Glascock…More Than Just a Painful Street Name

Glascock…More Than Just a Painful Street Name

What's in a Name?

August, 10, 2009, by Ladye Jane

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I always dread the point of a phone call when I get the inevitable snicker because I have to tell the operator at the phone/cable/etc company what street I live on. Glascock Street. Some of them even make me repeat it just to hear me say it again, then I have to spell it or I’ll get stuff sent to Glass Cock St. (those that live on the street know EXACTLY what I’m talking about).

Well, today while researching something else I stumbled upon why the street is called Glascock, which makes living with the street name a little less annoying. It’s named after Dr. Harold Glascock, who along with Dr. A.R. Tucker, founded the Mary Elizabeth Hospital which used sit on the corner of Wake Forest and Glascock St.

The doctors originally opened the hospital in 1914 on the corner of Peace and Halifax before constructing and moving to the Wake Forest & Glascock location in 1920. Originally, the hospital received scrutiny from the Raleigh medical community because both doctors were osteopaths, which was not considered a legitimate medical profession by many MDs. The doctors went to medical school to help strengthen their reputations, but still struggled for years after.

Dr. Glascock was the main force behind Mary Elizabeth (named after the mothers of the two doctors and their wives). Glascock’s main goal was to bring humanity into hospitals, with a focus on the relationships fostered between doctor, nurse, and patient. Later in his practice, he began to adhere to traditional medical principles with an emphasis on new technologies. Mary Elizabeth was the home of many firsts, including the first hospital to hold a blood transfusion in North Carolina, and the area’s first modern obstetrical unit. The hospital continued to operate until 1978, and many Raleigh residents have fond memories associated with the caring hospital. Pictured above is one of the reunion parties that they used to hold every year for the babies born in the hospital.

The building still exists on the corner, and has recently been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The continuation sheet of the registration form has a wonderful history of the hospital and doctors that you can read here.

Above Image: Birthday reunion party of 1926.
Image Courtesy of the Raleigh City Museum

Black and White images above courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives

Current photos from the National Register of Historic Places application

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Olde Raleigh


  • Jaclyn
    08/10 12:14 PM

    Holy crap!  My boyfriend and I were just talking about how horrible of a name that is this past weekend!  I have always wondered what that building was.  Thanks Lady Jane.

  • HRH
    08/10 12:31 PM

    Does anyone know what the building is currently used for?

  • Ladye Jane
    08/10 12:54 PM

    It’s an office building that I think houses the NC Partnership for Children and the Triangle Land Conservancy.

  • JZ
    08/10 01:02 PM

    Thanks LJ!....we Glascockians should not be afraid flaunt our finer traits….


  • Small Johnson
    08/10 01:18 PM

    Try living at the intersection of Smallwood & Johnson (Cameron Park)....

  • oakcity
    08/10 01:57 PM

    i always thought it was funny that glass cock was right by the “old breast works” i love that area, long live oakdale.

    whats with that really big house kind of behind that place? any connection?

  • Daniel Whittaker
    08/10 01:57 PM

    Some of us, due to a sense of humor, actually bought our houses DUE TO the name of the street. I’m currently building a 7 ft. tall piece of art in my front yard that will represent my love for this street. Ok…Ok…Just kidding. ;-)

    Thanks Ladye Jane! You solved that riddle for me.

  • smitty
    08/10 02:01 PM

    Isn’t Alien Skin in that building?

  • Micah
    08/10 02:07 PM

    I lived on Watauga just off of Glascock for many years, and I was continually perplexed as to why this name is so funny to grown-ups.  I grew up in a rural area where there were lots of Glascocks and Glasscocks and never thought twice about it until I moved to Raleigh and witnessed first hand just how the name makes people ask you to repeat yourself before they smirk.  My younger neighbors on Watauga even laughed IN FRONT of my grandparents when I introduced them as Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson (Not an uncommon last name in some parts).  Now, there is a street somewhere in West Raleigh called “Bare Back Court.”  I realize it has horse riding connotations, but SHEESH.

  • Raleigh Boy
    08/10 02:50 PM

    oakcity—that big house is Norburn Terrace. Its construction was begun by Raleigh att’y Thos. Argo in the 1880s. His wife died soon thereafter and he never completed it. The empty brick shell was known for many years as “Argo’s Folly.” The Norris family later purchased the property, and the house was finished in 1898 to the design of A.G. Bauer. The terraces are the only example of 19th century residential landscape architecture remaining in Raleigh.

    The Civil War breastworks, 1/3 mile to the west, disappeared in the 1990s, when the Pilot Mill condo/housing development went in.

  • Argo
    08/10 04:58 PM

    I thought it was pronounced glazcock instead of glasscock.  That may stifle a few snickers.

  • Phillo
    08/10 05:48 PM

    Thanks.  Now every time I’m on Glascock I’m going to think Glazed Cock.

  • NCSU
    08/11 05:31 AM

    I’ve lived in Raleigh all my life and am not a prude, but even as an immature junior high boy, never snickered at the name of this street.

    Thanks for degrading what could have otherwise been a nice story. It’s not so much the PG-13 banter, but that you would find it funny to poke childish fun of someone’s last name.

  • kg
    08/11 05:39 AM

    obviously off the subject but thanks raleigh boy… i’ve often wondered where the breastworks were that are referenced on the historical marker on wake forest rd.  i’ve been trying to find them for a couple of years now.  fwiw, thanks to whoever bulldozed them… :(

  • oakcity
    08/11 05:54 AM

    thanks raleigh boy, my wife and i used to live on norris st. and walked by that house all the time wondering what the background on it was, i really think thats the best neighborhood in raleigh, i miss living over there but we were able to bet a bit larger house in longview.

    one day i’ll be back in good ole oakdale.

  • sally
    08/11 07:04 AM

    I never wondered about the street name - or snickered, for that matter - because we used to know a Raleigh family by the same name.

    But speaking of the hospital, I’m pretty sure my grandmother was a nurse at Mary Elizabeth many years ago…....

  • skip
    08/11 09:07 AM

    I used to work at Alien Skin back when they were in the old hospital’s basement. I don’t think we ever really thought about what had gone on in the rooms back in the day - like that my windowless office could have been a morgue for all I know.

    Speaking of snickering, what about the historical marker for the Old Breastworks that’s right down the street from Glascock ( - OLD BREASTWORKS)

  • argo
    08/11 03:50 PM

    Glazcock, not glayz-cock.

  • Chico
    08/11 06:47 PM

    Great article and photos. As a Raleigh native I always enjoy history pieces on my hometown. but I don’t get the reference on the street name. Have you guys ever been to Frisky Business in Durham? They have lots of glass cocks, and they look a lot more fun than scary.

    p.s. I am purposely leaving the interpretation of this comment open ended.

  • hellosir
    08/11 07:56 PM

    even better is the bus routes, glascock inbound, and glascock outbound. really immature, but yeah i find them somewhat amusing.

    i thought alien skin was now in the pilot mill complex?

  • Stef
    08/12 11:52 AM

    I remember that I was hesitant to consider renting this great house just down the street from the historical hospital. I fell in love with the house and the location, but I knew the street name would create some interesting encounters. It has been worth it, though, and I just decided to take the potentially humorous name in stride. :D

    Thanks for this great look at the history behind the name!

  • emc
    08/13 11:05 AM

    Me and my wife were looking at property on Glascock a couple years back. The selling agent for one of the homes refused to say the full name of the street, referring to it only as “Glasco”. At first we dismissed it, but then wondered when he would pause and sheepishly say “Glasco” again and look down at the ground. Religious guilt is hilarious!

  • Beavis
    08/13 12:27 PM

    Heh, Breastworks.  Heh, heh, heh.

  • Todd Morman
    08/13 05:06 PM

    “that you would find it funny to poke childish fun of someone’s last name.”

    I think I missed the part where the poster ruined the story by “poking childish fun” at someone’s last name. They explained how it was sometimes painful to have to explain the name to people, yes, and then pointed out that learning about the person behind the name made that situation less annoying. Good lord, NCSU. Your finger-wagging here is completely misplaced.

  • Jim Smith
    08/16 04:08 AM

    Maybe you folks that think Glascock or Glasscock are a bad name should get your minds out of the gutter first.  It is a surname perhaps Scottish or English.  It is a respected name both in England and in the United States.  There are many famous Glas(s)cocks in the United States: governors, baseball player, congressman, philanthropists, etc.
    Two counties in the US are named Glas(s)cock.
    Glasscock Co, Texas and Glascock Co, Georgia.

    Get your minds out of the gutter and do something more creative with your minds.

    There is nothing wrong with the name. Just your dirty little minds.

  • Betsy
    08/16 08:01 AM

    Everything is so Freudian nowadays.  I thought the current generation was so proud of leaving all that behind.  Instead these comments are like leafing through a men’s magazine from 1954.

  • C
    08/17 05:43 AM

    Are you people really that uptight, that you cannot see the humor in a street whose name sounds an awful lot like a common term for a dildo and / or crack pipe?  Go up a panty size and relax a little bit.  It isn’t that serious.

  • oakcity
    08/17 06:44 AM

    better than living on rubber dick lane.

  • arthurb3
    08/17 11:19 AM

    Thankyou Betsy!

  • Phillo
    08/17 05:28 PM

    Hehe.  You said “behind”.

  • C
    08/18 11:08 AM

    I grew up on Rubber Dick Lane.  You would think, in this day and age, we would be above joking about such a dignified name.

  • lunarvision
    08/18 04:32 PM

    What a nice surprise finding this article - I actually live right next door to that old hospital!

    I’ve heard “that’s creepy” when revealing the building next door used to be a hospital; but the scariest thing I’ve witnessed is just the random prostitute pick-up or teen smoke session in the parking lot (rarely, together).

    And whenever I give my street name I also get a few chuckles or the “Please spell that.”  Anticipating this, I usually say “You’re not the only one to laugh…”, or I emphasize the one “s” in Glascock, and attempt pronunciation like it’s some fancy-pants German name - “That’s glahz’coch to you…”  Perhaps one day, I’ll finally just blurt out “it’s glass cock - like a m’f'n crack pipe, okay!”

    Speaking of crack pipes…Once, a certain friend quietly left a glass vase (??seriously!), shaped like our beloved address’ namesake, hidden behind some bottles in my kitchen.  Sadly, it was later found by someone other than me.  (Try explaining that!)  Jokes and suspicion still haunt me.

  • Harold Glascock
    08/20 09:58 AM

    Just for the record, one of the doctors mentioned in this article was my grandfather.

    And his son served as a physician in the U.S. Army commanding The American Hospital in Paris, France and other fine accomplishments.

    While you are correct in mentioning the peculiarities of this name, those of you of a certain vintage might appreciate that one of Jethro Tull’s guitarists was a Glascock.

    And for those of a historical bent please consider that the Glascock name has a certain tradition in America with family members having fought in The American War for independence and the War between the States.
    You will find that this family with deep roots in England, Scotalnd and
    as neighbors to George Washington has made some worthwhile contributions to society over generations.
    As to changing the name Glascock street in Raleigh, North Carolina to conform with current tastes and preferences.
    Please feel free to forget the past and do what you will do.

    Harold W.Glascock III

  • 150
    08/20 11:51 AM

    Well stated, Harold.  Hopefully the immature here will consider that.

  • ?
    08/20 11:59 AM

    Yeah, thanks Harry Glascock.

  • AirCraft
    08/15 02:49 PM

    ???????, ????? ?????? ?? ???, ???? ????? ??? ????, ? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???, ???? ??? ????????! Goodwork!

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