Hall of  

James Wesley "Willie" York (Sept. 11, 1912 - March 2, 2004)
Inducted 1995
   Raleigh would not be the city it is, if not for developer James "Willie" York. He was born in 1913 into a building developer's family. His father, C. V. York, owned a local construction company.

 Junior Achievement
   When Willie was 11 years old, he began working part-time at his father's business, serving as a waterboy in 1924 on the project to build the Wiley School. He attended and graduated from North Carolina State University in 1933 with an engineering degree. He worked at C. V. York Construction Co. until 1941 when his father died and World War II involved America. He left Raleigh to work on construction at the Marine Corps base in Cherry Point, NC, as well as building houses in eastern North Carolina. 
   Following the war, he established his business (J. W. York and Co., now known as York Properties) in Raleigh building post-war housing. In 1949, he branched into commercial real estate development, building Cameron Village — one of the first suburban shopping centers in the Southeast — surrounded by 561 apartments and 100 homes. The project won the National Association of Homebuilders' award for best neighborhood development.
   Among his many commercial developments were: Raleigh's first  industrial park (York Industrial Park in 1951), hotels, shopping centers and more.
   In 1960, North Carolina Governor Dan Moore appointed him as head of the state Department of Conservation and Development.
   He served on the board for the Raleigh Airport and pushed for construction of a new terminal. He had been a philanthropist for many causes.
   He was married to Elizabeth West York. Their son, Smedes York, served as mayor of Raleigh.


Cameron Village shopping center today (above).

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