Cary's roots can be found in a 1750s settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. However, the man credited with founding Cary was Allison Francis "Frank" Page, who was its first developer, mayor, postmaster and railroad agent.
Page and his wife, Catherine "Kate" Raboteau Page bought 300 acres in 1854, and Page named his development after Samuel Fenton Cary, a prohibition leader from Ohio. Cary was incorporated in 1871, several years after the Seaboard and North Carolina railroads formed a junction in Cary.
Page, whose main business was a sawmill, laid out the first streets of Cary and built a hotel. Now known as the Page-Walker Hotel -- an arts and history center on Town Hall campus -- it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of Frank and Kate Page's sons is Cary's most famous son. Walter Hines Page (1855-1918) was an editor, publisher, social reformer and proponent of public education. He was ambassador to Great Britain during World War I. The British honored him with a tablet in Westminster Abbey.
With development of Research Triangle Park in the 1960s, Cary grew from a quiet town of a few thousand people to a booming bedroom community for the park. Growth escalated during the 1970s, with the population nearly tripling to 21,763. The population then doubled during the 1980s and again during the 1990s.
As Cary has grown, the Town, while working with the community, has transformed its first public school into the Cary Arts Center, restored its first movie theater (The Cary Theater), and preserved over a dozen historic properties, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Listening stations for Cary's oral histories can be found at The Cary Heritage Museum on the third floor of the Page-Walker Arts and History Center. Artifacts include medical instruments and the World War I uniform of Dr. James Templeton, who volunteered for the Army at age 62. The museum is your gateway to learn more about Cary's past, its present and its place in North Carolina and national history.