The city of Raleigh, NC is one of two state capitals in the United States which was a planned city.
The original one thousand acre purchase was chosen because it was close to the center of the state, within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter’s Tavern, and at the intersection of the state’s two highways.
The original tract was divided into an initial city of 400 acres which was further divided into one acre building lots and five public squares. Because the land was originally an oak forest, Raleigh is known today as the City of Oaks. It has also been called “a park with a city within it.”
Today the City of Raleigh has 130 parks and 27 miles of trails. In the spring, the woods abound with white dogwoods and often pink or red azaleas. You can always know where you are and where you’re going on the Raleigh Greenway Trail System by downloading the free RGreenway app.
The city was named for the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh who attempted to establish the 1st American Colony on Roanoke Island. He sent two expeditions, one in 1585 intending to establish a colony in 1586, but they returned to England after exploring as far north as the Chesapeake Bay.
In 1587, he sent a 2nd colony that landed at Roanoke Island. The leader, John White, founded the “Cittie of Raleigh” and then returned to England. The colonists disappeared and what happened to them remains a mystery to this day.
It was August 4, 1788, that the Constitutional Convention voted to locate the new capital within 10 miles of Issac Hunter’s Wake plantation. In November of that year, Raleigh was chosen to be the name of the new capital. By 1800 the capital city’s population was 669.
During the last days of the Civil War, Sherman occupied Raleigh. This is a lesser known fact in history most likely because the city was not burned or destroyed like other southern capitals and towns.
General Sherman stayed in the Governor’s mansion while he negotiated the surrender of General Johnson’s confederate army. That surrender was the largest surrender of the war and it occurred at Bennett Place in Durham after Sherman entered and occupied Raleigh.
The climate of Raleigh is hot in summer and warm in winter. Raleigh does have four seasons. . In January daytime temperatures average 50 degrees and in July the average temperature is 88 degrees. It rarely snows but when it does, schools close.
As we approach 2017, Raleigh’s population is approaching 500,000. Wake County is over 1,000,000 while the “Triangle Area” of North Carolina, comprised of Wake, Orange, and Chatham counties, is approaching 1,500,000. Raleigh’s population density (people per square mile) has been compared to Charlotte, NC and Austin, TX.
You may find lots of other data at www.raleighnc.gov and www.raleigh4u.com, including a yearly Data Book published online by the City Planning Department.
The Greater Raleigh Area
There are 11 neighboring cities and towns just outside the city of Raleigh that make up the greater Raleigh area in Wake County. Each of these has its own history, charm, historic downtown, unique shopping, concerts in the park and other activities.
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