Cary, North Carolina
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Cary, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina
Town of Cary
Town Hall in Cary
Town Hall in Cary
Flag of Cary, North Carolina
Official seal of Cary, North Carolina
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
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesChatham, Wake
IncorporatedApril 3, 1871
Named forSamuel Fenton Cary
 o MayorHarold Weinbrecht
 o Total59.94 sq mi (155.25 km2)
 o Land58.86 sq mi (152.44 km2)
 o Water1.08 sq mi (2.80 km2)  1.83%
495 ft (151 m)
 o Total135,234
 o Estimate 
 o Density2,893.05/sq mi (1,117.01/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
ZIP Code
27511-27513, 27518, 27519
Area codes919, 984
FIPS code37-10740[3]
GNIS feature ID1019552[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] In 2015 Cary had a crime rate of 84 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.[8] Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, had a violent crime rate of 648 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, almost eight times higher than Cary.

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.[9] The Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as of Census 2010 was 1,130,490.


Page-Walker Hotel (now local history museum)
The Preston Clocktower in West Cary

In 1750, Cary began as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About a century later, the North Carolina Railroad between New Bern and Hillsborough was constructed 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[10] (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 3, 1871, with Page becoming the first mayor.[11] 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.

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.[12]


Located in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States, Cary is near North Carolina's Research Triangle. It is bordered 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.[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.5 square miles (112.6 km2), of which 42.1 square miles (109.0 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (3.17%) is water. As of 2010, Cary claims a total area of 55.34 mi2.[14]


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 approximately six inches annually.

Climate data for Cary, North Carolina (1991-2020 normals, extremes 2000-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 50.2
Daily mean °F (°C) 40.7
Average low °F (°C) 31.2
Record low °F (°C) 6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.54
Source: NOAA[15][16]


Cary is divided into distinct east and west sections. The eastern side contains the downtown area as well as the town's neighborhoods. Several of the town's iconic buildings, such as the Ashworth Drug Store, Fidelity Building, and Page-Walker Hotel are in the eastern part of town. The western side holds mostly residences and shopping. Almost completely suburbanized, the area features sprawling neighborhoods, parks, and lakes.


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.[18] 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.[19] 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".[20]

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. Cary has one of the lowest crime rates (79% less than North Carolina) in the state for municipalities of its size.[21][22] The home ownership rate (owner-occupied housing units to total units) is 72.8%.

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, publisher of the annual "City Crime Rankings 2008-2009: Crime in Metropolitan America."


Notable businesses

Top employers

According to the Cary's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[23] 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

Arts and culture

  • Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival[24]
  • Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
  • Greater Triangle Area Dragon Boat Festival
  • Cary Diwali Celebration - Festival of Light
  • Ritmo Latino Music, Art and Dance Festival
  • NC Eid Festival[25]
  • Cary Band Day


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.

Cary has also been the host site for various different NCAA sports national championships.[26][27]

Parks and recreation


  • Cary Tennis Park
  • Recreation Club of Lochmere


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 single-member districts; the remaining two seats are elected as at-large representatives, meaning they must attract a majority of votes across the whole town.

The current (as of June 2021) town council consists of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Representatives Jennifer Robinson (District A), Don Frantz (District B), Jack W. Smith (District C), Ya Liu (District D), Lori Bush (at-large), and Ed Yerha (at-large).[52]

On October 9, 2007, Harold Weinbrecht defeated incumbent Mayor Ernie McAlister in the 2007 mayoral election. Citizen concerns that rapid growth was adversely affecting infrastructure and environment over the effect rapid growth was having on the town, especially on roads, schools, and the environment, led to McAlister's ouster.[53]

On December 26, 2009, The Nation reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had secret prisons in the United States, where it held suspected illegal immigrants indefinitely before deportation. It reported that at least one of these secret federal prisons is allegedly located in an office building in Cary.[54] Part of the federal government's Department of Homeland Security, ICE has leased an office in Cary for more than 10 years. The town says that no detainees are kept at this location overnight. Other than protesters of punitive ICE policies picketing the facility, the town does not acknowledge any issues associated with the Cary ICE office.[55]


Harold Weinbrecht, the incumbent mayor of Cary
From 1871 to present

Read in columns.

Name Year(s) Name Year(s) Name Year(s) Name Year(s)
A. F. Page[56] 1871 G. S. Leacock 1914 Dr. J. P. Hunter 1933-1935 Joseph R. Veasey 1969-1971
J. H. Adams 1884 T. H. Taylor 1916 M. T. Jones 1935 Fred G. Bond 1971-1983
R. J. Harrison 1887 W. G. Crowder 1916 T. W. Addicks 1935 Harold D. Ritter 1983-1987
John Nugeer 1897 E. P. Bradshaw 1921 L. L. Raines 1937-1947 Koka E. Booth[57][58] 1987-1999
E. C. Hayes 1900 W. H. Atkins 1921-1925 R. W. Mayton 1935-1937 Glen Lang 1999-2003
A.R. McGarrity 1902 G. H. Jordan 1925 Robert G. Setzer 1947-1949 Ernie McAlister 2003-2007
R. J. Harrison 1903 E. P. Bradshaw 1925 H. Waldo Rood 1949-1961 Harold Weinbrecht 2007-present
H. B. Jordan 1903 Dr. F. R. Yarborough 1927-1928 Dr. W. H. Justice 1961-1962
N. C. Hines 1910 A. N. Jackson 1928-1929 James Hogarth 1962-1963
J. M. Templeton, Jr. 1912 H. H. Waddell 1929-1933 Dr. E. B. Davis 1963-1969


Public schools

Green Hope High School

Based in Cary, the Wake County Public School System is the largest public school system in North Carolina.[59]

High Schools

Middle Schools

  • Davis Drive Middle School
  • East Cary Middle School
  • Mills Park Middle School
  • Reedy Creek Middle School
  • West Cary Middle School
  • Alston Ridge Middle School

Elementary Schools

  • Adams Elementary School
  • Alston Ridge Elementary School
  • Briarcliff Elementary School
  • Carpenter Elementary School
  • Cary Elementary School
  • Davis Drive Elementary School
  • Farmington Woods Elementary School
  • Green Hope Elementary School
  • Highcroft Drive Elementary School
  • Hortons Creek Elementary
  • Kingswood Elementary School
  • Mills Park Elementary School
  • Northwoods Elementary School
  • Oak Grove Elementary School
  • Penny Road Elementary School
  • Reedy Creek Elementary School
  • Turner Creek Elementary School
  • Weatherstone Elementary School

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



Public transit

Public transit within the town is provided by GoCary, with six fixed-routes.[60] There is a door-to-door service for the senior citizens (60+) and riders with disabilities.[61] GoTriangle operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.[62]

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.


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".[63]

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.


Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout the town.[63] 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.


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

Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street

Notable people


Sister cities

Cary's sister cities are:[82]

See also


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Cary". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  5. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: North Carolina 2000-2009". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2010-06-22. Archived from the original (CSV) on 2010-06-26. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Bolejack, Scott (2018-04-02). "Should Cary call itself a city or a town? Does it even matter?". News & Observer. Retrieved .
  7. ^ New Orleans Population Continues Katrina Recovery; Houston Leads in Numerical Growth, U.S. Census Bureau News, 2008-07-10
  8. ^ Wallace, Nick (November 16, 2015). "The Safest Cities in America". SmartAsset. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "Population Estimates 2012 Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 70.
  11. ^ "Looking Back". Cary, North Carolina. Archived from the original on 2010-06-08. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Town Limits Layout". Town of Cary. Cary, North Carolina. March 14, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Town of Cary - Our Community". Cary, North Carolina. Archived from the original on 2014-06-20. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2021.
  16. ^ "Station: Cary, NC". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2021.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Retrieved 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Money Magazine Article - Part 2". Cary Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved .
  20. ^ Wolfram, Walt; Reaser, Jeffrey (2014). Talkin' Tar Heel : How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-4696-1437-3.
  21. ^ "10 safest places to live in the US". Archived from the original on 28 June 2016. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ Bourne, Joel. "Suburbia Unbound". National Geographic. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2020". Town of Cary. p. 247. Retrieved 2021.
  24. ^ "All About Lazy Daze". Cary Citizen. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23.
  25. ^ "NC Eid Festival". Archived from the original on 2010-08-12. Retrieved .
  26. ^ (Apr 23, 2019). Cary to Host NCAA Division II Baseball Championship for 10th time. Town of Cary. Retrieved Feb 6, 2020.
  27. ^ College Cup: Men's DI soccer championship. Retrieved Feb 6, 2020.
  28. ^ Cary Parks: Sk8 Cary Skate Park, Cary, North Caroline. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
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  31. ^ "Heater Park | Town of Cary".
  32. ^ "Urban Park | Town of Cary".
  33. ^ "Kay Struffolino Park | Town of Cary".
  34. ^ "Veterans Freedom Park | Town of Cary".
  35. ^ "Lexie Lane Park | Town of Cary".
  36. ^ "Lions Park | Town of Cary".
  37. ^ "Carpenter Park | Town of Cary".
  38. ^ "Annie Jones Park | Town of Cary".
  39. ^ "Davis Drive Park | Town of Cary".
  40. ^ "Dorothy Park | Town of Cary".
  41. ^ "Green Hope Elementary Park | Town of Cary".
  42. ^ "Harold D. Ritter Park | Town of Cary".
  43. ^ "Mills School Park | Town of Cary".
  44. ^ "Marla Dorrel Park | Town of Cary".
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Robert V. Godbold Park | Town of Cary".
  47. ^ "Middle Creek School/Park | Town of Cary".
  48. ^ "New Hope Church Road Trailhead Park | Town of Cary".
  49. ^ "White Oak Park | Town of Cary".
  50. ^ "Rose Street Park | Town of Cary".
  51. ^ "Sears Farm Road Park | Town of Cary".
  52. ^ "Town Council". Town of Cary. Retrieved 2021.
  53. ^ Carlson, Kelcey (2007-10-09). "Town of CaryWeinbrecht Wins Upset in Cary Mayoral Race". WRAL News. Capitol Broadcasting Company. Retrieved .
  54. ^ Stevens, Jacqueline (2009-12-16). "America's Secret ICE Castles". The Nation. Katrina vanden Heuvel. Retrieved .
  55. ^ "Get the Facts - ICE in Cary". Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  56. ^ Cary History: Frank Page, CaryCitizen, 22 April 2010.
  57. ^ "Cary History: Former Cary Mayor Koka Booth". CaryCitizen. April 27, 2020.
  58. ^ Profile: Former Cary Mayor Koka Booth, CaryCitizen, June 30, 2010.
  59. ^ "Contact Us / Overview" Check |url= value (help). Wake County Public Schools. Retrieved 2020.
  60. ^ "Fixed Route Service". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved .
  61. ^ "GoCary Door to Door Service". Retrieved .
  62. ^ "Maps & Schedules | GoTriangle". Retrieved .
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  73. ^ "House Membership: Representative Nathan Mathias" (PDF). Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved 2014.
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  78. ^ #20 Ryan Spaulding.
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  80. ^ Geary, Bob. (Feb 7, 2012). Rep. Jennifer Weiss won't run again: Bad news. Indy Week. Retrieved Feb 6, 2020.
  81. ^ "Best Places to Live 2006". CNN. 2006. Archived from the original on December 21, 2006. Retrieved .
  82. ^ "Our Sister Cities". Sister Cities Association of Cary. Retrieved .

External links

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