Rating 4.6

Guide to Apex

Apex, which has a city motto of “The Peak of Good Living”, is located in southwestern Wake County just west of Raleigh and south of Cary. A former railroad town, the city has a small-town feel, with convenience to big-city amenities. In the past several years, Apex has experienced significant growth, as hundreds of newcomers have relocated to Apex. The town currently is home to over 30,000 people.

The city was named ‘Apex’ because is the highest point on the Chatham Railroad between Richmond, Virginia and Jacksonville, FL, as well as being located in the middle of the Neuse River and Cape Fear River. Apex is founded on railroad roots. The city was first settled in 1867, with the first locomotive operating in 1869. The Apex rail station was founded in 1854 “for the purpose of affecting a communication between the North Carolina Railroad Company (at Raleigh) and the coal fields of Chatham County”. Pine forests in Apex created a trade for forestry products like tar, turpentine and lumber, that later spurred stores, warehouses, and eventually, tobacco production. The Tobacco Auction Market was established in 1905. Following two major fires in the early 1900s, many merchants rebuilt structures as brick buildings to proof them for fires.

Apex has been one of the fastest growing towns in North Carolina. There are many new neighborhoods with growth, particularly by middle-upper class families. As of the 2000 US Census Bureau Profile, the median family income was $78,689 and 58.8% of residents held a college degree. The area grew significantly in the 1960s after Research Triangle Park was established and began to attract worldwide companies and workers. The close proximity to the area has added significant economic vitality to the city. The area was named one of the best places to live by Money Magazine in 2007 and the #1 small town for economic vitality by Business North Carolina Magazine in 1994.

Apex has a “mild Humid-Subtropical” climate, with temperatures in the 40s in the winter and in the upper 70s in the summer. There is moderate snow and rain.

Apex is considered to be a driving city, with I-40 running through the town. The Apex Peakway, which is currently under construction, will provide a loop road that will orbit downtown Apex. The Triangle Transit Authority operates buses that serve the region and connect through Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and the area is served by Raleigh Durham Airport (RDU). Additionally, the NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route runs through Apex to Wilmington.

The Downtown area of Apex has seen significant renovation in recent years to recapture the historical flair of the area. In 2006, Apex enacted The Small Town Character Overlay Zoning District, an ordinance to maintain the character of old Apex, Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods through grants and reduced fees for businesses relocating and for various restoration to the historical homes and buildings downtown. Currently, sixty buildings and homes, dating from 1870-1940, have been preserved. The area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Register Historic District. The area has commercial and residential buildings that date to the late 1800s that represent a wide variety of architectural styles.

The main street downtown is historical Salem Street, where a variety of family-oriented activities take place throughout the year. The first week in May hosts ‘PeakFest’, a giant craft festival that draws over 25,000 people. Downtown Apex also has an Olde Fashioned 4th of July in Historic Downtown Apex, and Christmas on Salem Street.

Downtown is also home to the Halle Cultural Arts Center, the Maynard-Pearson Home (headquarters of the Apex Historical Society), the Apex Train Depot and the New Hope Valley Railway. The Apex Union Depot Circa 1914 is the most significant landmark in Apex, a celebration of the town’s railroad culture. The Depot was built in 1906, burned down in 1914, and rebuilt as the current structure. The Depot is home to a library, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and a Visitors’ Center. The Depot also hosts concerts in the spring, summer and fall. The New Hope Valley Railway has been restored by the National Railway Historical Society. The Railway operates trains every hour on the hour from noon to 4:00 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month from May through November. The North Carolina Railroad Museum is also located at this site just south of Apex on Old US 1 in Bonsai.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Wake County Emergency Management (919) 856-6480 Progress Energy 1-800-419-6356 Wake County Public Safety (919) 856-6480 Utilities (919) 362-8676 All My Sons of Raleigh (serving Apex) (919) 875-1700