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Billy Graham to lie in honor at US Capitol
02/22/2018 04:06 PM
Billy Graham graphicEvangelist Billy Graham will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol for two days before his funeral next week, officials said Thursday.

Video shows lead-up to fatal Durham officer-involved shooting; doesn't show if victim had gun
02/22/2018 04:02 PM
Dash cam captures chase, sound of shots being firedDashboard camera video released for the first time Thursday is shedding light on what happened when a state trooper shot and killed a 31-year-old man in Durham last year.

Jury convicts Raleigh homeowner who complained of 'hoodlums' for killing man
02/22/2018 04:02 PM
Chad Copley in courtA Raleigh homeowner who killed a man outside his home 18 months ago after complaining of "hoodlums" in his neighborhood was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder.

Could new gun laws impact sales in NC?
02/22/2018 03:46 PM
Officials call for gun law changesDuring a listening session at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump said that the time for change, when it comes to gun laws, is now. State law, like federal statute, allows 18-year-olds to legally buy rifles, shotguns and an assortment of semi-automatic weapons.

Graduates of Florida's Stoneman Douglas High School lead UNC rally against gun violence
02/22/2018 03:42 PM
UNC students stand in solidarity with Florida victimsA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student who graduated from Florida's Stoneman Douglas High School led the charge in a campus rally against gun violence Thursday.

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Plans Show New Townhome Project for St. Mary’s Street
02/22/2018 03:00 AM
St. Mary’s Street near Calvin Road. February 2018. Plans on the city’s website (S-050-17) show a small project that will include six townhomes for an area on St. Mary’s Street near the intersection of Calvin Road. (between Tucker and North) Three lots are being combined for the townhomes and currently, only a single house sits […]

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Pic of the Week
02/20/2018 03:00 AM
Lobby of Two Hannover Square. February 2018. The lobby of Two Hannover Square is being renovated. A rendering of the new lobby is laid out on display, seen below, showing a sleeker, more modern space. This is probably a minor point by itself but with the recent renovation of One City Plaza maybe the tide […]

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Reader Meetup on Tuesday 2/20!
02/08/2018 03:00 AM
Fantastic turnout to our meet up! A post shared by Inbound Raleigh (@inboundraleigh) on Oct 4, 2017 at 3:51pm PDT Get this one on your calendars. We’re organizing the next reader meetup for the season. We had so much fun at the Fall 2017 meetup, we just had to do another. Reader Meetup Date/Time: Tues., […]

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Pic of the Week
02/07/2018 03:00 AM
Steel rises at the site of One Glenwood. February 2018. Steel is starting to take shape at the site of One Glenwood. This and the Origin Hotel planned for across Morgan Street are really going to create that bookend feeling for Glenwood South. This complements our earlier discussions around the nearby Willard Hotel at the […]

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Renderings of The Willard Hotel in Glenwood South
02/05/2018 03:00 AM
Future site of The Willard hotel on Glenwood Avenue. February 2018. On the city’s website, a submitted Administrative Alternate for Design (AAD-1-18) shows renderings of The Willard, a planned hotel and condo building for Glenwood South. Taking a peak, I wanted to share those renderings here on the blog. As a refresher, The Willard will […]

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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.