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Asheville-based brewer Hi-Wire opens tap room in Durham
11/16/2018 01:19 PM
Hi-Wire BrewingHi-Wire Brewing out of Asheville will open a tap room in Durham Saturday, with a public grand opening celebration scheduled for Dec. 1.

Fire at Cary mosque out, but leader suspects arson
11/16/2018 01:17 PM
Fire at Cary mosqueAuthorities are investigating whether a fire at a Cary mosque under construction Friday morning was set as an act of vandalism.

Wet fall means more costly pecans for Thanksgiving pie
11/16/2018 12:44 PM
Carolina Nut Cracker sends pecans across the countryIf you want pecans in your dressing or holiday pies, you'd better snatch them up if you see them at the supermarket.

Wilson teacher, student charged after BB gun stolen from car
11/16/2018 12:37 PM
Jonathan West, Montravius Harris, gun at Wilson schoolA Wilson teacher and student face criminal charges after an air rifle was stolen from the teacher's car last week, authorities said.

Helicopter dries field before playoff football game at Jordan High
11/16/2018 12:13 PM
helicopterJordan football posted video to Twitter of a helicopter flying over their field, the ultimate blow dry.

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Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

See the Downtown Transit Plan Maps Side-by-Side
11/15/2018 05:53 AM
Click for larger GoRaleigh is working on the downtown portion of the Wake Transit Plan and there are lots of factors to consider here as additional bus service is in place. The bus-rapid-transit lines have, more or less, been planned but how they connect and transfer in and around the downtown area is still a […]

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Pic of the Week
11/13/2018 03:00 AM
The Metropolitan apartments over in Glenwood South is nearing completion. Walking around the area, the new building has a nice mix of materials compared to similar developments. There are a few blank walls that aren’t that exciting but being near all the upcoming retail at Smokey Hollow, residents in this area will probably be thrilled […]

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Pic of the Week
11/06/2018 03:00 AM
The first Raleigh bikeshare system, Citrix Cycle, is rolling out with stations being installed in multiple locations. Above, the station for GoRaleigh Station across from Moore Square is in place, minus the bicycles of course. The last update I heard is that the system should be available for use before the end of the year. […]

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One Glenwood + Two Hillsborough + Parking Deck = Bloc 83
11/01/2018 05:16 PM
700 block of Hillsborough Street. October 2018. More renderings and plans are being submitted for the Heritage Properties developments along Hillsborough Street. Readers might already be familiar with the soon-to-be-completed office tower, One Glenwood, and the second tower is coming soon with Two Hillsborough. The two towers will have a plaza in between, mid-block, with […]

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Municipography: Downtown Wayfinding Kiosks
10/29/2018 04:57 AM
Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center […]

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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.