Local News:

Fort Bragg soldiers receive new mission: Home
09/01/2014 08:20 PM
Fort Bragg soldiers return homeMore than 100 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division returned to Fort Bragg on Monday.

Ferguson on the minds of many at Duke
09/01/2014 07:48 PM
Ferguson discussion at DukeA diverse crowd of more than 300 students, faculty and community members packed the Nelson Music Room on Duke University's East Campus for what organizers described as an academic event - not a rally or call to action - about the police shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo.

Decorated state trooper injured while pursuing reckless driver
09/01/2014 07:29 PM
N.C. State Trooper Jack L. ThorpeA state trooper was injured Monday afternoon after hitting a median to avoid a wreck while pursuing a reckless driver.

Shooting reported in Sanford
09/01/2014 05:34 PM
Shooting reported at Sanford homeAt least one person was shot during an incident at 2603 Andrews Drive in Sanford Monday night, authorities said.

A decade later, American Tobacco Campus continues to revitalize Durham
09/01/2014 03:42 PM
American Tobacco CampusThursday marks the 10-year anniversary of the American Tobacco Campus, which has revitalized downtown Durham. Weather

Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Newest Rendering of the Edison Office
09/01/2014 09:16 PM
Saw this on Twitter. This project is increasing in height it looks like. The Edison Office in #DowntownRaleigh for @BeaconCLT — JDavis Architects (@JDavisArchitect) August 28, 2014 Similar Posts: Edison Office Shows Site Plan For 225′ Tower (April 29, 2013, 8 Comments) The Edison Scales Down, Shows New Renderings (April 27, 2013, 31 Comments) […]

Wake County Hits 1 Million Residents
09/01/2014 09:16 PM
Throwing a tweet of mine up here on the blog for posterity. Downtown living is still an extreme niche. As we hit 1 million in the county, still less than 10,000 in DTR. That's 1%. — Leo Suarez (@dtraleigh) August 22, 2014 And then let me add a little more statistics. According to a 2014 […]

Updated Renderings, Plans For New Convention Center Hotel
09/01/2014 09:16 PM
Last week, the Raleigh Appearance Commission got a look at some new renderings for a hotel planned for the parcel of land near 500 Salisbury Street next to the convention center between Lenoir and South Streets. Long-time readers might remember this site being called “Site 4″ and it looks like the renderings are getting more […]

Pic of the Week
09/01/2014 09:16 PM
The Charter Square construction site seen from City Plaza. This is the first tower of the two-tower project. Similar Posts: Charter Square Crane Rises (April 20, 2014, 4 Comments) City Plaza to crown downtown – Local & State – News & Observer (January 5, 2013, 0 Comments) A History of Charter Square (April 17, 2013, […]

Municipography, Moore Square Transit Station, Smartphone Apps, and Smart Cards
09/01/2014 09:16 PM
Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center […]

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.