A Brief History of Raleigh North Carolina

December 13, 2009

I wasn’t actually born in Raleigh, but I moved up to this area before starting school. By the time I left high school, about all I knew about the history of Raleigh was that it was named after Sir Walter Raleigh. I think sometime in seventh grade or so, I probably learned a little more than this, but it had long since been forgotten when I graduated High School.

So, this is a brief description of the history of Raleigh, for those who might not have been familiar with it.

Raleigh the Early Years

Today, Raleigh, which is the Capital of North Carolina, is well known throughout the state and in many parts of the United States. However, when North Carolina was founded as one of the original 13 colonies, Raleigh did not exist. Instead, the city of Raleigh would not be developed for another 100 years, right when North Carolina was becoming the 12th state of in 1789.

Wake County was created after a man named Joel Lane, who was in the General Assembly at the time, petitioned the General Assembly to take a portion of Cumberland, Johnston, and Orange counties and create a new county. The new county would be Wake County, named after the wife of Governor Tyron, Margaret Wake Tyron.

Joel Lane would prove to be an indispensable voice for Wake County, which was founded in 1770 and chosen to be the place for the capital of North Carolina in 1788. In fact, it is rumored that the first meeting of the courts in Wake County actually happened at Joel Lane’s House.

The City of Raleigh was officially founded in 1972 and named after a European Explorer named Sir Walter Raleigh, who had sponsored the Roanoke Colony in Dare County, which would become known as the Lost Colony. It is believed that the location of Raleigh was chosen because it was close to a local tavern frequented by politicians.

The Capital City Grows Quickly

During the next 100 years, Raleigh and Wake County would continue to grow, with the addition of the Fair Grounds in 1853 and Peace College in 1857, which was the cities first school for higher learning. Raleigh was also the birth place of Andrew Johnson, who was born at an Inn in Raleigh and would later go on to be the President of the United States of America.

Some Other Interesting Historical Moments in NC History:

  • Wral, was the first local TV Station and was created in 1956.
  • The Research Triangle Park(RTP) was created in 1957 and resulted in a dramatic increase in population.
  • The Beltline, otherwise known as 440, was built during the 1970’s and 1980’s, in an effort to ease traffic problems.
  • Bloomsbury Park was built in 1912, drawing crowds with their carousel ride, which would be later moved to what is Today Pullen Park.

Looking to the Future

Today, Raleigh is still growing in leaps and bounds. There is still a great deal of growth in areas all around Raleigh, including places like Apex. The history of Raleigh is still growing and changing though, with many incredibly interesting and historically important places downtown. There are also a number of growing businesses in Raleigh, like Raleigh Computer Repair, in large part due to the decision to revitalize the downtown area.

With the Addition of 540, it is also starting to get much easier to get around and at least one leg of I-540 will become the first Toll Road in North Carolina.

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