its six Victorian-era guest rooms one of a kind. The auction will be held online at, with bidding open June 17 - June 24. 

“Regrettably, places like the Oakwood Inn are a dying breed- it is like the horse and buggy. This is a very unique opportunity for people to acquire Raleigh history that in 10 to 20 years will be a bygone era,” said Leland Little, President and Auctioneer.

An image of the outside of the Oakwood Inn
Credit Leland Little Auctions /
The Oakwood Inn, originally constructed in 1871

The Oakwood Inn housed its last guest on June 1 and closed its doors to the public. The innkeepers will continue to live in the house and use it for their family. Originally constructed in 1871, the inn is on the National Register for Historic Places, a rare occurrence for North Carolina homes, according to Little.

Now, because the auction’s items are organized by the rooms they were located-the East Room, Polk Room, Foyer, etc.- all the visitors who came through the B&B’s 31 years can take home a piece of North Carolina history.

And even though online sites like Airbnb have hurt the more traditional business style of the Oakwood Inn, the auction will also be online, in keeping with modern trends.

“There are people who stayed there from California or overseas, so we wanted to make this available not only to local folks. Imagine if you and your bride stayed there two years ago and have a memory of a painting and said, 'You know, that meant a lot to us and now we can have it shipped to us,'" Little said.

Little added that with the online public auction, people can bid on their computer any time of the day. But there will still be a public preview of the items at the Inn on Thursday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Check out some of the featured items up for bidding below:

Image of a dresser by Thomas Day
Credit Leland Little Auctions
Southern Late Classical Dresser attributed to Thomas Day, ca. 1840

An image of Continental Parlour Chairs in the Oakwood Inn
Credit Leland Little Auctions
Pair of Continental Parlour Chairs, ca. 1860s

An image oa Carved Floor Lamp from Oakwood Inn
Credit Leland Little Auctions
Fine Continental Carved Floor Lamp, ca. late 19th century

Image of two miniature portraits of ladies from Oakwood Inn
Credit Leland Little Auctions
Two Miniature Portraits of Ladies, ca. 19th century

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