History

History

The North Carolina Council for Women is an advocacy agency that is housed in the state’s
Department of Administration. The agency was established by Executive Order in 1963
by Governor Terry Sanford in order to create an agency that would "advise the Governor,
state agencies and the legislature on issues of concern to women." 

Over the ensuing years, certain issues have taken on more or less importance depending on many factors including the political climate, the economy and social trends. In spite of these factors, the issues of most concern have remained remarkably the same. By and large, they have surrounded issues of pay equity, representation and access to opportunities within the workplace, in education and violence against women. 

The agency has been designated to administer state funds and to develop program standards. In 1998, Governor James B. Hunt created the Domestic Violence Task Force. The DV Task Force was charged with making recommendations in three areas: strengthening NC laws to better respond to victim safety and offender accountability, developing a public awareness campaign, and assuring that shelters are available in every county in the state. In 1999 the DV Task Force became a permanent Commission. In 2001, Governor Michael F. Easley and members of the General Assembly consolidated the two agencies.

Information about the Merrimon-Wynne House
 
 

Merrimon-Wynne House Drawing

 

For over thirty years the North Carolina Council for Women was housed in the historic Merrimon-Wynne House.  In 2009, the Council for Women re-located to the Lee House in downtown Raleigh, NC less than a mile from the Merrimon-Wynne House.

Originally, the two-story, weatherboard frame house was built for Augustus Merrimon and his family in 1872. Merrimon was a lawyer and judge who later gained national prominence as a U.S. senator and a state supreme court justice. Upon his death in 1898, the estate was sold to Lula B. Page. Mrs. Page, a widow, remodeled the interior of the home. She resided in the house for a short time before her marriage to J. Stanley Wynne of Raleigh. 

The Wynnes took a keen interest in the nearby Presbyterian girls' school, Peace Institute (now Peace College). As a result of their involvement with Peace, the Wynne House was deeded to the college for $100 in April 1919. Peace Institute utilized the house as a dormitory, creating the Lula B. Wynne Hall for Girls. It was later used to house home economics classes, a vocal studio, and was used as a teacherage. In 1935 the building was converted to a residence for the college president until it became home to the college chaplain in 1960. During the residence of the college chaplain, the Merrimon-Wynne House was faced with destruction. The house had begun to deteriorate, and renovation funds were unavailable. 

Peace College Foundation still owned the home but could not afford maintenance; the Raleigh Historic Sites Commission was interested in assisting but lacked the necessary funds. In 1973 the college and the Historic Sites Commission launched a joint campaign to raise funds for the preservation of the home. The state purchased the house. 

The status of the home was uncertain in the hands of the state. The area in which the house is located was scheduled for expansion, and many buildings in the area had already been destroyed. In an effort to save the historic house and prevent its demolition, the North Carolina Division of Archives and History successfully nominated the house to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1975. 

The Merrimon-Wynne House was purchased by the state at a time when the North Carolina Council on the Status of Women needed office space to accommodate its expanding staff. The council's executive director, Betty Barber, visited the house and asked the state if the council could use the home for its new offices. The state granted approval of the proposal on December 15, 1975, and the council moved to the house, at 526 North Wilmington Street, using only the first floor for office space. 

During the spring of 1977, Miriam Dorsey, executive director, requested and was granted use of the second floor of the home. The house was redecorated near the end of 1977 and the roof, plumbing and wiring were replaced. 

The Merrimon-Wynn House is one of the last remaining Victorian-style houses in Raleigh. Renovations were made to the house between 1985 and 1988. In 1993, Jerry Miller, a well-known North Carolina artist, sketched a pen and ink illustration of the Merrimon-Wynne House which became the council's logo until 2008.