Knightdale is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,401. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the town’s population to be 13,291 as of July 1, 2013. Knightdale’s population increased 10.4% from 2010-2012, defining it as the second fastest-growing community in the Research Triangle region for that period of time.
With all the population increase experienced in the North Carolina Research Triangle area in the past two decades, Knightdale has turned into a part of the metro region and a suburb of Raleigh, neighboring that city at the Neuse River. The population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary Combined Statistical Area (CSA) was 1,749,525 as of the 2010 census. At least one media outlet forecasts the three-county Research Triangle region may be the fastest-growing metro region in the nation between 2005 and 2025.
In its beginning, after the railroad and depot were built, the area began to build up rapidly. Norfolk and Southern moved families into the community to take care of the railroad, and many of the older homes which exist today in Knightdale were built especially for the use of railroad workers and their families. The first railroad stationmaster’s house can still be seen along the tracks on Railroad Street.
As the community carried on growing, Knightdale acquired its articles of official incorporation from the North Carolina Legislature on March 9, 1927, with the first mayor being Bennett L. Wall.
On February 7, 1940, a fire broke out in the center of town. The townspeople turned out to help extinguish the fire, but the fire was not brought under control until firefighters arrived from Raleigh with an satisfactory water supply. Several businesses and homes were ruined but the townspeople rebuilt the historic downtown area.
After World War II, the population of Knightdale grew at a constant pace, due to the Baby Boom. The corner drugstore, the bank, and the barber shop located on First Avenue served as places of business, as well as places for social gatherings. Movies were often shown on the wall of the old bank building, which is located at the intersection of First Avenue and Main Street. In 1952 a municipal water system was installed.
Starting in the 1960s the majority of new businesses in Knightdale began locating along US 64. With the help of the Mingo Creek sewer outfall in the late 1980s, development on the south side of US 64 began. Subdivisions such as Parkside, Planter’s Walk and Mingo Creek subdivisions were built, rapidly raising the town’s population. Between 1990 and 2000 Knightdale’s population expanded from 1,700 to more than 6,000 residents, defining it as the seventh fastest-growing town in North Carolina.
Knightdale has a Council-manager government. Under this system the citizens elect a mayor and five council members as the town’s governing body. The council then appoints the Town Manager who serves at the discretion of the council. Council members are elected to four-year terms. Three of the members are elected in one year, and the two remaining members and the mayor are elected two years later. The mayor, as the principal elected official of the town, provides leadership to the governing body and the community, and presides over board meetings.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.2 square miles, all of it land.
Knightdale is situated in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the North American Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This region is referred to as the “fall line” because it represents the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. Its central Piedmont location and access to large highways places Knightdale a little over two hours northwest of Wrightsville Beach, NC by car and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Knightdale is served by two parks and two community centers. The Eugene F. Harper Memorial Park is located downtown next to the Harper Park Community Center. The Knightdale Recreation Center is attached to Forestville Elementary gym. The Knightdale Environmental Park is a trail system that is located in the southern portion of Knightdale.
A new community park named “Knightdale Station” has been opened in late summer, 2013. The park development was finished in two phases: Phase 1 included: a dog park, the “destination” playground, four playing fields (one lighted), paved trails, a picnic shelter, road improvements, parking and restroom facilities. Phase 2 will add covered shelters, tennis courts, an outdoor amphitheater The second phase should be completed in 2014.
The Mingo Creek Greenway was completed in July, 2014. The 3.5 mile, 10-foot wide trail connects Mingo Creek Park in the east to the 33-mile City of Raleigh’s Neuse River Trail in the west. The two trails connect over a newly opened pedestrian bridge that spans the Neuse River.
Take a day and escape Raleigh or your hometown to enjoy and explore Knightdale, a true treasure that needs to be explored and enjoyed.