by William Needham Finley IV™

ITB Disasters

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Today’s guest post comes from The ITB Historian. Writer’s note: our thoughts are with those who suffered in the weekend’s storms. Others will provide better words for comfort–we’ll do what we do best: keep things light.

Last Saturday morning, ITBers were horrified to wake up to news of a tornado watch.

After spending a few hours hiding in their well constructed homes, ITBers emerged to assess the storm damage. Sadly and tragically, some of Raleigh’s oldest, finest oak trees were felled by high winds. (Note: I just call any big tree in Raleigh that isn’t a magnolia an oak). It’s a brutal side of nature to witness, trees who served us so proudly meeting a violent fate in the end. It reminds you to not take for granted those incredibly long waits at the Whitaker Mill/Wake Forest Rd light, but instead to use the time to admire the scenery around you, even if it’s just the oversized chair at Snoopy’s. Any one of these ITB treasures could be literally blown away on any given day.

Elsewhere, in the town of Brier Creek, some apartments fell over. Yawn.

I keep watching this vid and daydreaming that these were the new Cameron Village apartments.

One particularly large tree landed directly across Glenwood Avenue, bowing towards The Club in a symbolic final gesture. As was noted by ITBNN via a correspondent, the golf course was thankfully spared.


While the golf course survived, folks trying to get to The Club on Saturday had to enter by the tennis center and drive ALL the way through the parking lot. Ridiculous. This was a monumental headache, and although safety from personal harm is important, a certain amount of collective inconvenience can, in fact, be classified as a disaster.

This obviously brings up the discussion of the biggest natural disasters to hit ITB. The list would start with Hurricanes Hazel (1954) and Fran (1996) and probably include some snow/ice storms and a tornado or two. (Note: the late 80’s North Raleigh tornado was deemed geographically not ITB. Though its tragic nature continues to draw the sympathy of even the most xenophobic Old Raleighites, the event itself cannot be considered an ITB disaster).

In terms of inconvenience, Fran was a complete ITB disaster. Trees and debris were everywhere, forcing people to drive on major 4-lane roads or sometimes even WALK places. And worse, so many were affected, there weren’t enough people to hire to clear all the yards. I mean, look at us in this picture splitting wood in our yard. Where ARE we….Johnston County?



Our inability to clear our own yards led to some solid “no power” wine and candle Broughton parties. Being out of school for a week was obviously a plus for the kids, but a nightmare for the parents, who actually had to deal with us for extended periods of time. On the bright side, Fran was a great chance for many to claim storm damage for insurance purposes to upgrade to the newest BMW line.

ITB disasters are not just relegated to storms. We all know ITBers have to deal with a measure of inconvenience on a daily basis. Driving anywhere near Hayes Barton Methodist on the way to NOFO for a hungover Sunday brunch around the time church gets out IS indeed a disaster AND a major inconvenience. Same goes for waiting for a table at the PR behind someone you didn’t go to school with. There are more lasting inconveniences, such as wasting our parents’ tax dollars on building the Light + Time Tower. While hiding it behind the Fairview bridge caused most ITBers to forget about it, it still shouldn’t have happened. While these are annoying, they aren’t severe enough to be considered “disasters”.

When we say “ITB disaster”, we’re thinking the time 540 opened, which gave everyone who lived between 440 and 540 the warped idea that they were ITB, or I-anything. Or when North Hills started trying to turn a profit rather than simply being a huge parking lot for Scotty’s and Andy’s patrons. These were true ITB disasters that we may never fully recover from.

So now I present to you the list of nominees for “Biggest ITB Disaster”: the events and happenings that caused the most inconvenience for the most amount of people who rightfully believe their ITB birthright and bank account mean never having to deal with any inconvenience ever. We’ll see where the most recent round of Beltline renovations ends up ranking.

-Wake Co. School Board adopts the Schools of Choice program, March 11, 1982

Basically, this was an expansion of the Magnet Program, but let’s back up a minute. First, let’s recognize that most of these educational issues from the 70s and 80s had race as a major factor. Let’s be clear that the ITB Historian is color blind, since ITBers consider themselves superior to ALL people, regardless of race. We gladly look down on others for any reason we choose. But in this instance, it was important to get the race relations stuff right simply because Charlotte botched it SO badly that it was going to be fun rubbing it in their faces.

The inevitable merger of the Raleigh and Wake County school systems came mid-70s, but it was mostly a PR move to at least make a nod towards doing the right thing. (Side note: how are Chapel Hill Schools still escaping merging with Orange County? Who from Chapel Hill is making the case with a straight face that it’s good for the kids in Efland?)

The Magnet Program opening full throttle in ’82 is really what made everything go haywire. Before that it was easy, you sent your kid to Root, Bates (where Daniels is now), or Lacy, and then Daniels. But now they were trying to trick ITB parents into sending their kids to Wiley, Washington, Ligon, and even Enloe(!) by telling them they had “gifted” programs for their “gifted” kids. Even worse is that some parents fell for it!

And worse than that, it led to an incredibly strong school system, which apparently is something people consider heavily when looking for a place to live. So the Magnet program and school system actually began drawing outsiders to Raleigh. A true ITB disaster.

Throw in the few OTB neighborhoods that Broughton would soon draw from, and those crazy years when Blenheim was basically split by the Martin/Daniels school district line on opposite sides of the same street, and there’s no question the Magnet Program ranks as an all-time ITB disaster.

-Club renovations, mid-90’s

As upgrades and improvements became obviously necessary, Club members expected them to just suddenly be fixed. No one actually thought they’d have to alter THEIR Club routine to allow it to happen. As if this one needs any more explanation, I’ll say this: they had to hold Cotillion at the YMCA. The freaking Y. DISASTER.

-Broughton post-Homecoming Party, October, 1993

No offense to the 70+ folks who received drinking citations that night (and shout-out to the window-jumpers/briefly incarcerated), but the carnage of this epic event isn’t the reason it rates as an all-time ITB disaster. This was a seminal moment in party protocol as it was the first time alcohol citations were issued to ITB party participants. Not sure how it went in the rest of the universe, but prior to the “Garner party”–as it came to be known–typically police approached parties with reverence, glanced at one fake ID, politely asked folks to keep it down, and reminded people not to drink and drive. But that night? Some guys named ALE showed up and made two lines: drinkers and non-drinkers. Drinkers got tickets. Non-drinkers got breathalyzed, failed, and then got tickets. Crazy.

And forever after, entitled youth from Anderson Drive to Cameron Park had to worry about getting a “drinking ticket” just for living the ITB life. Historical note: this was when the phrase “sorry for partying” was originally conceived. Look it up. It also gave way to a classic bit of teenage logic: the police are at fault because, by enforcing the law, they are encouraging me to run from the party and drive home while intoxicated, out of fear of getting a drinking (while not driving) ticket. Some people even got DUIs doing just that! Damn cops.

Note: the party did take place in Garner, so geographically it was not ITB. But come on, it was the Broughton Homecoming Party. Definitely counts.

-Incorporation of Cary, April 6, 1871

I’m sure they were a huge pain in the ass before 1871, but that’s the first official date we have to go by, so that’s exactly what we’ll do. Much like the Club renovations, this one should need no explanation. I could write a book on all the things wrong with Cary, but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that they annoy us.

Have more nominees to add to the list? Use the comments below or #ITBdisaster on Twitter to nominate an event that caused serious inconvenience to a LOT of people who have not dealt with much life adversity.


  1. Would have been nice if the storm had cleared the Country Club and The City could turn that land back into Bloomsbury Park!


  2. Mr. Finley,
    Will you elaborate on the seemingly recurring subject oh Mansion Arson?
    A fan

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