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Wake Forest, North Carolina

Coordinates: 35°57′24″N 78°31′29″W / 35.95667°N 78.52472°W / 35.95667; -78.52472
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Wake Forest, North Carolina
White Street
White Street
Official seal of Wake Forest, North Carolina
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Coordinates: 35°57′24″N 78°31′29″W / 35.95667°N 78.52472°W / 35.95667; -78.52472
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesWake, Franklin
Named forThe large wooded areas of North Wake County[1]
 • MayorVivian A. Jones (R)
 • Total19.67 sq mi (50.95 km2)
 • Land19.52 sq mi (50.55 km2)
 • Water0.15 sq mi (0.40 km2)
Elevation295 ft (90 m)
 • Total54,741
 • Density2,438.83/sq mi (941.62/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EST)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s)919, 984
FIPS code37-70540[4]
GNIS feature ID2406816[3]

Wake Forest is a town in Franklin and Wake counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina; located almost entirely in Wake County, it lies just north of the state capital, Raleigh. At the 2020 census, the population was 47,601, up from 30,117 in 2010.[5] It is part of the Raleigh metropolitan area. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.


In 1832,[6] Dr. Calvin Jones, originally from New England, bought 615 acres (2.49 km2) of forested land in Wake County, North Carolina. He built his plantation here. 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 that 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 in 1956.[7] 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.

In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006.[8][9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.2 square miles (39.4 km2), of which 15.1 square miles (39.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.80%) is water.[10]

Wake Forest is located in the northeast-central region of North Carolina, where the North American Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the "Fall Line" because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. Its central Piedmont location situates Wake Forest approximately three hours by car west of Atlantic Beach, and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains.


Wake Forest enjoys a moderate subtropical climate, with moderate temperatures in the spring, fall, and winter. Summers are typically hot with high humidity. Winter highs generally range in the low 50s °F (10 to 13 °C) with lows in the low-to-mid 30s °F (-2 to 2 °C), although an occasional 60 °F (15 °C) or warmer winter day is not uncommon. Spring and fall days usually reach the low-to-mid 70s °F (low 20s °C), with lows at night in the lower 50s °F (10 to 14 °C). Summer daytime highs often reach the upper 80s to low 90s °F (29 to 35 °C). The rainiest months are July and August.


Historical population
2022 (est.)51,113[11]7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate[12]

2020 census[edit]

Wake Forest racial composition[13]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 32,087 67.41%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 7,480 15.71%
Native American 88 0.18%
Asian 1,751 3.68%
Pacific Islander 24 0.05%
Other/Mixed 2,402 5.05%
Hispanic or Latino 3,769 7.92%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 47,601 people, 14,732 households, and 11,104 families residing in the town.

Arts and culture[edit]

Performing arts[edit]

Wake Forest hosts the annual Wake Forest Dance Festival every fall at E. Carroll Joyner Park.

Historical locations[edit]

The DuBois Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[14] The W. E. B. DuBois School opened in 1926 for the African-American community in Wake Forest before racial segregation ceased in 1971. After the school outgrew the facility and moved to a new location, the building was vacant for a decade until the DuBois Alumni Association purchased the building and made it into a community center.[15]

Other listings in or near Wake Forest on the National Register of Historic Places are the Bailey-Estes House, Downtown Wake Forest Historic District, Glen Royall Mill Village Historic District, Lea Laboratory, Oakforest, Powell House, Purefoy-Chappell House and Outbuildings, Purefoy-Dunn Plantation, Rock Cliff Farm, Royall Cotton Mill Commissary, South Brick House, Thompson House, Wake Forest Historic District, Wakefield Dairy Complex, and Wakefields.[16][17][18]

Wake Forest Historical Museum, also known as the Dr. Calvin Jones House, was built in 1820 and was the residence of the first president of Wake Forest College and the center of activities that took place at the school. The museum displays the history of the town of Wake Forest as well as Wake Forest University. The house contains collections of photos, books, college publications, furniture, documents, professors’ writings, and medical, law and sports memorabilia.[19]


The Wake County Public Library System operates a branch in Wake Forest.[20]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Wake Forest is home to the Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Falls Lake Park contains the 12,000-acre (49 km2) Falls Lake and 26,000 acres (110 km2) of woodlands.[21]

Wake Forest is served by ten parks and community centers. They include the following:[22]

  • Plummer Park
  • Joyner Park
  • Tyler Run Park
  • Holding Park and Wake Forest Community House
  • J.B. Flaherty Park
  • Taylor Street Park and Alston Massenburg Center
  • Ailey Young Park
  • H.L. Miller Park
  • Kiwanis Park
  • Smith Creek Soccer Center


Wake Forest operates under the council–manager form of government. The citizens elect a mayor and board of commissioners as the town's governing body. The town manager is appointed by the board to serve as the chief operating officer administering all municipal affairs.[23][24] The current mayor is Vivian A. Jones (R, term expires 2025) and the board of commissioners are James E. "Jim" Dyer (R, 2023), Nick Sliwinski (R, 2025), Chad D. Sary (R, 2023), R. Keith Shackleford (D, 2025), and Adam B. Wright (D, 2023).[25]

A new town hall facility opened in downtown Wake Forest in September 2010,[26] and was LEED Platinum certified in November 2011.[27] All town departments are housed in the facility, except police (which has its own building nearby) and public works.


Primary and secondary education[edit]

The town is served by twelve public schools which are administered by the Wake County Public School System and Granville County Public School System. Public schools include:

Charter schools include Franklin Academy (K-12),Wake Forest Charter Academy (K-8), Endeavor Charter School (K-8), and Envision Science Academy (K-8). Private schools include Thales Academy,[28] All Saints Academy,[29] and St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, serving grades K-8.[30] Wake Forest is also home to two Montessori schools, Wake Forest Montessori[31] and Children's House of Wake Forest.[32]

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Higher learning[edit]

Wake Technical Community College[33] is an area two-year college with a north campus on Louisburg Road in Raleigh. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is a seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. It began offering classes in 1950 on the original campus of Wake Forest University and is commonly known by its acronym, SEBTS.



  • Air: Wake Forest is served by Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is located 20 miles (32 km) southwest of the town in northwestern Wake County.
  • Interstate Highway: Wake Forest can be accessed by I-85 and I-40. The town is located to the east of I-85 and north of I-40.
  • Wake Forest is not currently served directly by passenger trains. Amtrak serves nearby Raleigh. NCDOT expects to extend the Piedmont service from Raleigh to a new Wake Forest train station by 2030 as part of an initiative to build high-speed rail between Raleigh and Richmond, Virginia.[34]
  • Local bus: The Triangle Transit Authority operates buses that serve the region and connect to municipal bus systems in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.



On air[edit]

  • WCPE-FM, located in Wake Forest, is a classical music station that provides its programming over the air, via the Internet, and via C-band and Ku-band satellite.


  • The town's independently owned community newspaper, The Wake Weekly, has an average circulation of more than 8,400 copies per week.[35]


  • Wake Forest News is a humor publication with the motto, "Half our news is fit to print".[36]
  • Wake Forest Today is the town's first digital daily news portal. It is an online news source that covers local news and events regarding Wake Forest and the surrounding area.[37]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "North Carolina Gazetteer". Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  2. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Wake Forest, North Carolina
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Wake Forest town, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  6. ^ "History - Town of Wake Forest, NC". www.wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "History - Wake Forest, NC". wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  8. ^ WRAL (August 7, 2007). "3 Area Towns Among Fastest-Growing Suburbs :: WRAL.com". wral.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "America's Fastest-Growing Suburbs - Forbes.com". Forbes. February 20, 2008. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Wake Forest town, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in North Carolina: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". Census.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  12. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  14. ^ "Area Attractions - Wake Forest, NC". wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "DuBois". wcpss.net. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  17. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 12/27/10 through 12/30/10. National Park Service. January 7, 2011.
  18. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 5/26/14 through 5/30/14. National Park Service. June 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "ギャンブルよりも、やっぱり風俗なんだよなぁ". www.wakeforestbirthplace.org. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  20. ^ "WakeGOV: Page Not Found". www.wakegov.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  21. ^ "Falls Lake State Recreation Area - NC State Parks". ncparks.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Parks & Facilities - Wake Forest, NC". wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  23. ^ "Mayor - Wake Forest, NC". www.wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  24. ^ "Board of Commissioners - Wake Forest, NC". www.wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "Board Members - Town of Wake Forest, NC". www.wakeforestnc.gov. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  26. ^ "Town Hall - Town of Wake Forest". Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  27. ^ "LEED Platinum Certification - Town of Wake Forest". Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  28. ^ "Home". thalesacademy.org.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "schools in Wake Forest - YELLOWPAGES.COM". yellowpages.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  31. ^ "- YELLOWPAGES.COM". Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  32. ^ http://www.mchofwf.com Montessori
  33. ^ Wake Technical Community College/
  34. ^ Stradling, Richard (December 15, 2023). "NC: NCDOT got $1.1 billion to build a railroad in Wake County. What does that buy?". Charlotte Observer – via Mass Transit magazine.
  35. ^ "The Wake Weekly". www.wakeweekly.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  36. ^ "Wake Forest News - Entertaining Wake Forest with news since 2013". Wake Forest News. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  37. ^ "Wake Forest Today - The Community's First Digital Daily News Source". Wake Forest News - From Wake Forest North Carolina and surrounding community. Retrieved October 8, 2014.

External links[edit]