Incorporated on Feb. 20, 1909, Wake Forest is a progressive community of over 27,000 residents. Located in northern Wake County, Wake Forest boasts a vibrant downtown featuring more than 100 businesses, including several outstanding restaurants and specialty shops. Mindful of its rich heritage, the downtown is also an officially registered historic district. Representative of its academic history, Wake Forest is the home of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southeastern College at Wake Forest.
Wake Forest continues its emergence as a major player in the phenomenal growth and activity witnessed throughout the Triangle. Wake Forest maintains its small town character, however, by captivating newcomers and long-time residents alike with its incomparable warmth and charm.
Wake Forest is a unique community with a thriving downtown where you can walk just about anywhere to shop, eat or simply visit.
Situated less than 10 miles north of Raleigh and approximately 250 miles south of Washington, DC, Wake Forest is a prime location for anyone wishing to enjoy a quality way of life with all the benefits of city living. The community offers quick, easy access to the Triangle’s first class universities, the Research Triangle Park, Atlantic Coast Conference athletics, professional sporting events, and world renowned golfing events. In addition, the beach is just over two hours away, while the mountains are a three to four hour drive, so you are never very far from North Carolina’s most popular vacation destinations.
Several churches in the area reveal a strong spiritual value in the community, while the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce actively promotes the area through family activities and programs that encourage businesses to prosper.
Come visit Wake Forest – a friendly town where neighbors know neighbors, people walk the streets and the historical district offers something for everyone.
In 1820, Dr. Calvin Jones, originally from New England, bought 615 acres (2.5 km²) of forested land in Wake County, North Carolina. The sparsely populated area became known as the Forest of Wake, or Wake Forest. Jones sold his farm to the North Carolina Baptist Convention for $2,000, who opened the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute, later Wake Forest College, on the site. The Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, completed in 1840, established a depot in nearby Forestville, which stimulated the school and surrounding village. College leaders convinced the railroad to move the depot even closer to the college in 1874, leading to more economic development. This community was incorporated as the “Town of Wake Forest College” in 1880. In 1909, the word “College” was removed from the name of the town. The college moved to the much larger city of Winston-Salem NC in 1956. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary began offering classes on the original campus of Wake Forest University in 1950, and occupied the entire campus when the university completed its move.
Attractions and Activities
The DuBois Center
518 N. Franklin Street
Wake Forest, NC 27587
The DuBois Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the northeast area of Wake Forest, the community outreach center also serves as a site for Parks & Recreation basketball games and other community events.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area
13304 Creedmoor Road
Wake Forest, NC 27587
Hours of relaxation await you at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Just moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Falls Lake is a great way to escape urban life. With a 12,000-acre lake and 26,000 acres of woodlands, Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers a choice of recreation areas—Beaverdam, B.W. Wells, Highway 50, Holly Point, Rolling View, Sandling Beach and Shinleaf. Fishing, boating and swimming are only a few of the activities awaiting you on the water. On land, you can enjoy walking, mountain biking or camping along a portion of the state’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail. From recreation to environmental education, no matter what you are looking for, you are sure to discover it at Falls Lake.
YMCA at The Factory
1839 S. Main Street, Suite 250
Wake Forest, NC 27587
The YMCA at The Factory was established in 2007 as a satellite branch of the Banks D. Kerr YMCA and is part of the YMCA of the Triangle, one of the largest YMCAs in the country. The YMCA at The Factory is a 21,000-square-foot facility that serves youth, adults and seniors in northern Wake County and Wake Forest through organized programs that promote good health, strong families, confident children and better communities.
Hill Ridge Farms
703 Tarboro Road
Hill Ridge Farms is the Triangle’s best destination for old fashioned, educational family fun, just 20 minutes north of Raleigh in Youngsville, North Carolina. Bring your children and grandchildren to relive our heritage and enjoy a day in the country!
Wake Forest University Birthplace
414 N. Main Street
Wake Forest, NC 27587
Wake Forest University’s roots are in the town of Wake Forest. It was here, in February of 1834, that the first class enrolled in Wake Forest College. The Calvin Jones House, built before 1820 and home to the first president of the college, was the center of activity at the school. Located in the Wake Forest Historic District, the house is “a lasting monument to the founders of Wake Forest College and the thousands of students who attended classes and graduated from the institution.” The Wake Forest College Birthplace collects preserves and displays the history of the town of Wake Forest as well as Wake Forest University. Visitors have access to an impressive collection of photos, books, college publications, furniture, documents, professors’ writings, medical, law and sports memorabilia.
For more information on things to do, visit the Wake Forest Community Calendar.
Parks and Recreation
The Wake Forest Parks & Recreation Department seeks to enhance the lives of the citizens of Wake Forest by offering a comprehensive system of parks, greenways, facilities, and open spaces coupled with cultural and athletic programs that promote education, health, and wellness.
Town Government and Chamber of Commerce Guide
Contact information for the utilities for your new home.
Wake County Schools
Enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year was 155,184 students — an increase of 1,884 children. With a total of 171 schools, Wake County is the largest school system in the state and the 16th largest in the nation. The student population has almost tripled since 1980, and as many as 20,000 additional children are expected in the classrooms by 2020. For more information, visit Wake County Public Schools.