They call the town Apex because at 500 feet above sea level, its train depot in the late 1800s was the highest elevation of any stop along the old Chatham Railroad line between Richmond, Va. and Jacksonville, Fla. But plenty of its more than 30,000 residents will tell you that the train depot is not the only high spot for Apex.
Located along N.C. 55 (which heads north to Research Triangle Park) between U.S. 64 and U.S. 1 (both of which head northeast to Cary and Raleigh), Apex is a growing bedroom community that supports more local businesses every year. It has managed to maintain its small town character in the face of development by creating bypasses around its vibrant downtown area, including one for the heavily-traveled N.C. 55.
Its efforts to preserve the past while preparing for the future have impressed outsiders. In 2007, Apex was named the 14th Best Place to Live among America’s small towns by Money Magazine. It was the highest-ranked community in North Carolina on the list.
Indeed, Apex provides an excellent mixture of the quaint and the modern. For example, it has convenient access to all points of the Triangle on major highways, yet quiet, longtime residential neighborhoods are bountiful. Businesses that favor tradition or innovation will find equal welcome here, as both are encouraged and cultivated. That approach has helped make Apex one of the fastest-growing towns in North Carolina throughout the last decade.
By the way, its 1800s railroad stop is preserved in downtown and is included on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the best examples of an intact, turn-of-the-century railroad town. Locals say it is just another reason why Apex lives up to its motto of “The Peak of Good Living.”