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Top-seeded Heels can clinch spot in ACC semis with win over Pittsburgh
05/23/2018 07:30 AM
2018 ACC Baseball TournamentTop seed North Carolina takes the field on the second day of the ACC Tournament, and a win over Pittsburgh Wednesday night would push the Tar Heels into Saturday's first semifinal.

Heavy rain, hail possible by Wednesday afternoon
05/23/2018 07:29 AM
Mid-Atlantic RadarIt's "calm before the storm" on Wednesday morning as WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner cautions that severe weather could move in by the afternoon.

Wake officials to announce new school district leader
05/23/2018 05:28 AM
Officials to announce new Wake Schools superintendentOfficials on Wednesday are expected to announce who will become the new superintendent for Wake County Schools -- the largest school district in the state.

Warrant: Syringes found where Fuquay man ran down teen
05/23/2018 05:08 AM
David Wendell DixonSyringes and drug paraphernalia were found at the site where a Fuquay-Varina man ran over a teen who he said stole his cellphone, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Man arrested after trooper dies in chase in Yadkin County
05/23/2018 04:45 AM
Dakota Kape WhittA man was arrested early Wednesday following a chase and crash that killed a trooper on Monday evening.

WRAL.com Weather


Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Two Cranes Up Over Smokey Hollow
05/23/2018 03:00 AM
A quick one today. I’ve been enjoying this shot from The West looking at Smokey Hollow and the second crane being built over the site. This summer we should really see a lot of construction activity in this area.Similar Posts: A Walk Up Peace Street (September 21, 2017, 14 Comments) The Expansion of the Upcoming […]

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Pic of the Week
05/21/2018 03:00 AM
In case you missed it, FNB Tower is officially under construction. The tower crane has shown up at the site and crews have been pounding away. For me, it’ll be enjoyable to watch this mixed-use project go up and I think it’ll make a dramatic impact on City Plaza as it fills in the “360 […]

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Plans Submitted for Bar Renovation at 612 Glenwood
05/16/2018 03:00 AM
612 Glenwood. May 2018. The 600 block of Glenwood South just might become the densest cluster of bars in downtown Raleigh. At 612 Glenwood, currently shown above, submitted plans to the city show a proposal for adding a second floor to the building for outdoor bar space. The outdoor bar is basically the roof of […]

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Spring Meetup is on May 30
05/14/2018 05:44 AM
Another season, another great time for a reader meetup. I hope some of you are in town the week of Memorial Day because if you are, come join us at the London Bridge Pub on May 30 from 5-7pm. The format is casual and the folks that come out are always a classy bunch. Our […]

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Map of the Week
05/09/2018 03:00 AM
Click for larger There’s a survey out for anyone interested in expanded bus service and bus rapid transit in Wake that readers should probably take a look at. Jump to the survey here. If you aren’t familiar, plans for expanded transit service will be rolling out between now and 2027. Downtown Raleigh is a central […]

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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.