Vol17 Iss1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — TRIANGLE NC | VOLUME 17 — ISSUE 1 44 WAKE FOREST Wake Forest BY ALYSSA LAFARO Like many North Carolina towns, Wake Forest sits among the trees. Just north of the Neuse River, the city was designated the "Forest District" in the early 1800s for its immense hardwoods and lanky longleaf pines. From the 18th to early 19th century, the woodland remained sparsely populated by people. Small families owned a majority of the town's land. Today, Wake Forest is a bustling southern city with about 35,000 residents — a number that has nearly tripled since 2000. In fact, in 2007, Forbes named it the "20th-fastest growing suburb in America," due to its 73.2 percent population increase over the course of just six years. In the last two decades, the research website Sperling's has tagged Wake Forest with many titles such as "Best Place to Live" and "Most Energetic City." What caused this little forest town to blossom into an ever-growing city? The purchase of 615 acres by a New England doctor named Calvin Jones in 1820. Fewer than 15 years later, that property became the site of a school to train Baptist ministers, called the Wake Forest Institute, known better today as Wake Forest University. Although the college relocated to Winston- Salem in 1956, its establishment eventually led to the town's development. Some of its land sold to the city, and what was once called Faculty Avenue transformed into today's North Main Street. Perhaps, the most important event to bolster the city's growth was the construction of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad along the school's eastern border. The closest depot to the school sat one mile away, forcing traveling professors and students to make the long hike to campus. When the railroad refused to finance two stations so close together, the Wake Forest Institute paid $2,000 to move the depot. With the relocation came a surplus of commercial development within the city that helped the community draft its first charter to become incorporated in 1880. Thanks to Jones, today Wake Forest teems with life. The buildings of the Wake Forest Institute now belong to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, serving 3,400 students striving to become ministers within the Southern Baptist Convention. The school offers 40 different programs with degrees ranging from an associate's to a PhD in the study of divinity. The seminary also hosts more than 425 faculty and staff members, making it the third-largest employer in Wake Forest. Wake County Public School System takes the lead as the city's largest employer, followed by CenturyLink, the Town of Wake Forest, Pack-Rat (a moving and storage service), and Rex Healthcare. Just 18 miles north of Raleigh — the Triangle's largest city and the state capital — many Wake Foresters commute to work at some of the region's biggest businesses including the Duke University Health System, the IBM Corporation, and GlaxoSmithKline. The Wake Forest Bus Service offers a rush-hour express to downtown Raleigh, as well as a local circulator. The city's ease of access encourages many residents to also walk and bike around town. Beyond its deep roots, Wake Forest blooms with culture. Wake County's newest cultural arts and events venue, the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts, boasts a 10,000-square-foot space for exhibits, concerts, plays, recitals, and conferences. It is located in the heart of the city's Arts & Entertainment District. Two blocks west on White Street, locals enjoy a wide range of unique shops including The Cottony Company (handmade gifts by local artisans), Sweeties Candy Shop, For Old Times Sake (vintage and antiques), and Wake Forest Coins (rare coins). Events throughout the year further liven the city's arts and entertainment district. On the second Friday of each month, downtown businesses stay open late for Art After Hours, showcasing local food, merchants and music. In March, colorfully dressed entertainers on stilts parade through town for the Mardis Gras Street Festival. Just one month later, locals celebrate the return of beautiful weather at Dirt Day — an award-winning event featuring an over- sized sandbox, classes on gardening and composting, a beekeeping demonstration, mud painting, and a hunt for shark teeth in pilings from the Aurora phosphate mine. Engines rev in June at the Wake Forest Charity Car Show, packed with classic and antique automobiles, as well as a variety of demonstrations such as a Model T assembly and Jaws of Life. All proceeds raised go to nonprofit organizations in the area. >> historic, family-style, accessible

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