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Fire destroys two-story Durham home
07/24/2014 04:22 AM
Fire destroys Durham homeFire destroyed a two-story home in the 1200 block of Red Oak Avenue late Wednesday, Durham Fire Department officials said.

Shots fired into Wilson home; 7-year-old killed
07/24/2014 03:58 AM
7-year-old killed in Wilson shootingA 7-year-old child died early Thursday from injuries suffered when bullets were fired into a home in the 400 block of Parkview Street in Wilson, police said.

Durham cafe has mission to meet all dietary needs
07/24/2014 03:55 AM
Duke University The owner of The Refectory Café started on Duke University's campus with a mission to change the model for quick-service food and to be the school's first "green café."

Free market feeds needy in Edgecombe County
07/24/2014 03:40 AM
Inter-Faith Food ShuttleIn a small community of the east side of Edgecombe County and on the edge of desperation, the monthly delivery from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is a welcome sight.

Willie Nelson, Farm Aid coming to Raleigh in September
07/24/2014 03:28 AM
Rapids Jam 2011Willie Nelson and the annual Farm Aid concert and food festival are coming to North Carolina.

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Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Summer 2014 Restaurant Roundup
07/24/2014 05:20 AM
Summer nights in Raleigh are good for sweets and ales. Maybe not at the same time but if you happen to like a beer after a sweet treat, this season’s eats news has you covered. For a complete list of eats, drinks, and coffees in and around downtown, make sure to bookmark the DT Eats […]

Pic of the Week
07/24/2014 05:20 AM
Concrete and steel is rising at the Charter Square site. Similar Posts: City Plaza to crown downtown – Local & State – News & Observer (January 5, 2013, 0 Comments) Charter Square South Tower Groundbreaking (March 24, 2014, 25 Comments) Charter Square Crane Rises (April 20, 2014, 4 Comments)

Sharing Bikes, It’s What Raleighites Do
07/24/2014 05:20 AM
San Antonio B Cycle Station Or will do anyway according to a recent report. I just went through most of the recently released 2014 Raleigh Bike Share Feasibility Study. The conclusion of the study finds that a bike share system in Raleigh is feasible. You can get the study here (pdf) or see it and […]

Raleigh [ ] Space Kickstarter Seeks Funds For First Parklet in Downtown Raleigh
07/24/2014 05:20 AM
Go to the Raleigh [ ] Space Kickstarter page The folks behind the Raleigh [ ] Space project, which plan to bring a parklet to Salisbury Street, are trying to raise awareness for their Kickstarter campaign. I want to pass along the message that an anonymous donor has emerged with plans to match the funds […]

Square Loop is Approved at Capital Boulevard and Peace Street
07/24/2014 05:20 AM
Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street Just a quick one today. At yesterday’s Raleigh City Council meeting, approval was given for the NCDOT recommended P5 alternative, also known as “the square loop.” We’ve gone over this plan for that area before so I’ll recommend you jump to a November 2013 post. I feel the P5 […]

Welcome to RaleighFree!

Our goal is to provide you with information about the wide variety of free things to do in Raleigh, NC. With the many parks, museums, and other attractions, there's enough to keep most people busy and happy for quite a while. Browse our links, and check back soon, more content is coming online quickly.

History of Raleigh

Oak Tree Raleigh is also known as the "City of Oaks," mainly because of the numerous oak trees that adorn the entire city. Yet aside from these functions, the city is also North Carolina's capital and Wake County's seat. According to a count for July 2006, Raleigh's population is estimated to be around 353,604, thus making the capital one of America's rapidly expanding cities. In fact, Raleigh ranks fourth in the "List of Best Big Cities in 2006" by Money Magazine. Of course, anyone who is familiar with the city's history is not at all surprised by such a remarkable development. Since Raleigh is among the selected US cities intentionally developed to be a state capital, it can easily be said that the city is destined for expansion and progress.

Long before becoming a state capital, the city was called as the "Wake Crossroads," a name that gives a clear idea regarding the city's geographical function. At that time, Raleigh served as a place where travelers from either north or south could rest and maybe have a drink in one of its taverns. The place was eventually chosen to be North Carolina's capital in 1788. According to some accounts, "Wake Crossroads" was selected since it was within a 10-mile radius of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a place popular among legislators at that time. But it was in 1792 when Raleigh was formally established as North Carolina's capital.

Sir Walter Raleigh That same year, the North Carolina General Assembly bought a lot from a local businessman and started making plans for Raleigh, which was by the way, modeled after Philadelphia, the US capital state at that time. The city got its name from Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored the Colony of Roanoke. The aforementioned assembly held its first meeting in the capital in December 1794. A month after that, the legislative body officially granted Raleigh a charter along with an "Intendant Police" (Mayor) and seven commissioners. John Haywood was Raleigh's first "Intendant Police."

Although Raleigh was lucky to be spared from destruction during the Civil War, the city remained little in size until streetcar lines were introduced in the 1920s. Since then, Raleigh began to grow, eventually transforming into one of the state's commercial hubs. A railroad was also constructed to link the city to neighboring communities. By the end of the Second World War, Raleigh had undergone many significant developments, particularly in its infrastructure. What used to be a rural community evolved into a bustling urban center. The development of the city's infrastructure is largely attributed to the founding of the North Carolina State University School of Design in 1948. But the construction and existence of the Research Triangle Park in the 1959 also brought big changes to the city. With a 7,000 acre land area, the RTP is the world's biggest research park, comprising Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. With its high-tech facilities, the RTP is also among the global leaders in scientific research and development.

As education is essential to any improvement of a city, Raleigh also has many universities and colleges. Aside from the North Carolina State University, other schools in the capital include Shaw University, St. Augustine's College, Meredith College, Wake Tech Community College, and Peace College. Both St. Augustine's and Shaw were founded towards the end of the 1860s, as schools for the freed slaves after the Civil War. Shaw was the premier university founded for that particular purpose in the country. In 1874, the Estey Hall was added to provide higher learning to women of African-American ethnicity.