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Duke Chapel discussion focuses on Durham crime
10/20/2014 08:11 PM
Durham crime discussion at Duke ChapelA discussion at Duke Chapel Monday night addressed violent crime in Durham.

Ebola donations pale in comparison to past global crises
10/20/2014 07:52 PM
Ebola OutbreakSome say that donations for Ebola pales in comparison to the billions of dollars in money and supplies sent to Haiti and Japan in response to an earthquake in 2010 and a tsunami in 2011, respectively.

Insurers make case for big rate hike
10/20/2014 03:47 PM
Mary Wolkomir's HomeUnder the proposal, the price of a homeowner policy in Cumberland County would go up almost 34 percent and by about 33 percent in Wake and Durham counties - although only 25 percent in Raleigh and the city of Durham. Homeowners in Chatham and Orange counties would see almost an 18 percent increase in their insurance policies.

Salvation Army registering families for annual Christmas program
10/20/2014 03:43 PM
Wake County Salvation Army Christmas Cheer programWith 65 days until Christmas, hundreds of people lined up outside a Raleigh shopping center Monday in an effort to make the holidays a little brighter for children in need.

AG wants cameras to make NC school buses safer
10/20/2014 03:32 PM
Traffic campaign aimed at school bus safety begins next weekNorth Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says he wants cameras on school buses across the state to help catch drivers who violate school-bus traffic safety laws.

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Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Campaign for Bicycle Repair Stations in Downtown Raleigh
10/21/2014 06:28 AM
O&S Fundraising Campaign – Bike Repair Stations from Oaks and Spokes on Vimeo. Watch the video for Bicycle Repair Stations in Raleigh on Neighborly. A group of Raleigh bicycle fans want to raise money to install bike repair stations on the greenway and in downtown Raleigh. These are quite common in more bike-friendly cities around […]

Pic of the Week
10/21/2014 06:28 AM
Land is being cleared along Person Street as part of the Blount Street Commons project. Slowly, very slowly, Blount Street Commons seems to be filling in with the planned townhomes, some already showing wood framing up along John Haywood Way. Similar Posts: Crash of the Resident Wave, Peace Street Townes Rises (8/10) (June 20, 2014, […]

Downtown Raleigh Plan Presentation Rundown
10/21/2014 06:28 AM
I’m throwing this post up to kind of go over what was presented a few weeks ago at the 2014 Downtown Plan Presentation. I highly recommend watching the video but going over the high-level concepts here works too. There’s no new content in this post if you have already seen the video. Introduction At the […]

East Cabarrus Green Street Project Brings More Sidewalks, Pavers, Peacefulness
10/21/2014 06:28 AM
East Cabarrus Street Recently, I had the opportunity to dig into the details of the East Cabarrus Green Street Project. The city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan includes a number of streets that have been identified as potential Green Streets and a section of Cabarrus may soon get some green upgrades. A green street, according to the […]

Pic of the Week
10/21/2014 06:28 AM
Raleigh’s first parklet at Salisbury and Hargett Street opened last week during the city’s Wide Open Bluegrass, an event that was part of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. They opened it up with live music and now the parklet is open for use. Come check out @raleighspace and listen to some Kickin' Grass band! pic.twitter.com/Cr514GdtQY […]

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.