Apex, North Carolina

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The historic downtown district of Apex
The historic downtown district of Apex
Official seal of Apex
Peak City
"The Peak of Good Living"
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Apex is located in North Carolina
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Apex is located in the United States
Apex (the United States)
Apex is located in North America
Apex (North America)
Coordinates: 35°43′55″N 78°51′10″W / 35.73194°N 78.85278°W / 35.73194; -78.85278Coordinates: 35°43′55″N 78°51′10″W / 35.73194°N 78.85278°W / 35.73194; -78.85278
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorLance Olive
 • Mayor Pro TemNicole Dozier
 • Town ManagerDrew Havens
 • Town AttorneyLaurie Hohe
 • Town19.16 sq mi (49.62 km2)
 • Land19.09 sq mi (49.05 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.17 km2)
499 ft (152 m)
 • Town37,476
 • Estimate 
(June 27, 2019)[1]
 • Density2,000/sq mi (760/km2)
 • Metro
Demonym(s)Apexian or Apexer
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
27502, 27523, 27539
Area code(s)919, 984
FIPS code37-01520[2]
GNIS feature ID1018834[3]

Apex (/ˈ.pɛks/) is a small city in Wake County, North Carolina, around 12 miles southwest of Raleigh. It is 19 square miles of land bordering Cary and is 11 miles south of Research Triangle Park. Eight miles to the west is Jordan Lake. Apex encompasses the community of Friendship at its southern border. In 1994, the downtown area was designated a Historic District. Several buildings date to the late 1800s. It is an example of an intact turn-of-the-century railroad town. The Apex train depot, built in 1867, is designated a Wake County landmark. The depot location marks the highest point on the old Chatham Railroad, hence the town's name. The town motto is "The Peak of Good Living".

In the precolonial era, the town's area was inhabited by the Tuscarora tribe of Native Americans. In the late 19th century a small community developed around the railroad station. The forests were cleared for farmland, much of which was dedicated to tobacco farming. Since Apex was near the state capital, it became a trading center. The railroad shipped products such as lumber, tar, and tobacco. The town was officially incorporated in 1873. By 1900 the town had a population of 349. The 2018 Census estimate places the population at 53,852.

The population boom occurred primarily in the late 1990s. The Research Triangle Park, established in the 1960s, created strong demand for technology workers. Apex began appearing on Best Place to Live lists starting in 2007 and steadily climbed the charts until reaching the #1 spot in 2015. This also drove population growth.[4]


The town is a suburb of both Raleigh and RTP. It is situated to the southwest of Raleigh with direct highway access via US 1. Apex is south of RTP with direct highway access via NC 540. Apex crests the watersheds of both the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.[4] Neighboring towns include Cary to the north and northeast, Holly Springs to the south, and Raleigh to the east and northeast.


Apex Union Depot, built in 1914.

The town of Apex was incorporated in 1873. According to the North Carolina History Project, the town was named for its location as the highest point on a portion of the Chatham Railroad which ultimately extends between Richmond, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida.[5] According to a 1905 USGS publication on place names, the name refers to the highest point between Raleigh and the Deep River.[6]

Apex grew slowly through the succeeding decades, despite several devastating fires, including a June 12, 1911 conflagration which destroyed most of the downtown business district.[7] The town center was rebuilt and stands to this day, now one of the most intact railroad towns in the state. At the heart of town stands the Apex Union Depot, originally a passenger station for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and later home to the locally supported Apex Community Library. The depot now houses the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

Apex suffered mild setbacks during the Depression-era, but growth began again in earnest in the 1950s. The town's proximity to North Carolina's Research Triangle Park spurred additional residential development, yet the town managed to preserve its small-town character. During the 1990s, the town's population quadrupled to over 20,000, placing new demands upon Apex's infrastructure.

Apex has continued to grow in recent years. A sizable shopping center was built at the intersection of Highway 55 and US 64, and several new neighborhoods have been built as the town grows toward the west.[8]

In October 2006, a chemical explosion and fire in a waste processing facility prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history.[9] There were few serious injuries, and residents were soon able to return home.[10][11] In 2009, a federal court approved a $7.85M settlement to compensate Apex residents affected by the disaster. Each household received $750. Businesses received $2,200.[12]

In August 2015, Time ranked Apex #1 on its list of the nation's top places to live.[13] In July 2018, Realtor.com ranked Apex the #1 Fastest Growing Suburb in America.[14]

In addition to the Apex Union Depot, the Apex City Hall, Apex Historic District, Calvin Wray Lawrence House, and Utley-Council House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[15]


Apex's Council-Manager form of government has a mayor and five council members (one of whom serves as Mayor pro tem) who are each elected at-large in staggered four-year terms. The town's attorney and manager serve at the pleasure of the council. All other staff report to the town manager and manage the town's day-to-day business.

The town is led by Mayor Lance Olive, elected in 2015. Nicole Dozier was selected by her peers to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore. The council members, in order of tenure are: Bill Jensen (1999), Nicole Dozier (2013), Wesley Moyer (2015), Brett Gantt (2017), and Audra Killingsworth (2017).[16]

In the North Carolina House of Representatives, Apex is represented by Julie von Haefen (District 36), Sydney Batch (District 37), and Gale Adcock (District 41). In the North Carolina Senate, Apex is represented by Sam Searcy (District 17). In the United States House of Representatives Apex is represented by George Holding (NC-02) and David Price (NC-04).


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201853,852[17]43.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
  White (78%)
  Black (8%)
  Asian (7%)
  Other Race (3%)
  2 or More Races (3%)
  Other (1%)

As of the census of 2010, there were 37,476 people, 13,225 households, and 9,959 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,437.9 people per square mile. There were 13,922 housing units at an average density of 905.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 80% White, 8% African American, 7% Asian, 3% from other races, and 3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7% of the population.[18]

There were 13,225 total households in Apex in 2010. Of these, 9,959 (75%) were family households out of which 65% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 84% of the family households were married couples living together and 13% had a female householder with no husband present. There were 3,266 Nonfamily households in Apex comprising 25% of total households. 2,650 households were made up of individuals (20% of total households) and 4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.31.

The town population was spread out with 33% under the age of 18, 5% from 18 to 24, 34% from 25 to 44, 22% from 45 to 64, and 6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 95 males.

The median income (in 2013 dollars) for a household in the town was $89,475, and the median income for a family was $106,283. Males had a median income of $65,179 versus $48,022 for females. (2013 estimate[19]). The per capita income for the town was $34,979. About 2% of families and 3% of the population were below the poverty threshold (2013 estimate[20]).


Top employers[edit]

According to the 2017 Comprehensive Financial Report for Apex, these were the town's top employers:[21]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Wake County Public Schools 1696
2 Dell EMC 500
3 Apex Tool Group 425
4 Town of Apex 409
5 ATI Industrial Automation 250
6 Target 220
7 Costco 239
8 Walmart 150
9 Lowes Home Improvement 150
10 Tipper Tie 122


Apex's public schools are operated by the Wake County Public School System.

There are over 4,000 students enrolled in two public high schools in Apex:[22]

Public middle schools include:

Public elementary schools include:

Private schools:




  • US 1, US 64, and NC 55 are the major roads through Apex.
  • The Triangle Expressway southwestern section ( NC 540) is a toll road connecting to I-540. This is a partially completed loop road around the greater Raleigh area.
  • The Apex Peakway is a loop road orbiting downtown Apex. The Peakway was conceived as a means to relieve traffic in the downtown area and provide a bypass for commuters traveling from one side of the town to the other. It is currently the only "peakway" in North Carolina, taking its name from Apex's town motto: "The Peak of Good Living." When finished, the Apex Peakway will be 6 miles (9.7 km) long; so far 5 miles (8.0 km) have been constructed.[23]




Apex Utilities provides water/sewer, electricity, garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup. Natural Gas is provided by PSNC.

Health care[edit]

Emergency, primary, and specialist care is provided at the WakeMed Apex Healthplex.


Fire protection is provided by the Apex Fire Department.


Police service is provided by the Apex Police Department.

Parks and Recreation[edit]

The Apex Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources department manages many parks, greenways, and sport programs, and even a skate park near downtown.[25]

Major parks include:

There are both youth and adult sport programs:[26]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Arts and Culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Notable court cases[edit]

  • Hilliard v. Apex Cabinet Co.: Supreme Court of North Carolina found in favor of the Plaintiff, an injured worker, remanding a workers' compensation claim to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, indicating that "the determination of whether a disability exists is a conclusion of law and that said conclusion must be based upon findings of fact supported by competent evidence." Hilliard v. Apex Cabinet Co., 290 S.E.2d 682 (1982).[30]


  1. ^ "Apex Development Report". "Town of Apex Government". 2018-06-30.
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Our History | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  5. ^ Bynum, Sheryl. "Town of Apex". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ Gannett (1905). Origin of Certain Place Names (PDF). Washington DC. p. 26.
  7. ^ "History of the Apex Volunteer Fire Department". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  8. ^ "Beaver Creek Crossings to Bring More Than 650,000 Square Feet of New Retail Space to Apex, N.C.". The Creative Investor. 2005-04-21.
  9. ^ "Thousands Evacuated in Apex Chemical Fire". InjuryBoard. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  10. ^ "Chemical fire evacuation over". NBC News. NBC News. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  11. ^ Reeves, Jeff (2016-10-05). "Apex chemical explosion 10 years later: How it changed haz-mat site regulations". WNCN. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  12. ^ WRAL. "Apex chemical explosion settlement approved :: WRAL.com". WRAL.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  13. ^ "Best Places to Live 2015: Apex, North Carolina". Time. 2015-08-16.
  14. ^ "America's 10 Fastest-Growing Suburbs". Realtor.com. 2018-07-16.
  15. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  16. ^ "Town Council". Town of Apex. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018". Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "North Carolina: 2010 - Summary Population and Housing Characteristics" (PDF). United States Census 2010. U.S. Census Bureau. September 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  19. ^ "Median Income in the Past 122 Months (in 2013 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) - 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  20. ^ "Apex town, North Carolina". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  21. ^ "Town of Apex North Carolina Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2017". Town of Apex. Town of Apex. June 30, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  22. ^ "District Facts / Overview". www.wcpss.net. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  23. ^ "Apex Peakway Completion Plan". Town of Apex. January 2012. p. 32. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  24. ^ "27th ANNUAL NCBC BREVET SERIES - 2010 Brevet Series". Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  25. ^ "Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  26. ^ "Youth Athletics | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  27. ^ "PeakFest | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  28. ^ "Halle Cultural Arts Center | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  29. ^ "History of the Halle | Apex, NC - Official Website". www.apexnc.org. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  30. ^ "Apex, NC Workers' Compensation Attorney | Workers' Compensation Lawyers". carolinacompensation.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31.

External links[edit]