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Cary ( ) is a large town in Wakemarker and Chathammarker counties in the U.S. state of North Carolinamarker. Located almost entirely in Wake County, it is the second largest municipality in that county and the third largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleighmarker and Durhammarker. Cary is a suburb of Raleighmarker. The town's population was 94,536 at the 2000 census, but the Census Bureau estimates that its population had grown to 134,000 by 2009, making it the largest town and seventh largest municipality statewide. According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the 5th fastest growing municipality in the United Statesmarker between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007. The census bureau more recently rated the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area as the fastest growing municipality in the U.S. between 2007 and 2008.


Cary is situated at the heart of North Carolina's Research Trianglemarker Region. It is edged on the north and east by Raleigh, on the north and west by Research Triangle Park and Morrisvillemarker, on the south by Apexmarker and Holly Springsmarker, and on the west by the Jordan Lakemarker area. The majority of Cary is in western Wake County, with a small part in Chatham Countymarker.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.5 mi² (112.6 km²). 42.1 mi² (109.0 km²) of it is land and 1.4 mi² (3.6 km²) of it (3.17%) is water. More recent Cary records show that as of 2007 the town has a total area of 52.79 mi².


Today's Cary began in 1750 as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About 100 years later, the construction of the North Carolina Railroad between New Bernmarker and Hillsboroughmarker placed Bradford's Ordinary on 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 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 a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning to accommodate population growth related to the growth of Research Triangle Parkmarker 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 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.


Historical populations

1940 1,141 -
1950 1,496 (+31%)
1960 3,356 (+124%)
1970 7,640 (+128%)
1980 21,763 (+185%)
1990 43,858 (+102%)
2000 94,536 (+116%)
2007 125,460 (+33%)

As of the census of 2000, there were 94,536 people, 34,906 households, 25,132 families residing in the town. The population density was 867.2/km² (2,246.0/mi²). There were 36,863 housing units at an average density of 338.2/km² (875.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.17% White, 6.15% African American, 0.27% Native American, 8.08% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.47% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.28% of the population.

There were 34,906 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 21.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.18.

The age distribution was 29.1% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 38.6% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 5.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $75,122, and the median income for a family was $88,074. Males had a median income of $62,012 versus $38,819 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,974. About 2.1% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over. According to the Census Bureau's 2007 estimates, median incomes had risen to $89,702 (household) and $111,556 (family).


In terms of higher education, 68.0% of adult residents in Cary (ages 25 and older) hold an associate degree or higher, and 60.7% of adults possess a baccalaureate degree or higher. Cary has one of the lowest crime rates in the state for municipalities of its size. The home ownership rate (owner-occupied housing units to total units) is 72.8%.

In 2001, Town of Cary was declared the fourth safest of 327 large municipalities in the nation in the 8th Annual Morgan Quitno Safest (And Most Dangerous) City Award.

The town's reputation as a bedroom community for affluent transplants from outside the South has led to backronyms for its name such as "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees." 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 population were born outside the United States.


Cary Town Hall.
Cary has a council-manager government; the mayor and council members serve a four year term, with half of the council seats being up for election each odd-numbered year. Four of the six council seats are elected by district; the remaining two seats are at-large representatives.

The current town council consists of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Representatives Jennifer Robinson (District A), Don Frantz (District B), Jack W. Smith (District C), Gale Adcock (District D), Erv Portman (at-large), and Julie Aberg Robison (at-large).

On October 9, 2007, Harold Weinbrecht defeated then-mayor Ernie McAlister. Citizen concern over the impact rapid growth was having on the town, especially on roads, schools, and the environment, led to McAlister's ouster.


From 1871 to Present
Read left to right.
Name Years Name Years Name Years Name Years
A. F. Page 1871 J. H. Adams 1884 R. J. Harrison 1887 John Nugeer 1897
E. C. Hayes 1900 A.R. McGarrity 1902 R. J. Harrison 1903 H. B. Jordan 1903
N. C. Hines 1910 J. M. Templeton, Jr. 1912 G. S. Leacock 1914 T. H. Taylor 1916
W. G. Crowder 1916 E. P. Bradshaw 1921 W. H. Atkins 1921-25 G. H. Jordan 1925
E. P. Bradshaw 1925 Dr. F. R. Yarborough 1927-28 A. N. Jackson 1928-29 H. H. Waddell 1929-33
Dr. J. P. Hunter 1933-35 M. T. Jones 1935 T. W. Addicks 1935 L. L. Raines 1935-37
R. W. Mayton 1935-37 Robert G. Setzer 1947-49 H. Waldo Rood 1949-61 Dr. W. H. Justice 1961-62
James Hogarth 1962-63 Dr. E. B. Davis 1963-69 Joseph R. Veasey 1969-71 Fred G. Bond 1971-83
Harold D. Ritter 1983-87 Koka E. Booth 1987-1999 Glen Lang 1999-2003 Ernie McAlister 2003-2007
Harold Weinbrecht 2007-present


Cary Chamber of Commerce.


Public schools

Cary public schools were established in the late 1800s.

Private schools

Higher education


Public transit

Public transit within the town is provided by C-Tran, with six fixed-routes. There is also a door-to-door service for the elderly (55+) and riders with disabilities. Triangle Transit operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleighmarker, Durhammarker and Chapel Hillmarker.

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Silver Star, Carolinian and Piedmont passenger trains stop at the Cary Amtrak stationmarker. They offer service to Charlottemarker, New York Citymarker, Miamimarker, and intermediate points.


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".


Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout 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 Raleigh-Durham International Airportmarker, located northwest of downtown Raleigh via Interstate-40 between Raleighmarker and Durhammarker, serves Cary and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region. Raleigh-Durham is a focus city for American Airlines and a hub for American Eagle Airlines.

Freeways and primary routes


  • Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Parkmarker
  • Page-Walker Hotelmarker
  • WakeMed Soccer Parkmarker, where the Carolina RailHawks play.
  • William B.marker Umstead State Parkmarker Cary's North Harrison Avenue ends at the Reedy Creek Entrance.
  • USA Baseball National Training Complexmarker, 4 Baseball Fields including Stadium Center Field with seating for 1,754
  • Thomas Brooks Park, 4 Baseball/Softball Fields (lighted), Batting Cage, 2 Basketball Slabs (lighted), 2 Soccer Fields
  • Sk-8 Skate Park, outdoor street course made up of rails, banks, grind ledges, quarter-pipes and half-pipes from 3 to tall with pro shop, concession area, restrooms, covered viewing area. Summer skateboarding camps.
  • Fred G. Bond Metro Park, Park with Bond Lake, Boathouse, Ropes Course, Trails, Athletic Fields, Playgrounds
  • The Cary Ice House, Indoor Year Round Rink offering Hockey and Figure Skating
  • Triangle Aquatic Center , the largest public aquatic facility in North Carolina, 3 Pools including competition pool with 1,000 seat seating, cafe, swim shop
  • Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, Unique stand of Eastern Hemlock Trees located at 2616 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC
  • Jelly beans Super Skate Center of Cary, off of Buck Jones Road (Near crossroads)


  • Cary Tennis Park, Championship Tennis Courts with Stadium Court, 29 Courts, 2 Backboard Courts, 4 mini courts, Pro Shop, Snack Bar, Locker Rooms, All Courts Lighted.


  • Lochmere Golf Club, 18 Holes
  • Prestonwood Country Club, 54 Holes of Championship Golf, 6 Clay Tennis Courts, 9 Hard Courts, Swimming Pool, Clubhouse
  • Macgregor Downs Country Club, 18 Holes, 8 Clay Tennis Courts, 3 Hard Courts, Swimming Pool, Clubhouse
  • SAS Championships, Champions Tour, 2.1 Million Purse, Every September, Prestonwood Country Club

Honors and awards

  • Money Magazine Best Place to Live #5 in the Nation
  • NCAA Championship City


  • Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
  • Cary Band Day High school band competition and parade, held since 1958
  • Cary Road Race, Every April includes a 10K, 5K, and 1 Mile Fun Run
  • Run for Life, includes a 5K and 1 Mile Run
  • 2008 Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup
  • 2009 Division I Women’s Basketball Regional
  • 2009 Division I Men’s Soccer College Cup
  • 2010 Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup
  • 2010 Division II Baseball Championship
  • 2011 Division III Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships
  • 2012 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships

Sister cities

Notable natives and residents

  • Former Cary citizen Walter Hines Page was a U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdommarker.
  • Cary resident Marshall Brain is the founder of the HowStuffWorks website. He is also a published author and a futurist who believes that robots will have taken over unskilled jobs by 2050.
  • Cary resident David Potorti became a peace activist following the death of his brother James in the World Trade Centermarker attack of 2001. He is a founding member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
  • Cary resident Deborah Gonzales is a novelist who writes under the names Sabrina Jeffries, Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas.
  • Cary residents Aaron Ward and Jesse Boulerice are former Carolina Hurricanes players who have made their homes here.
  • Cary resident Kay Yow was the head coach of the women's basketball team at North Carolina State University.

See also


  1. New Orleans Population Continues Katrina Recovery; Houston Leads in Numerical Growth, U.S. Census Bureau News, 2008-07-10
  2. US Census Press Release, March 19, 2009
  3. Guide to Services
  4. About Cary : Looking Back
  5. Cary town, North Carolina — Income in the Past 12 Months (In 2007 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)
  7. Money Magazine Article - Part 2
  8. Cary town, North Carolina - DP-2. Profile of Selected Social Characteristics: 2000
  9. Weinbrecht ousts McAlister in Cary
  10. Weinbrecht Wins Upset in Cary Mayoral Race
  12. Cary Bicycle Plan
  13. Cary Greenways and Trails
  14. Thomas Brooks Park
  15. Sk-8 Skate Park
  16. Fred G. Bond Metro Park
  17. The Cary Ice House
  18. Triangle Aquatic Center
  19. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
  20. Jelly beans Super Skate Center of Cary
  21. 2006, Money Magazine Best Place to Live #5 in the Nation
  22. 2008, NCAA selects Cary, NC as a Top Six “NCAA Championship City” for pilot program
  23. Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
  24. Cary Band Day
  25. Cary Road Race
  26. Run for Life
  27. Walter Hines Page
  28. Brain's eye is firmly on the future
  30. Former Hurricanes at home in Triangle
  31. 2002: Kay Yow

External links

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