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Cary, North Carolina
Town of Cary
Town Hall in Cary
Town Hall in Cary
Flag of Cary, North Carolina
Flag
Official seal of Cary, North Carolina
Seal
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Coordinates: 35°47′30″N 78°46′52″W / 35.79167°N 78.78111°W / 35.79167; -78.78111Coordinates: 35°47′30″N 78°46′52″W / 35.79167°N 78.78111°W / 35.79167; -78.78111
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Chatham, Wake
Founded 1750
Incorporated April 3, 1871
Named for Samuel Fenton Cary
Area
 • Total 59.94 sq mi (155.25 km2)
 • Land 58.86 sq mi (152.44 km2)
 • Water 1.08 sq mi (2.80 km2)  1.83%
Elevation
495 ft (151 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 135,234
 • Estimate 
(2019)
170,282
 • Density 2,893.05/sq mi (1,117.01/km2)
Demonym(s) Caryite
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
27511-27513, 27518, 27519
Area codes 919, 984
FIPS code 37-10740
GNIS feature ID 1019552

Cary is the largest town and seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake County (with a small area in Chatham County) and is the county's second-largest municipality, as well as the third-largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham.

The town's population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census (an increase of 43.1% since 2000), making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. As of July 2019, the town's estimated population was 170,282, though Cary is still classified a town because that is how it was incorporated with the state. Cary is the second most populous incorporated town (behind only Gilbert, Arizona) in the United States.

According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the fifth fastest-growing municipality in the United States between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three primary metropolitan areas of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional nickname of "The Triangle" originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, primarily located in Durham County, four miles from downtown Durham. RTP is bordered on three sides by the city of Durham and is roughly midway between the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and the three major research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Effective June 6, 2003, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) redefined the Federal statistical areas. This resulted in the formation of the Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area and the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area.

The Research Triangle region encompasses OMB's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina. As of 2012, the population of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA was 1,998,808. The Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as of Census 2010 was 1,130,490.

Geography

Located in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States, Cary is near North Carolina's Research Triangle. It is edged on the north and east by Raleigh, on the north and west by Research Triangle Park and Morrisville, on the south by Apex and Holly Springs, and on the west by the Jordan Lake area. The town is hilly, with much of the undeveloped land covered in dense woods. Several creeks and small lakes dot the area, most notably Lake Crabtree in the north.

Nearly all of Cary is in western Wake County, with neighborhood-sized sections in the northeast corner of Chatham County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.5 square miles (112.6 km²). 42.1 square miles (109.0 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²) of it (3.17%) is water. More recent Cary records show that as of 2010 the town has a total area of 55.34 mi².

Climate

Cary has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification system. It receives hot summers and mildly cold winters, with several months of pleasant weather each year. Temperature extremes here range from the negatives to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricanes and tropical storms can affect Cary, usually after weakening substantially from being over land. Some, such as Hurricane Fran in 1996, have caused great damage in the area. Snow falls every year, averaging around 6 inches annually.

Climate data for Cary, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
(26.7)
84
(28.9)
94
(34.4)
95
(35)
99
(37.2)
104
(40)
105
(40.6)
105
(40.6)
104
(40)
98
(36.7)
88
(31.1)
81
(27.2)
105
(40.6)
Average high °F (°C) 50
(10)
54
(12.2)
62
(16.7)
72
(22.2)
79
(26.1)
86
(30)
89
(31.7)
87
(30.6)
81
(27.2)
72
(22.2)
62
(16.7)
53
(11.7)
70.6
(21.44)
Average low °F (°C) 30
(-1.1)
32
(0)
39
(3.9)
46
(7.8)
55
(12.8)
64
(17.8)
69
(20.6)
67
(19.4)
61
(16.1)
48
(8.9)
40
(4.4)
33
(0.6)
48.7
(9.26)
Record low °F (°C) −9
(-22.8)
−2
(-18.9)
11
(-11.7)
23
(-5)
29
(-1.7)
38
(3.3)
48
(8.9)
46
(7.8)
37
(2.8)
19
(-7.2)
11
(-11.7)
0
(-17.8)
−9
(-22.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.02
(102.1)
3.47
(88.1)
4.03
(102.4)
2.8
(71)
3.79
(96.3)
3.42
(86.9)
4.29
(109)
3.78
(96)
4.26
(108.2)
3.18
(80.8)
2.97
(75.4)
3.04
(77.2)
43.05
(1,093.5)
Source: http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/fitness/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USNC0107

Townscape

Cary is divided into distinct east and west sections. The eastern side, being older, contains the downtown area as well as the town's oldest neighborhoods. Several of the town's iconic buildings, such as the Ashworth Drug Store, Fidelity Building, and Page-Walker Hotel are found in the eastern part of town. The western side is much newer and is visibly the center of wealth in Cary. Almost completely suburbanized, the area features sprawling neighborhoods, parks, and lakes. Golf courses and mansions are commonplace, most notably those associated with the Preston community.

Cary, North Carolina. Cary, NC
The Cary Town Hall
Carycenter
The Fidelity Bank and Ashworth Drug Store
Chathamstreetcary
Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street

History

Page-WalkerHotel
Page-Walker Hotel (now local history museum).

In 1750, Cary began as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About 100 years later, the construction of the North Carolina Railroad between New Bern and Hillsborough went through the town, linking Bradford's Ordinary to a major transportation route.

Allison Francis "Frank" Page is credited with founding the town. Page was a Wake County farmer and lumberman. He and his wife, Catherine "Kate" Raboteau Page bought 300 acres (1.2 km2) surrounding the railroad junction in 1854 and named his development Cary, after Samuel Fenton Cary (a former Ohio congressman and prohibitionist he admired). Page became a railroad agent and a town developer. He laid out the first streets in Cary and built a sawmill, a general store and a post office (Page became the first Postmaster). In 1868, Page built a hotel to serve railroad passengers coming through Cary. Cary was incorporated on April 6, 1871, with Page becoming the first mayor. In 1879, the Raleigh and Augusta Air-Line Railroad (later the Seaboard, now CSX Transportation) arrived in Cary from the southwest, creating Fetner Junction just north of downtown and spurring further growth.

In the early years Cary adopted zoning and other ordinances on an ad-hoc basis to control growth and give the town structure. Beginning in 1971, the town created Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning to accommodate population growth related to the growth of Research Triangle Park nearby. A PUD allows a developer to plan an entire community before beginning development, thus allowing future residents to be aware of where churches, schools, commercial and industrial areas will be located well before such use begins. Kildaire Farms, a 967-acre (3.9 km2) Planned Unit Development in Cary, was North Carolina's first PUD. It was developed on the Pine State Dairy Farm by Thomas F. Adams, Jr. Adams named a section of Kildaire Farms "Farmington Woods" in their honor. The local government has placed a high value on creating an aesthetically pleasing town.

In addition to the Page-Walker Hotel, the Carpenter Historic District, Cary Historic District, Green Level Historic District, Ivey-Ellington House, and Nancy Jones House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 316
1890 423 33.9%
1900 333 −21.3%
1910 383 15.0%
1920 645 68.4%
1930 909 40.9%
1940 1,141 25.5%
1950 1,446 26.7%
1960 3,356 132.1%
1970 7,686 129.0%
1980 21,763 183.2%
1990 43,858 101.5%
2000 94,536 115.6%
2010 135,234 43.1%
2019 (est.) 170,282 25.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

According to the 2010 Census, there were 135,234 people and 55,303 households in the town. As of 2013, the population has increased to 151,088. The population was 73.1% White, 13.1% Asian, 8.0% African American, 7.7% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 2.6% identified as having ancestry of two or more races, 0.4% Native American, and 0.0% Pacific Islander.

The median household income for Cary as of 2011 was $110,609.

Data from the 2000 Census shows 29.2% of Cary residents are native to North Carolina; 55.2% were born in other states. Additionally, 15.6% of the town's population were born outside the United States. The high proportion of non-native-born North Carolinians in the town has led native-born North Carolinians to refer to it derisively as "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees" or "Congested Area of Relocated Yankees".

Educational attainment

More than two-thirds (68.0%) of Cary residents (aged 25 and older) hold an associate degree or higher, and 60.7% of adults possess a bachelor's degree or higher.

In 2013, Cary moved up in the latest rankings of safe U.S. cities and is now considered the third-safest among municipalities with populations of 100,000 to 499,999, behind Amherst, New York, and Irvine, California, according to CQ Press.

Transportation

Public transit

Public transit within the town is provided by GoCary, with six fixed-routes. There is also a door-to-door service for the senior citizens (60+) and riders with disabilities. GoTriangle operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Silver Star, Carolinian and Piedmont passenger trains stop at the Cary Amtrak station. They offer service to Charlotte, New York City, Miami, and intermediate points.

Bicycle

The League of American Bicyclists has designated Cary one of the fourteen recipients of the first Bicycle-Friendly Community awards for "providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation".

The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1 passes through suburban Cary, as does N.C. Bicycle Route #2, the "Mountains to Sea" route.

Mountain bike trails are available just north of Cary in Lake Crabtree County Park. Information on other trails in the area is available at www.trianglemtb.com.

Pedestrian

Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout the town. These greenways place strict requirements on environmental conditions to preserve a park-like atmosphere. In addition, standard sidewalks and paths exist throughout the town.

Air

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport, located north of Cary via Interstate 40 between Cary, Raleigh and Durham, serves Cary and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region. Raleigh-Durham offers more than 35 destinations, serving approximately 9 million passengers per year.

Freeways and primary routes

  • Interstate 40
  • U.S. 1
  • U.S. 64
  • State Highway 54
  • State Highway 55
  • State Highway 147
  • State Highway 540
  • State Highway 751
  • Cary Parkway
  • Kildaire Farm Road
  • Walnut Street (which appears on some maps as Cary-Macedonia Road)
  • High House Road
  • Harrison Avenue
  • Maynard Road Loop
  • Davis Drive (links to Research Triangle Park)
  • Holly Springs Road

Public recreation

Carytennis
Cary Tennis Park

Tennis

  • Cary Tennis Park
  • Recreation Club of Lochmere

Golf

  • Lochmere Golf Club
  • Prestonwood Country Club
  • MacGregor Downs Country Club
  • SAS Championship

Events

Cultural

  • Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
  • Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
  • Cary Diwali Celebration - Festival of Light
  • Ritmo Latino Music, Art and Dance Festival
  • NC Eid Festival
  • Cary Band Day

Sports

  • 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship
  • 2009-2014 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship
  • 2011 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships
  • 2012 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Tennis Championships
  • Home to North Carolina FC of the North American Soccer League

Honors and designations

  • Money Magazine Best Place to Live #5 in the Nation in 2006.

Sister cities

Economy

Notable businesses

  • 3Dsolve – Simulation software used in training by the military, recently purchased by Lockheed Martin
  • A10 Networks – U.S. public company specializing in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers
  • Arista Networks – Computer networking manufacturer
  • Cotton Incorporated – Industry trade-group
  • IntelliScanner Corporation – Home and small business organization products
  • Lord Corporation – Diversified technology company
  • SAS Institute – Large software company and Cary's largest employer
  • Western Wake Medical Center – Private hospital
  • ABB Group - Electrification, Robotics and Industrial Automation conglomerate
  • Epic Games - Video game company

Top employers

According to the Cary's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the town are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 SAS Institute 5,567
2 MetLife 3,100
3 Verizon 2,000
4 Siemens Medical Solutions USA 1,600
5 HCL America 1,500
6 Town of Cary 1,152
7 Precision Walls 1,015
8 Global Knowledge 1,000
9 American Airlines Reservation Center 964
10 ABB, Inc. 900

Education

Public schools

Green Hope High School (Front Entrance) 2006
Green Hope High School

Based in Cary, the Wake County Public School System is the largest public school system in North Carolina.

Private schools

  • Cardinal Charter Academy, K—8th grade
  • Cary Academy, 6—12 grade
  • Cary Christian School, K—12 grade
  • Chesterbrook Academy, K—5 grade
  • Grace Christian School, K—12 grade
  • Hopewell Academy, 6—12 grade
  • Landmark Christian Academy, K—12 grade
  • Resurrection Lutheran School, K—8th grade
  • Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic School, PK—8 grade

Higher education

  • Wake Technical Community College

Sports

Cary is home to two professional sports teams: North Carolina FC of USL League One and North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). USL League One is the third tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. Both teams play their home games at WakeMed Soccer Park, known as Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Club Sport Founded League Venue
North Carolina FC Soccer 2006 USL League One WakeMed Soccer Park
North Carolina Courage Soccer 2009 NWSL WakeMed Soccer Park

Cary has also been the host site for various different NCAA sports national championships.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Public transit

Public transit within the town is provided by GoCary, with six fixed-routes. There is a door-to-door service for the senior citizens (60+) and riders with disabilities. GoTriangle operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Silver Star, Carolinian, and Piedmont passenger trains stop at the Cary Amtrak station. They offer service to Charlotte, New York City, Miami, and intermediate points.

Bicycle

In 2010 the League of American Bicyclists designated Cary as one of the fourteen recipients of the first Bicycle-Friendly Community awards for "providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation".

The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1 passes through suburban Cary, as does N.C. Bicycle Route #2, the "Mountains to Sea" route.

Pedestrian

Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout the town. These greenways place strict requirements on environmental conditions to preserve a park-like atmosphere. In addition, standard sidewalks and paths exist throughout the town. The American Tobacco trail also runs through parts of Cary.

Air

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport, north of Cary via Interstate 40 between Cary, Raleigh and Durham, serves Cary and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region. Raleigh-Durham offers more than 35 destinations, serving approximately 9 million passengers per year.

Freeways and primary routes

Chathamstreetcary
Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street
  • Interstate 40
  • U.S. 1
  • U.S. 64
  • State Highway 54
  • State Highway 55
  • State Highway 147
  • State Highway 540
  • State Highway 751
  • Cary Parkway
  • Kildaire Farm Road
  • Walnut Street (which appears on some maps as Cary-Macedonia Road)
  • High House Road
  • Harrison Avenue
  • Maynard Road Loop
  • Davis Drive (links to Research Triangle Park)
  • Holly Springs Road

Notable people

  • Vernetta Alston, politician and attorney
  • Jesse Boulerice, former NHL player
  • Marshall Brain, founder of the HowStuffWorks website
  • Chris Castor, former NFL wide receiver
  • Casey Cole, American Franciscan friar, Catholic priest, writer, and blogger
  • Héctor Cotto, Olympic track and field athlete representing Puerto Rico
  • Claire Curzan, Olympic swimmer representing United States
  • Ryan Danford, Halo player known by the handle Saiyan
  • Anoop Desai, singer-songwriter best known for his time as a contestant on the eighth season of American Idol
  • Spright Dowell, former President of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University
  • Tim Downs, American author
  • Chris Flemmings, professional basketball player
  • Kendall Fletcher, professional women's soccer player
  • James Goodnight, co-founder and CEO of SAS Institute
  • Ron Hendren, former co-host of Entertainment Tonight
  • Justin Jedlica, model and businessman
  • Greg Jones, professional baseball player in the Tampa Bay Rays organization
  • Isaiah Johnson, NFL defensive back
  • U. Alexis Johnson, United States diplomat
  • Alfred Daniel Jones, U.S. Consul General in Shanghai (1893), lived in Cary
  • Scott Kooistra, NFL offensive tackle
  • Nathan Macias, former member of the Texas House of Representatives; lived in Cary while in the United States Air Force
  • Luke Maye, professional basketball player
  • Wiley Nickel, member of the North Carolina Senate
  • Walter Hines Page, former United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  • Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, business executive and philanthropist
  • Max Povse, professional baseball pitcher
  • Bevin Prince, actress from One Tree Hill
  • Morgan Reid, professional women's soccer player
  • Justin Ress, competitive swimmer who represented the United States at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships
  • John Sall, co-founder of SAS Institute
  • Ryan Spaulding, professional soccer player
  • Azurá Stevens, WNBA player
  • Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games
  • Rysa Walker, award-winning author of the Chronos Files series
  • Aaron Ward, former NHL player
  • Curtis Waters, recording artist best known for his debut single "Stunnin"
  • Jennifer Weiss, former Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly
  • Glen Wesley, former NHL player
  • Evan Rachel Wood, actress in Thirteen, True Blood, The Conspirator
  • Kay Yow, former head coach of the women's basketball team at North Carolina State University
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