Local News:

Four Navy aviators rescued off NC coast
05/26/2016 07:02 PM
U.S. Coast GuardThe two U.S. Coast Guard pilots who rescued four Army aviators following what officials called an 'in-air mishap' Thursday said the men were in good spirits following the incident.

Mother who drove into Jordan Lake charged with attempted murder
05/26/2016 04:59 PM
Leonora Cillay, mom who drove into Jordan LakeA mother who drove her car into Jordan Lake almost two weeks ago with her 5-year-old son inside was charged Thursday with attempted murder.

82nd celebrates the end of All-American Week
05/26/2016 04:19 PM
82nd Airborne DivisionAll-American Week ended Thursday with a massive jump at Fort Bragg. People traveled from near and far to watch the 82nd Airborne Division put on a show at Sicily Drop Zone.

North Carolina gets designations for 2 more interstates
05/26/2016 04:00 PM
Future interstateState officials in North Carolina say they've received approval for two new proposed interstate highways.

Raleigh sets festival to celebrate past, future of Dix property
05/26/2016 03:58 PM
Dorothea DixThe anniversary of Raleigh's purchase of the Dorothea Dix property with a free festival in July and a push to get more people involved in the planning of the site's future, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Thursday. Weather

Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Aerial Visualization of New Capital Boulevard Bridges
05/25/2016 05:00 AM
Thanks to a few readers who found this aerial visualization of the Peace Street and Wade Avenue Bridge replacement project. NCDOT should start this project this summer. For more on it, especially the Peace Street part, go here. [UPDATE:5-26-16] A raise of the glass goes out to Jim who made this overlay of projects on […]

Stat of the Week
05/25/2016 04:00 AM
Click for larger You’ve got to have a healthy downtown in order to have a healthy city. This stat taken from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report.

Mixed-Use Development Announced for West Street
05/24/2016 04:00 AM
Click for larger In a press release sent out last week, Kane Realty Corporation and Williams Realty & Building Company are announcing a new development for their property along North West Street. We recently highlighted a couple of things in planning for this street here on the blog so I encourage readers to jump back […]

Spring 2016 Restaurant Roundup
05/23/2016 04:00 AM
Raleigh Raw on West Hargett Street I’m excited to share a new addition to my seasonal updates. Leading up to each restaurant roundup, there is extensive note taking going on behind the scenes. Now, my notes are yours! You should already be familiar with the DT Eats page but now I have DT Tips. The […]

Pic of the Week
05/19/2016 04:00 AM
Here’s a photo (click for larger) through the construction fencing at the GoRaleigh Transit Station. You can see the foundation (if that’s the correct term) for the bathrooms on the left and the start of the crew kiosk in the center. The kiosk will have the ticketing/information window, the office for the crew and security. […]

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.