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Wake Forest - A brief history

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The town began in 1832 when the North Carolina Baptist Convention, intent on establishing an educational institute to train future ministers, purchased Dr. Calvin Jones' 615-acre plantation north of the existing community of Forestville for $2,000.

In 1838, the manual institute form was abandoned and the school was rechartered as Wake Forest College to reflect its new emphasis. The Raleigh & Gaston Railroad on the east side of the growing campus was completed in 1840, making travel to the college easier.

With an increasing need for space and money, the College decided to divide the Calvin Jones farm into lots and sell them for $100 each, with those on the west side of the main street selling for $150. Eighty one-acre lots north of the campus and west of the railroad were put on the market in 1839. The central street became known as Faculty Avenue and today constitutes the greater portion of the locally designated Wake Forest Historic District.

When the Civil War was declared in 1862, the students and at least one faculty member left to enlist and the college closed. Wait Hall later became a hospital for wounded soldiers, as did some of the Faculty Avenue homes. The college, much depleted, reopened in 1865.

The college and the town thrived together through good times and bad until shortly after the end of World War II when it was announced the college would move to Winston-Salem. Happily, the Southern Baptist Convention decided to locate its new seminary in Wake Forest, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary shared the campus with the college until it moved in 1956.

Beginning in the 1990's and continuing today, Wake Forest has seen an explosive growth in its population.

Visit Wake Forest today!

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