Local News:

Two die in serious crash north of Durham
08/01/2014 07:18 PM
Durham crash at NC 98Durham police, sheriff's deputies and the State Highway Patrol responded to a serious crash involving at least two vehicles Friday evening north of Durham.

SUV sought in Cary hit-and-run that injured teen
08/01/2014 06:42 PM
Police carCary police are looking for the driver of an SUV that hit a teenager on a bike and left the scene Thursday night.

Bikers, skaters enjoy indoor park in Holly Springs
08/01/2014 04:48 PM
Bikers, skaters enjoy indoor park in Holly SpringsDaniel Dhers Action Sport Complex offers ramps and rails for X-Games enthusiasts to test themselves.

Man robbed in Durham shopping center parking lot; suspect sought
08/01/2014 04:34 PM
WRAL NewsDurham police are asking for information about an armed robbery Tuesday in the parking lot of a shopping center.

Evicted tenant sought after setting fires in Durham apartment
08/01/2014 04:34 PM
Johnathan WardaDurham police investigators are looking for a man who they say broke into an apartment and set several fires. Weather

Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Summer 2014 Restaurant Roundup
08/01/2014 07:26 PM
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
08/01/2014 07:26 PM
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
08/01/2014 07:26 PM
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
08/01/2014 07:26 PM
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
08/01/2014 07:26 PM
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.