MyRaleigh

History Of Raleigh

Last Modified: May 03, 2013
Historic Raleigh, NC
Historic Raleigh, NC
 
St. Mary's School
St. Mary's School
 

Raleigh's history is bountiful. In 1792, Raleigh was created to be North Carolina's seat of government. To fully appreciate this uniquely blessed city, one must contemplate the history and delightfully complex composition of the state that created Raleigh. Home to the Native American Iroquoian, Siouan and Algonquian tribes, it is also the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in the new world during the first attempt by the English to settle the western hemisphere. One of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina was the first to officially call for independence with the Halifax Resolves in 1776.

A state of yeoman farmers and among the South's first industrial areas, North Carolina was no home place to the gentry, but rather a state of working men and women who valued education and established the nation's first state university. North Carolina's appreciation of education also created a notable public school system and the nation's best community college system. Though firmly in the grip of the hard times of the 1920s, North Carolina invested in a statewide network of paved thoroughfares and became known as "the good roads state," recognizing that the lifeline of economic growth was a statewide transportation network.

That diverse composition of people, that love of freedom, that gritty work ethic, that esteem for education and that common sense approach to economic development combined to create the robust environment in which North Carolina's capital city today thrives.

Listed below are key dates and events in the history of this great city.

Prior to 1800

  • 1587: Under direction of Sir Walter Raleigh, John White founds the "Cittie of Raleigh." The only known site is in the vicinity of the settlement built in 1585 by the Ralph Lane Colony on the north end of Roanoke Island, about 190 miles from present-day Raleigh. John White returns to England.
  • 1590: John White returns, but the colony has disappeared. Today, it is popularly referred to as The Lost Colony. The word, "Croatoan," carved on a tree, was considered a clue as to the colony's fate.
  • December 17, 1770: Joel Lane presents a petition to the General Assembly to create a new county.
  • January 5, 1771: A bill creating Wake County passes in the General Assembly. Wake County is formed in March from portions of Cumberland, Orange and Johnston counties. Many historians believe the county was named after Margaret Wake Tryon, the wife of Royal Gov. William Tryon. The county seat was Bloomsbury.
  • October 1784: Meeting in New Bern, the General Assembly voted to fix the seat of North Carolina government.
  • November 1787: The General Assembly authorizes the Constitutional Convention to establish the state's permanent capital.
  • August 4, 1788: The Constitutional Convention votes to locate the new capital within 10 miles of Issac Hunter's Wake plantation.
  • January 5, 1792: The General Assembly appoints commissioners to select a site for the new capital.
  • March 20, 1792: After 10 days of viewing the proposed sites, the commissioners select a tract of land owned by Joel Lane for the new capital at a cost of $2,756. Sen. William Christmas, a surveyor, is hired to lay out the new city. The sale of lots begins.
  • November 1792: The North Carolina General Assembly chooses the name "Raleigh" for its capital city.
  • December 30, 1794: General Assembly meets for the first time in Raleigh new Statehouse.
  • January 21, 1795: General Assembly charters Raleigh. Seven commissioners are appointed to govern the new city. John Haywood is named the first Intendant of Police (later renamed Mayor).
  • 1799: N.C. Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser is the first newspaper published in Raleigh.

1800s

  • 1800: Raleigh's population is 669.
  • 1801: At the cost of $374, the City purchases its first fire engine which expels water at 80 gallons per minute.
  • 1803: Amended charter grants voting rights to city residents. Raleigh voters elect first commissioners.
  • December 29, 1808: Andrew Johnson, the nation's seventeenth President, is born at Casso's Inn, which was located between Morgan, Fayetteville and Willington streets.
  • September 1818: Raleigh's first water system is completed. Pumps were operated by waterwheel on Rocky Branch and the water flowed by gravity through wooden spouts along Hargett and Fayetteville streets. The pipes frequently clogged with mud and burst and the scheme soon was abandoned.
  • March 1819: Raleigh forms a volunteer fire company. The City buys a pump fire engine.
  • 1820: Raleigh is North Carolina's third largest city with a population of 2,674.
  • December 22, 1821: The first regular fire company is formed.
  • June 21, 1831: Fire destroys the Statehouse. In December of 1832, the General Assembly votes to rebuild the Capitol.
  • January 1, 1833: The first railroad in the state is completed in Raleigh. Horse-drawn cars haul quarried granite to the construction site of the new Capitol. Riding the train is a popular means of entertainment for Raleigh society.
  • 1840: Raleigh & Gaston Railroad is chartered, opening on March 24 with 86 miles of track. The steam locomotives were given the spirited names of "Tornado," "Whirlwind," "Volcano" and "Spitfire." In June, Raleigh, which had 2,244 people and was the fourth largest city in the state, celebrated the completions of the new railroad and the new Capitol.
  • 1842: St. Mary's School for Women is founded by the Rev. Aldert Smedes.
  • April 17, 1844: Sitting under one of the city's finest and oldest oak trees, Presidential candidate Henry Clay writes the "Raleigh Letter," arguing against the annexation of Texas. The Henry Clay Oaks stood for many centuries on the north side of North Street, west of the intersection with North Blount Street. After losing the presidential nomination to North Carolina native James K. Polk, Clay retorted: "Sir, I would rather be right than be president."
  • February 14, 1848: The first telegraph message is sent through Raleigh. The line connects the city with South Carolina and Virginia.
  • January 29, 1849: The General Assembly authorizes the State Hospital for the Insane after an appeal and campaign by Dorothea Dix, for whom the hospital was named when it opened Feb. 22, 1856 in southwest Raleigh.
  • February 1852: The City reorganizes the Fire Department and employs its first paid chief.
  • October 1853: The first state fair is held near Raleigh.
  • 1857: Raleigh extends it city limits for the first time and established a new charter.
  • March 1858: Raleigh ends its citizen guard and hires a paid watch.
  • 1860: Raleigh is North Carolina's fourth largest city with a population of 4,780.
  • April 15, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated and Union troops camped in Raleigh are prepared to rampage through the city in retaliation. But Union Gen. John A. Logan intervenes with threats that he backs up with gun emplacements pointed at his own troops.
  • December 1, 1865: Shaw University begins with theological classes offered to freedmen by Dr. Henry M. Tupper. Originally called the Raleigh Institute, Shaw was the first coed college for African-Americans in the nation - perhaps the world.
  • 1867: St. Augustine's College founded is founded by Episcopal clergy for the education of freed slaves.
  • June 3, 1867: President Andrew Johnson visits Raleigh for the dedication of a monument in honor of his father, Jacob, who died from pneumonia after saving two leading citizens from drowning.
  • July 1868: Gov. Holden appoints new Raleigh Commissioners, including the first African-Americans, James Henry Harris, editor of the North Carolina Republican and Handy Lockhart.
  • November-December 1868: A series of fires culminates in the destruction of Raleigh City Market.
  • January 4, 1869: North Carolina opens the nation's first school for blind and deaf African-Americans in Raleigh.
  • April 1869: The Method community is established by freedmen.
  • January 6, 1870: The State Penitentiary opens in a log building.
  • April 1871: Raleigh Commissioners make provision for Mount Hope Cemetery.
  • 1872: Peace Institute is opened by the Rev. Robert Burwell.
  • 1875: Shaw University secures its charter; Raleigh's governing board is renamed the Board of Aldermen, increase to 17.
  • 1879: North Carolina's first telephone exchange opens in Raleigh.
  • 1880: Raleigh's population of 9,265 makes it the state's second largest city; The News and The Observer are consolidated.
  • 1884: Free home-delivery of mail begins for Raleigh.
  • December 1, 1886: Fayetteville Street is paved.
  • December 25, 1886: Mule-drawn street railway starts operations. The Raleigh Street Railroad Company switched to electricity after 1890.
  • March 22, 1897: Raleigh resident R. Stanhope Pullen donated property for Pullen Park.
  • August 27, 1888: The Raleigh Chamber of commerce is organized.
  • October 3, 1889: North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts is opened with the donation of $8,000 from the City of Raleigh and land given by R. Stanhope Pullen. The college was later named North Carolina State University.
  • August 21, 1892: Union rail passenger station opens.
  • May 1894: Rex Hospital opens. Its nursing school is the state's first.
  • 1898: Automobiles are first seen on Raleigh streets.
  • 1899: Raleigh adopts a flag.
    -- Baptist Female University (later Meredith College) opens.
    -- The Tucker Building, Raleigh's first skyscraper, is erected.
    -- A&M (NCSU) trustees vote to admit women students.

1900s

  • 1900: Raleigh's population of 13,643 makes it the state's fifth largest city.
  • January 1901: The first child is admitted to the Methodist Home orphanage.
  • 1902: The University of North Carolina operates its medical school in Raleigh until 1910.
  • 1903: Motion pictures are first shown in Raleigh.
  • 1906: Raleigh High School building is erected on West Morgan Street.
  • 1907: Raleigh extended its city limits for the second time; one-half miles in each direction.
  • 1909: J.S. Wynne begins his term as Mayor.
  • 1910: Raleigh paves 14 blocks with asphalt.
  • 1911: James I. Johnson begins the first of five terms as Mayor.
  • October 16, 1911: Raleigh dedicates City Hall and Auditorium on East Davie Street. The building burned October 25, 1930.
  • 1912: Raleigh establishes its first paid Fire Department.
  • July 4, 1912: Bloomsbury Park opens. The Dentzel carousel which is later bought by the City and moved to Pullen Park, is popular with the youngsters.
  • 1913: City acquires water plant.
    -- Raleigh voters adopt commission form of government for the city.
  • 1914: Lake Raleigh is filled as City's reservoir.
    -- Raleigh's first drive-in gas station opens on Fayetteville Street.
    -- Raleigh City market reopens.
  • September 25, 1918: United States establishes the nation's only tank camp, Camp Polk, at the State Fairgrounds.
  • October 1918: The influenza pandemic claims 288 lives in Raleigh.
  • November 11, 1918: The armistice ending World War I is signed. North Carolina loses 5,799 men in the war, the third highest total in the nation.
  • 1921: T.B. Eldridge begins his term as Mayor.
  • 1922: Motorbuses begin operating between Raleigh and Durham.
  • September 1, 1922: Raleigh Police Officer Tom G. Crabtree was killed in the line of duty.
  • 1923: Eugene E. Culbreth begins the first of four terms as Mayor.
  • April 1929: Curtiss-Wright Flying Field opens.
  • October 24, 1929: The stock market crash marks the beginning of the Great Depression. Six Raleigh banks close between 1930 and 1933.
  • October 25, 1930: Fire destroys Raleigh Auditorium.
  • 1931: George A. Isley begins the first of four terms as Mayor.
  • April 1, 1931: Raleigh is a stop on the first regular airline passenger flight from New York to Miami.
  • 1932: Voter approval of a bond referendum saves Raleigh from fiscal deficit.
  • August 4, 1932: Memorial Auditorium is dedicated. The North Carolina Symphony, founded earlier this year, performs in its new home. Cab Calloway and his orchestra play at the dedication.
  • March 1-14, 1933: The first local transit bus and the last electric trolley roll in Raleigh. Six bus routes are opened.
  • 1934: Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC) operates in Crabtree Creek area. The camp later is named Umstead State Park.
  • May 10, 1938: Chavis Memorial Park is dedicated.
  • 1939: Graham B. Andrews begins the first of four terms as Mayor.
    -- Halifax Court is Raleigh's first $1 million public housing project, thus establishing the Raleigh Housing Authority.
  • March 9, 1939: The General Assembly charters the Raleigh-Durham Aeronautical Authority. The Authority takes over the airport from the U.S. Army, with the first commercial flight lifting off May 1, 1943.
  • June 1939: Raleigh Little Theatre Amphitheatre is dedicated.
  • October 1939: Raleigh installs the first parking meters on Fayetteville Street.
  • 1940: Raleigh's population of 46,897 makes it the state's sixth largest city.
  • September 11, 1940: Raleigh Little Theatre's Drama Center is dedicated.
  • March 18, 1947: Raleigh voters adopt the council/manager form of municipal government.
  • July 1, 1947: P.D. Snipes begins the first of two terms as Mayor.
  • 1949: NCSU's Memorial Bell Tower and Reynolds Coliseum are completed.
    -- City offers water and sewer service to all Raleigh homes.
  • November 19, 1949: First stores open in Cameron Village.
  • 1950: Raleigh's population of 65,679 makes it North Carolina's fifth largest city.
  • July 2, 1951: James E. Briggs begins his term as Mayor.
  • 1952: Internationally acclaimed Dorton Arena is completed.
  • July 1, 1953: Fred B. Wheeler begins the first of three terms as Mayor.
  • October 16, 1954: Hurricane Hazel sweeps through Raleigh, felling trees and power poles and leaving 85 percent of the city's homes without power.
  • 1956: WRAL takes to the air.
  • March 10, 1956: Firefighter Vernon Smith died as a result of injuries incurred in the line of duty.
  • December 11, 1956: Raleigh voters endorse fluoridation and approve bonds for streets.
  • July 1, 1957: William G. Enloe begins the first of three terms as Mayor.
    -- The Research Triangle Park is established.
  • September 8, 1960: William Campbell is the first African-American child to attend a white school in Raleigh as he enrolls at Murphey High School.
  • October 16, 1960: Raleigh's new municipal building, located at the corner of McDowell and Hargett streets, is dedicated.
  • July 1, 1963: James W. Reid begins his terms as Mayor.
  • July 1, 1965: Travis H. Tomlinson begins the first of two terms as Mayor.
  • October 8, 1966: NCSU's Carter-Finley Stadium is dedicated.
  • August 17, 1967: North Hills, Wake County's first enclosed mall, is opened.
  • March 8, 1968: Raleigh Police Officer Robert E. Sparks was killed when his motorcycle skidded into a curve in the 2100 block of Ridge Road.
  • December 5, 1968: Raleigh Police Officers James Wade Allen and James Gayle Lee were killed when their cruiser collided with another car before striking a telephone pole at the intersection of Yadkin and Currituck drives.
  • July 1, 1969: Seby B. Jones begins his term as Mayor.
  • 1970: Raleigh's population is 122,830.
  • July 1, 1971: Thomas W. Bradshaw Jr. begins his term as Mayor
  • October 1973: Clarence Lightner is Raleigh's first mayor elected by popular vote. He also is the first African-American elected mayor of a major Southern city.
  • 1974: Ground is broken on the Heritage Park public housing community.
  • December 9, 1975: Jyles J. Coggins begins his term as Mayor.
  • June 1975: The Oakwood community is named Raleigh's first local historic district. Oakwood is the city's oldest intact neighborhood and contains the largest collection of Victorian era architecture in Raleigh.
  • August 15, 1975: Construction begins on the Fayetteville Street Mall.
  • December 8, 1975: Ground is broken for the New Raleigh Civic Center.
  • July 1, 1976: Raleigh City and Wake County schools merge after 10 years of discussion.
  • September 15, 1977: The Raleigh Civic Center is dedicated.
  • October 1977: The Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plan opens at a cost of $28 million.
  • November 3, 1977: Fayetteville Street Mall is dedicated.
  • December 13, 1977: Isabella Cannon is sworn-in as Raleigh's first female mayor.
  • December 4, 1979: G. Smedes York begins his first of two terms as Mayor.
  • February 3, 1980: Raleigh Police Officer D.D. Adams was shot and killed in the line of duty.
  • 1981: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins to fill Falls Lake, which will become Raleigh's primary water source. It takes two years to fill.
    -- Raleigh's population of 149,771 makes it the third largest city in North Carolina.
  • 1982: The new Central Prison opens at a cost of $27 million.
  • July 20, 1982: After seven years of work, Fayetteville Street Mall is completed at a cost of $2.8 million.
  • April 4, 1983: NCSU downs the heavily-favored University of Houston Cougars to win its second national basketball championship with a last-second shot.
  • December 6, 1983: Avery C. Upchurch begins the first of five terms as mayor.
  • September 30, 1984: Raleigh's new municipal building is dedicated. The new city hall is located at Hargett and Dawson streets and was constructed at a cost of $6.5 million.
  • April 11, 1985: American Airlines begins service to Raleigh-Durham Airport with plans to open a new hub there in July 1987.
  • April 16, 1986: NCSU unveils plans for Centennial Campus, which will include a mix of residential and retail facilities, along with new classrooms and research facilities.
  • October 1987: Raleigh voters approve five bond proposals totaling $97.5 million. The proposals including funding for a baseball stadium, sewer and water plant expansions, a $40 million road program, renovation of Memorial Auditorium, and indoor aquatic center and a multi-field softball complex.
  • 1990: For the first time since its 1932 construction, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium receives major upgrades and expansion with a new lobby and new stage house to accommodate Broadway touring shows.
    -- Interstate 40 to Wilmington is completed, providing Raleigh with interstate access from coast to coast.
  • March 1, 1991: The City of Raleigh kicks off its curbside recycling program.
  • June 17, 1991: The high-rise First Union Capitol Center opens on Fayetteville Street Mall, just a block south of the Capitol just as another skyscraper, Two Hanover Plaza opens on the mall, just three blocks to the south.
  • July 1, 1991: Raleigh's population of 212,610 makes it the state's second largest city.
  • July 7, 1991: Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh's $13.5 million premier entertainment complex, opens for its first season.
  • December 31, 1991: The first First Night Raleigh is held.
  • 1992: The City opens section of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard located adjacent to the MLK Memorial Gardens at the intersection of Rock Quarry Road and MLK Boulevard.
    -- The City opens the Walnut Creek Softball Complex which quickly becomes one of the South's most popular softball facilities.
  • December 31, 1992: Raleigh celebrates its bicentennial with a parade and the burying of a time capsule in the center of Nash Square.
  • 1993: The last two sections of New Hope Road are opened, offering motorists a continuous east-west connector north of the beltline from US 70 West.
  • May 19, 1993: The City of Raleigh dedicates the newly completed, 726-space Wilmington Street Station parking deck.
  • July 1993: The Cabarrus Street Parking Garage is completed, adding 595 parking spaces downtown.
  • November 12, 1993: A restored Estey Hall, the first structure built in the United States for the purpose of educating black women is celebrated on the campus of Shaw University.
  • November 27, 1993: An enduring drought lowers Falls Lake to its all-time low at 242.73 feet.
  • December 7, 1993: Tom Fetzer begins the first of three terms as the mayor of Raleigh.
  • June 30, 1994: Avery C. Upchurch, mayor of Raleigh from 1983 to 1993 and City Council member from 1979 to 1983 dies at the age of 65.
  • Oct. 5, 1994: Spring Forest Road Park opens.
  • April 4, 1995: Raleigh voters approved a bond referendum for nearly $28 million in parks system improvements, more than $11 million for improvements to the water system and nearly $7 million for improvements to the sewer system.
  • August 4, 1995: Raleigh Police Officer Denise Holden was killed in a single-car accident at Morgan and Hillsborough streets.
  • Jan. 29, 1996: The City of Raleigh Police Department installs mobile computer terminals in patrol vehicles.
  • June 21, 1996: The Olympic Torch is welcomed to Raleigh with a huge celebration on the Fayetteville Street Mall. The Torch spent the night in Raleigh before continuing on its trek to Atlanta.
  • Sept. 5 & 6, 1996: During the waning hours of Sept. 5 and the earliest hours of Sept. 6 category three Hurricane Fran tore through town with 79-mile-per-hour winds whipping 9.5 inches of rain into a howling Maelstrom and leaving in its wake devastating flooding, structural damage totaling nearly $275 million and extensive power outages for days to come.
  • January 8, 1997: The newly renovated and expanded Raleigh Convention and Conference Center celebrates its brand new look with a grand re-opening.
  • May 19, 1997: The City opens its first-ever satellite service center. It is located at 8320 Litchford Road.
  • July 11, 1997: Det. Paul Hale was shot to death in the line of duty. He had served the City of Raleigh as a Police Officer for seven years.
  • December 17, 1997: After nearly 40 years as part of the City's Capital Improvement Plan and being approved by voters three times, the 1.4-mile Western Boulevard Extension is completed.
  • May 5, 1998: Raleigh voters approve a $50 million bond referendum for transportation and culvert improvements.
  • May 6, 1998: A new era of stage spectacular dawned in Raleigh following major modifications to Memorial Auditorium to accommodate the new age, high-voltage Broadway blockbusters. The curtain rose on "Phantom of the Opera," the first in the auditorium's Best of Broadway series that consistently delighted droves of theatre lovers.
  • May 15, 1998: The City of Raleigh makes its initial purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles when it receives a grant from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources to assist in the purchase of five vehicles. The van, small pickup and two sedans use compressed natural gas and another sedan operates on electricity.
  • August 6, 1999: The City of Raleigh flag is moved from the Avery C. Upchurch Gov. Complex to spend its centennial at the Raleigh City Museum on Fayetteville St. Mall. The flag was created in 1899 as a reciprocal gift to the USS Raleigh. The cruiser had presented its city namesake with a small cannon captured during the Spanish-American War. The cannon sits on the front lawn of the Fire Department's Keeter Training Center. The cost of the first ensign in November 1899 was $52.
  • 1999: Durant Nature Park's Campbell Lodge and Training Lodge receive major renovations, as does the lower lake dam.
  • October 1999: The Entertainment and Sports Arena, later renamed the RBC Center, is opened.
  • Dec. 7, 1999: Three-term City Council Member Paul Coble is inaugurated mayor of Raleigh.

2000 - 2009

  • Jan. 24, 2000: The new century brings the largest snowfall in memory and buries Raleigh under 25.7 inches of the white stuff; according to the National Weather Service, the largest snowfall in the Capital City's recorded history.
  • 2000: The Neuse River Corridor Park Plan takes a giant step toward completion with the dedication of Anderson Point Park's 98.3 acres adjacent to the Neuse River.
    -- The CIAA Championship Basketball Tournament is held for the first time in Raleigh at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
  • August 8, 2000: The City of Raleigh, Town of Cary, City of Durham and Granville County agree to jointly commission a study to evaluate the feasibility of developing Kerr Lake as a water supply source.
  • October 31, 2000: Eliza Pool Park is dedicated.
  • November 7, 2000: Three bond proposals totaling $75 million -- $45 million in transportation improvements, $14 million for affordable housing and $16 million for parks improvements are approved by Raleigh voters.
  • January 24–25, 2000: Raleigh receives its greatest snowfall from a single storm - 20.3 inches (52 cm).
  • April-August 2000: Auguste Rodin exhibit featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art, attracting more than 200,000 visitors.
  • June 2000: St. Augustine’s College Women’s Track and Field wins Outdoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • December 2000: I-540 Leesville Road to NC 50, opens; 2 miles.
  • March 2001: St. Augustine’s College, both Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams win Indoor NCAA Division II Championships.
  • April 2001: Raleigh hires J. Russell Allen as City Manager.
  • May 2001: The Raleigh population is 276,093 according to the 2000 US Census.
  • May 2001: St. Augustine’s College, both Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams win Outdoor NCAA Division II Championships.
  • June 2001: I-540 NC 50 to Falls of the Neuse Road opens; 4.3 miles.
  • October 2001: Charles Meeker is elected Mayor of Raleigh.
  • February 2002: The Raleigh Memorial Auditorium complex is expanded with the addition of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Meymandi Concert Hall, Fletcher Opera Theater, Kennedy Theatre, Betty Ray McCain Gallery and Lichtin Plaza.
  • May 2002: St. Augustine’s College Women’s Track and Field wins Outdoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • June 2002: The Carolina Hurricanes make it to the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals.
  • August 2002: I-540 Falls of the Neuse Road to Triangle Town Blvd (just beyond US 1) opens; 4 miles.
  • August 2002: Carolina Courage wins the Women's United Soccer Association's championship Founders Cup.
  • September 2002: The Entertainment and Sports Arena is renamed to the RBC Center.
  • September 2002: Shaw’s Football Team is reestablished along with the marching band, better known as the “Platinum Sound”.
  • October 2003: Citizens of Raleigh vote to pass a $49 million Parks and Greenways Bond.
  • February 2003: Dr. Clarence G. Newsome named President of Shaw University.
  • August 2003: Inaugural Raleigh Spy Conference is held at the North Carolina Museum of History.
  • October 15, 2003: Wake Technical Community College welcomed the third president in the college’s 40-year history: Dr. Stephen Scott.
  • October 2003: Charles Meeker is re-elected Mayor of Raleigh.
  • April 2004: Shaw University receives 11 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education to develop an Upward Bound Program.
  • June 2004: Raleigh hosts the NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes choose Cam Ward with their first pick.
  • July-December 2004: Robert A. Barnhardt named Interim Chancellor of North Carolina State University.
  • January 19, 2005: Raleigh traffic is snarled for hours by a unique set of weather conditions that mix an unexpected snowfall of less than one inch with melting snow and freezing ground temperatures to create icy road conditions throughout the city.
  • January 2005: James L. Oblinger named Chancellor of North Carolina State University.
  • May 2005: St. Augustine’s College Women’s Track and Field wins Indoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • October 2005: Charles Meeker is re-elected Mayor of Raleigh.
  • November 2005: Raleigh suffers through drought; mandatory water restrictions are issued.
  • February 2006: Raleigh Civic Center is imploded to make way for re-opening Fayetteville Street Mall.
  • March 2006: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Indoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • April 2006: House Creek Greenway, a partnership between North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resource and the City of Raleigh, opens.
  • June 2006: The Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup.
  • July 2006: Fayetteville Street reopens to vehicular traffic. A variety of Downtown building projects are begun around this time including the 34-story RBC Bank Tower, multiple condominium projects and several new restaurants.
  • November 2006: Centennial Authority requests $60 million renovation for RBC Center.
  • November 2006: Claude Monet in Normandy exhibit is featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art attracting more than 200,000 visitors during its 3 year run ending in 2008.
  • September 2006: City Council approves North Hills East.
  • January 2007: I-540 from U.S. 1/Capital Boulevard (Exit 16) and Triangle Town Boulevard (Exit 17, eastbound only) to U.S. 64-264 (Exit 26) opens; 7 miles.
  • March 2007: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Indoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • March 2007: St. Augustine’s College Women’s Track and Field wins Indoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • June 2007: Raleigh is named Best City for Jobs by Forbes Magazine.
  • July 2007: Shaw University receives $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation to support its Nanoscience and Nanotechnology program.
  • July 2007: I-540 from Interstate 40 Exit 283 south to North Carolina 55 opens; 2.8 miles.
  • August 2007: Raleigh imposes Stage 1 mandatory water restrictions due to severe drought.
  • August 2007: Wake Tech Community College unveiled a newly-built 30.6 million environmentally friendly campus in North Raleigh.
  • September 2007: Harry Dolan is named Raleigh’s Police Chief.
  • October 2007: Citizens of Raleigh vote to pass an $88 million Parks and Greenways Bond.
  • October 2007: Charles Meeker is re-elected Mayor of Raleigh.
  • March 2008: Raleigh named #1 Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes Magazine.
  • March 2008: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Indoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • June 2008: Raleigh named #1 Best Place to Live un US by MSNBC.
  • September 2008: The Raleigh Convention Center opens. The west-facing wall of the new convention center boasts a large public art piece called the 'Shimmer Wall' that contains LED lights in the form of an oak tree, for which the city is nicknamed the 'City of Oaks'. Local Sculptor Thomas Sayer of Clearscapes designed the Shimmer Wall. Triangle based Cree donated the LED lights.
  • October 2008: Phase 1 of the RDU airport expansion opens.
  • March 2009: Raleigh is named Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes Magazine.
  • March 2009: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Indoor and NCAA Division II Championship.
  • May 2009: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Outdoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • June 2009: James H. Woodward named Interim Chancellor of North Carolina State University.
  • June 2009: Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy named President of Shaw University.
  • September, 2009: Campbell University’s Norman Wiggins School of Law relocates to Downtown Raleigh.
  • October 2009: Charles Meeker is re-elected Mayor of Raleigh.

2010 to present

  • January 2010: William R. Woodson is named Chancellor of North Carolina State University.
  • March 2010: Raleigh is named Most Wired City in the US by Forbes Magazine.
  • April 2010: The North Carolina Museum of Art expansion opens with 127,000 additional square feet.
  • April 2010: Peace College Board of Trustees named Dr. Debra Townsley President.
  • May 2010: Dempsey Benton Water Treatment Plant opens adding 20 million gallons per day to Raleigh’s water treatment capacity.
  • May 2010: St. Augustine’s College Men’s Track and Field Team wins Outdoor NCAA Division II Championship.
  • June 2010: a 5000 seat Raleigh Amphitheater opens adjacent to the Raleigh Convention Center Downtown.
  • September 2010: Raleigh hosts the inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival, sponsored by The Independent.
  • September 2010: Dr. Irma McLaurin is named President of Shaw University.
  • January 2011: Phase 2 of Terminal 2 opens at RDU airport hosting 36 gates.
  • January 2011: Raleigh hosts the National Hockey League All-Star Game.
  • April 2011: A devastating EF-3 tornado hits Raleigh. The tornado tracks northeast from Sanford, NC through parts of Downtown Raleigh, east central Raleigh and northeast Raleigh. The tornadoes took the lives of three children – two siblings and a cousin – when a treed landed on their home. The April 16 storms destroyed 63 homes, severely damaged 184 and inflicted damage on another 851. While one commercial establishment was destroyed, 11 suffered major damage and 22 received minor damage. The total damage in Raleigh exceeded $115 million.
  • April 2011: the Contemporary Art Museum opens Downtown.
  • June 2011: Raleigh is named Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes Magazine.
  • August 2011: Dr. Dorothy Yancy is named Interim President of Shaw University.
  • August 2011: Red Hat commits to Downtown Raleigh as the location for its corporate headquarters.
  • September 2011: 2nd Annual Hopscotch Music Festival is sponsored by The Independent. Hopscotch is a huge success in downtown Raleigh with 135 bands across 12 venues lasting three days.
  • October 2011: Nancy McFarlane is elected Mayor of Raleigh.
  • October 2011: Raleigh passed the $16 Million Housing Bond Referendum to support quality affordable housing.
  • October 2011: Raleigh passed the $40 Million Transportation Bond Referendum to fund bike lanes, greenways, new sidewalks, sidewalk repair and general street resurfacing.
  • The City formally opened the Falls of Neuse Road bridge, completing the first phase of a major project that provides motorists and pedestrians a new route to subdivisions and other locations in far north Raleigh.
  • October 2011: The City Council approved a design for the planned Horseshoe Farm Park, 146 acres of land on the Neuse River in northeastern Wake County. The first phase of the park construction will include widening the access road to the park site, dam improvements, parking, signage, connecting to the Neuse River Greenway Trail, developing soft surface walking trails, natural resource management, stabilization of the existing farm house structure and building restrooms and a picnic shelter.
  • October 2011: Mayor Charles Meeker joined with the North Central Citizens Advisory Council and the residents around the New Bern Avenue and Edenton Street community in a walking tour of the landmarks in the neighborhood. The tour is part of the City’s New Bern Avenue Corridor Study. The study of Raleigh’s historic eastern gateway focuses on the area from Swain Street to Wake Medical Center. The preliminary goals of the study are to identify ways to improve the appearance of the corridor; support pedestrian, bicycle and transit uses along the corridor; and stimulate economic development initiatives and revitalization in the area.
  • October 2011: A new fall tradition was launched in Downtown with ARTSober. Performances by the Carolina Ballet, Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Theatre, North Carolina Opera and PineCone rang out throughout the day of Oct. 15, emanating from the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts and Lichtin Plaza. The arts festival was designed to recruit wider audiences to the performing arts center.
  • October 2011: The City conducted an open house on the Peace Street Corridor Visioning Study. The study is focusing on Peace Street from West to Person streets. The goal is to identify and propose improvements to enhance the corridor’s capacity for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic and support private redevelopment efforts. JDavis Architect worked with the City to develop the Peace Corridor Visioning Study as a pro bono project.
  • November, 2011: The City Council received an update of the draft Unified Development Ordinance. The Council approved a seven week public review period starting Jan. 3, with a public hearing set for Feb. 21.
  • November 2011: The City Council approved a resolution requesting the State of North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources designate the first eight miles of the Neuse River Greenway Trail as a Mountain to Sea Trail segment.
  • November 2011: The City Council unanimously approved the authorization of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization entering into a contract for Phase II of a transportation planning study of the U.S. 1 North Corridor in Franklin County.
  • November 2011: The City hosted its second and final open house to gather public input on a comprehensive pedestrian plan. The City, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, is developing a plan which will implement a convenient network of sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, trails and other pedestrian facilities throughout Raleigh.
  • November 2011: Raleigh residents gained a new park to enjoy when the City opened Strickland Road Neighborhood Park. The 37-acre park’s phase I development included new playground equipment, walking trails, driveway, a 35-space parking lot and cost $628,884. Plans for the park include a neighborhood center, basketball half-courts and picnic areas.
  • November 2011: The eight-mile Upper Neuse River Greenway Trail was opened to the public. This is the first section of the planned Neuse River Greenway Trail to be completed. The Neuse River Greenway Trail was envisioned as a segment of the State of North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which will run 1000 miles across North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.
  • November 2011: Newly released figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that some metro areas are beginning to distance themselves from the pack in their economic recovery from the recession, according to the Urban Land Institute magazine. Raleigh took fifth place among metropolitan areas posting the highest total economic growth. The article’s author, Jeffrey Spivak wrote: “In just 10 percent of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, total economic growth exceeded 10 percent since 2007.”
  • November 2011: The financial services company USAA and the veterans’ membership organization Military.com placed Raleigh on their list of the 10 best metropolitan areas for military retirees to launch new careers.
  • November 2011: The City was awarded most gracious access of more than four rolling and wooded acres that sustain one of the Piedmont’s most expansive variety of flowers, shrubberies, plants, grasses, groundcovers and trees. The benefactors Mary Coker Joslin and the late William Joslin, made their home at the site at 2431 West Lake Drive for more than 60 years. The Joslin family and the City of Raleigh have founded a tax-exempt entity, the City of Oaks Foundation, which will be the owners of the property and the recipient of the Joslin Gardens Endowment Fund for the maintenance of the property.
  • November 2011: The City Council requested an extension from the North Carolina Department of Transportation of the temporary bicycle lane markings along Hillsborough Street between Gardner and Enterprise streets.
  • November 2011: The long awaited reopening of the popular amusement center at Pullen Park took place on a glorious Nov. 19 afternoon. The 124-year-old park’s amusement center, the fifth oldest operating amusement park in the United States and the 16 oldest in the world, had been closed since December 2009 for much needed renovations. The renovations to the southern end of Pullen Park included a new carousel house, welcome center, train station, concessions building and restroom. The carousel’s animals received a significant makeover. Other site improvements included a new entrance, event spaces, playground, underground utilities and picnic shelters. Additionally, Lake Howell was drained and dredged and a new boat dock was installed along with a new apron and geothermal energy system for the lake.
  • November 2011: The City Council voted unanimously to support policy recommendations by the American Water Works Association for the upcoming federal farm bill. The recommendations would significantly reduce nutrient loading in drinking water reservoirs from agricultural operations.
  • November 2011: The City Council approved a request to negotiate a contract with Skeo Solutions of Charlottesville, Va., to serve as a consultant for the collaborative discussion with the Chavis community on the future of Chavis Park. In 2009, the Council approved the relocation of the historic Chavis Park carousel within the park. The Council also agreed to survey the Chavis community to learn the residents’ wishes and concerns for the future and the park. In addition to the historic carousel the 34-acre park which was dedicated in 1937, features greenway trails, athletic facilities, a neighborhood pool and community center.
  • November 2011: Raleigh enjoys the quality of life that puts it on the top of the “best of” lists. To stay at such a dizzying height takes insight, foresight, innovations and a unified strategy. Making that happen is the objective of the Raleigh Innovation Summit that Mayor Charles Meeker announced Nov. 21 in conjunction with Dr. Terri Lomax, vice chancellor or Research, Innovation and Economic Development at North Carolina State University. The summit will be held Jan. 18 in the Raleigh Convention Center.
  • December, 2011: The people of Raleigh gave outgoing Mayor Charles Meeker a big thank you Dec. 3, after he threw the switch on the city’s holiday tree. Immediately after lighting the tree on Fayetteville Streets’ City Plaza, Mayor-Elect Nancy McFarlane joined Mayor Meeker on the stage and read a proclamation from the residents of Raleigh proclaiming December “Mayor Charles Meeker Month” as a means of expressing their gratitude for his service and leadership. After reading the proclamation, the City fired up a glowing tribute to the Mayor that read: “Thank You Charles.” The Fayetteville Street setting for the tribute was most appropriate. Mayor Meeker listed the return of Fayetteville Street to vehicular traffic and the revitalization of Downtown as his paramount priorities. Traffic returned to “North Carolina’s Main Street” July 29, 2006.
  • December 2011: A swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected Mayor and City Council was held the evening of Dec. 5 in the Cabarrus Street lobby of the Raleigh Convention Center. The installation marked Nancy MacFarlane’s first term as Mayor of Raleigh and the 34th Raleigh City Council under the council/manager form of government. This is the 20th City Council under the district system, with direct election of the Mayor. The ceremony marked the close of Charles Meeker’s decade of service as Mayor. First elected Mayor in 2001, he served nine terms as a member of the Raleigh City Council, having served four terms as a Council Member being elected in 1985, 1987, 1991, and 1993. His five terms as Mayor tie him with the late Avery C. Upchurch as Raleigh’s longest-serving Mayors.
  • December 2011: The City Council asked the City Attorney’s Office to pursue an exemption to the newly adopted State law that allows the carrying of concealed weapons essentially everywhere, with the exceptions of some City-owned parks and recreational facilities.
  • December 2011: The City Council accepted the lowest responsible bid ($1.5 million) for the construction of phase I of the Simmons Branch drainage improvements project.
  • The bid award is the first phase of three planned stormwater utility improvement projects in the Simmons Branch watershed to reduce roadway flooding, structural flooding and replace deteriorated infrastructure.
  • December 2011: The City Council approved the initial planning phase of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens expansion.
  • December 2011: Mayor Nancy McFarlane reacted to the Dec. 8 U.S. Postal Service’s announcement that, “discontinuance of Century Station will not be pursued at this time,” to thank those who made efforts to keep the Fayetteville Street National Register Property operating, especially former Mayor Charles Meeker.
  • December 2011: Raleigh’s population of 403,892 makes it the nation’s 43rd most populous city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rise is a combination of Raleigh’s consistent growth while other cities’ populations are shrinking or growing at a slower pace. Raleigh’s population rose more than 46.2 percent since the last U.S. Census was conducted. The 2000 population was 276,093. The Capital City’s population has more than doubled since 1988 when 201,111 persons called Raleigh home. Raleigh’s population is between Miami’s at 399,457 and Omaha, Neb., at 408,958.
  • December 2011: The City of Raleigh and Progress Energy Carolinas announced the start of a two-year research and development partnership to evaluate solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations. The project connects two charging stations in Raleigh to a solar photovoltaic array and battery system. When the sun is shining, the array produces electricity and charges either a plugged-in vehicle or the on-site battery.
  • December 2011: In its quest to learn which city Southerners consider sets the best table in all of Dixie, Southern Living magazine has chosen what it evaluates as the top 10 and is asking its readers to share their opinions. Raleigh is among the 10 selected as the magazine’s Top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South.” The magazine reports that Raleigh’s “fantastic farmers markets and chefs devoted to their culinary heritage” earned it a spot in the top 10.
  • December 2011: The City Council agreed to be a partner for the “Run for Our Heroes” road race that will raise funds for the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation. The City will contribute $3,000 to the event.

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