For Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation
Jesse Ray Hinnant, Jr. was born in Wendell, North Carolina and received his A.B. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 and a M. A. in History from East Carolina University in 1972. A career in insurance followed, but his true passion has always been the study and advancement of history and the preservation of our built environment.
Ray, as he is known to family and friends, served as President of The Wake County Historical Society for ten years and newsletter editor for the organization for sixteen years. While President, Ray helped lead the efforts to restore the photograph on the Rachel Bauer monument at Oakwood Cemetery; restore the grave marker of Jacob Johnson, father of President Andrew Johnson, at City Cemetery; restore the Devereux plot at City Cemetery, and place new headstones on the graves of two Joel Lane daughters at City Cemetery. Under his leadership, the Society also contributed financially to organizations around Wake County in support of restoration projects.
Prior to becoming President of the Wake County Historical Society, Ray received the President’s Cup Award, which is given to the person who “made an outstanding contribution to the study, improvement, the cultivation, and/or the advancement of the history of Wake County.”
Ray continues to be actively involved in preservation efforts across Wake County. He is a current board member of the L. L. Polk House Foundation, Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation, and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies, and is a member of the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission. During his service on the board of the L. L. Polk House Foundation, the house was moved to its present location and restored on both the exterior and interior. During his tenure as a board member of Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation, the group raised $90,000 to restore the William Peace plot in the City Cemetery and additional funds for other cemetery restorations across the city and for providing maps of the O’Rorke Cemetery, Mount Hope Cemetery, and City Cemetery.
Ray has published many articles relating to the history of Wendell. Currently, he serves as the Treasurer of the Wendell Historical Society. Previously, he served that organization as both President and Vice-President. As Wendell Historical Society President, Ray played an integral role in the effort to restore the first post office in Wendell and the effort to establish two National Register Historic Districts in Wendell. He is currently raising money to establish a museum that will interpret the local history of Wendell. Needless to say, if an effort involves the history or preservation of Wake County’s architectural heritage, Ray Hinnant is almost always involved in some form or another.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2017 Anthemion Award to Jesse Ray Hinnant, Jr. for Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation.