Saturday, July 21, 2007

Apex Ice House

Long ago Town of Apex business were served by an "ice house", a local small business that packaged bags of ice and delivered bulk ice to grocery stores, downtown merchants, the one screen movie theater and other merchants around the area. The business was located in the south central part of town near the railroad tracks where the structure can still be seen today. It's one of the historic original businesses structures from the past that closed but was left in it's original place.

As the business lost customers due to decreased demand and widespread use of ice making machines at customer sites, it closed its doors like many small businesses of the past. The old structure shown here in a 2007 photo looks much as it did years ago.

In 2008 a local merchant remodeled the structure and now uses it for a business facility.Posted by Picasa

July 4th, 2007, Apex, NC

Each year the Parks and Recreation Department of the Town of Apex, NC, has a "just for kids" parade on July 4th. Vendors line the streets with inflated slides and rides for the children and others have tents offering food or wares for the occasion. The downtown area is packed with residents and visitors from all around just wanting to get out and celebrate the day. At high-noon all the kids that care to participate line up at the center of town on Salem Street to join a procession through the historic downtown with their costumes, wagons, bicycles and tricycles and all sorts of home built outfits to celebrate the day.
This year over 500 children participated in the big event!
A traditional last stop for all the kids is at the parking lot of the old restored train depot where one of the town fire trucks sets up to spray a fine cooling mist on all that want to run under it!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Apex NC - 14th best place to live in 2007

Apex, NC, is the 14th best place to live according to CNN Money, July 17, 2007. Holly Springs, NC, is 22nd best place.

It's long been a known that Apex has a lot to offer as a place to live in the central North Carolina area. Now it has been listed by CNN Money as one of the best places to live.

The central part of town has been preserved over the years to try to keep the "small town character" that has always been part of the town culture. In recent years the population has grown from about 2,500 in the early 1960s to some 33,000 or more now. In addition to the quaint downtown shopping area, where most of the old structures have been converted into newer shops, new shopping, restaurants and entertainment sites have been added at the town's original perimeter to provide the best of both the old town and the modern world.

More about the small town may be found at these websites...

Apex Historical Society
Town of Apex
Apex Chamber of Commerce
Peak of Good Living Blog
Traces in Time blog
Wake County, NC Review - Apex, NC Review - Holly Springs, NC Top 100 Best Places to Live - 2007

CNN Money review...
CNN Money
July 17, 2007

Best places to live: Top 100

14. Apex, N.C.
Population: 26,300
Median home price (2006): $226,942
Average property taxes (2006): $1,940

Apex is full of scenery, but the most striking area is the quaint Downtown Historic District. The turn-of-the-century train depot, built between 1867 and 1873, is still impressively intact, with an array of commercial and residential buildings now serving visitors and residents alike. Locals enjoy the small-town feel of the growing community. But some residents have to adapt to growth in less popular ways, like longer commute times to Raleigh or the Research Triangle, and recently implemented year-round school schedules. -A.B.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Solitude of days gone by

Gone are the days of quiet solitude in older neighborhoods in Apex, NC. In times past, living in one of the older houses in this former small country town would allow residents to sit on the porch or in the yard and have a little peace and quiet.

I remember well just how quiet it was sitting with my Dad on the front steps at home late in the afternoons after he returned home from work at the local Ford car dealership. The quiet, peaceful time sitting there was only interrupted by an occasional car on the way out of town.

Occasionally we would venture out into the street and make the two block walk to downtown, past the railroad tracks two blocks away, to the small, quaint neighborhood gas station to have a 10 cent coca-cola and sit around the pot-bellied stove to hear the latest gossip. An occasional car stopped out front to purchase gas at the astounding price of 15 cents a gallon. After filling up, customers would walk inside the one room brick structure to pay for fuel and look through the glass display cases for cigarettes or snacks to purchase. Afterwards we would make the short walk back home to sit for a little longer on the front steps until it was completely dark.

Fast paced growth has taken away the serenity of these old neighborhoods and being outside near the more heavily traveled town streets is always accompanied by the sound of approaching trucks, motorbikes and fast moving loud cars producing a constant roar of engine noise and the scent of air pollution that comes with greatly increased traffic.

The character of the central neighborhoods has changed completely now and most of the older residents have passed away or moved on after selling their homes to current residents. In many cases, buyers simply wanted to turn old family homes into rental houses that brought even more turnover and change. The families that lived across the intersection adjacent to my home in all three directions are gone and two of the homes are now rental properties. The turnover of residents in rental homes has produced the added effect of shuffling the neighborhood mix and character every couple of years or so.

With the passing of time, town planners and council members have approved changes, often driven by a desire to simply grow the tax base, allowing multi-family apartment buildings to be built in the middle of single family residential blocks, again changing the character of neighborhoods forever. Roads have also been changed to accommodate significant increases of commuter traffic along former small town streets.

Consider, for example, the neighborhoods around the intersection of Mason and Center streets. Long ago, Center Street was the end of state road 1010 and it served as the main path in and out of town from the east. Years ago only a small number of cars traveled the road into town bringing students, teachers and business employees into town along with customers for local businesses and shops. Center Street is now considered to be a "thoroughfare" to and from town, carrying thousands of cars a day, most from large new residential neighborhoods outside of town traveling to distant corporate jobs in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham and the Research Triangle Park. Traffic into town to local stores continues but is far overshadowed by the huge volume of non-resident traffic each day.

The town planners, recently moving into a new town office building along Mason Street, recently chose to widen Mason Street to three lanes to accommodate the heavy volume of pass-through traffic rather than focus on adding new streets better designed to handle traffic through less populated areas and preserve the so-called "historical district" with so many older homes and driveways on the crowded streets. Much talk has been made of preserving the "historic district" but this gives way to approval of new development that might add to the town tax base.

Open land in this former small, rural town has been developed rapidly in recent years and the old practice of dividing land into one half to one acre lots has given way to builder "greed" and a desire to place as many homes in a given space as possible in order to generate profits and increase the tax base. The only homes with larger lots now belong to a few original residents or to those that purchased them and chose to keep the property intact. Builders choose a different path if they purchase older properties. they will frequently divide an acre lot into three or four smaller lots in order to maximize income with no thought given to bringing an end to another of the "small town" benefits from the past.
/** script for Google Analytics