A short while ago, one of my friends from California asked me what my town looked like. I smiled at this because I realized that we really do live in a town (versus a city). According to the 2017 census we have about 43,000 people living here.
While I appreciate the amenities cities offer their residents, I hope Wake Forest stays a “town” for a while longer. I like looking out my back door and seeing nothing but a hill. When I drive to the grocery store, I love driving next to a forest and seeing homes that are nestled in the trees. I feel safe walking around my neighborhood and I know that my kids are safe when they take out the dogs.
Building a Costco close by would be awesome though…
A little bit of history - Wake Forest was known as a college town back in the day. The Wake Forest Institute, as it was first called, was created to teach Baptist ministers and layment. In exchange for their education, the boys were required to work on the plantation on which the school was built. It grew to be a respected college, well known for its sports teams (I think football, perhaps basketball and baseball too). In the mid 1950s, the school, now called Wake Forest University, was purchased and moved to Winston-Salem, NC.
This was almost the end of the town. The change devastated the businesses that catered to the students and their families. The only business that survives from that era is Shorty’s. It has a loyal following and I happy to share that we are patrons. There is a spirit of local pride that extends to all of the local businesses here. The store, Cotton Club, offers spaces to local craftspeople to sell their handmade items and art. Maybe I’ll look into renting one for my photographs or my daughter’s artwork someday.
The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary purchased the campus and shared the grounds for a few years prior to Wake Forest University’s final move. The transition was softened and the town survived the change. Can I tell you how grateful I am for this??
Currently, the Seminary is thriving with 3,000 students. The grounds are beautiful, dotted with stately brick buildings in downtown Wake Forest.
Nearby is North Main Street (nicknamed “faculty row” for the town’s earlier residents and their occupation). I walked this street with my husband when we first visited back in June. It’s beautiful - it is lined with Victorian homes and mature trees. As a contrast to many downtowns, we had a lovely time walking on the sidewalks, peaceful almost. I hope the town’s developers keep it and the surrounding area that way.
There is so much more to Wake Forest than what I’ve posted today. The colder it gets the less inclined I am to go out and take pictures. Besides, I’m feeling under the weather. I think I’m going to make myself some hot tea and cuddle up for another viewing of Lord of the Rings.