Holly Springs, NC

Holly Springs, situated in Wake County, is a town made up of 15.1 square miles.

2018 Best Guide to Holly Springs, NC

April 12, 2018

The area was settled by European immigrants in the 1720s, and Holly Springs would officially be established in 1877.  

Once settled by the Tuscarora Indians, the area of Holly Springs contains fresh water springs and holly trees, for which the town gets its name.  

During the early 1800s a small general store, Masonic lodge, and church were erected along the crossroads of modern day Avent Ferry and Cass Holt Roads. A short time later, a cotton gin and sawmill built. Eventually, a new church was built at the Hillsborough-Smithfield and Raleigh-Cape Fear River/Fayetteville crossroads. This are became the center for today's Holly Springs NC. 

A gentleman named Archibald Leslie built a large home after establishing a tailoring business and store around 1820. The Leslie-Alford-Mims House still stands today.
In 1822, the Holly Springs Baptist Church was built. A Masonic Lodge in 1854. And a Wake Forest College preparatory school also in 1854. 

When the Civil War arrived, North Carolina became part of the Confederacy. Many of the men in Holly Springs fought and died under the leadership of Zeb Vance of the 26th Infantry Regiment. In fact, less than 100 of the original 880 found their way back to Holly Springs NC.

Later, the town fell to Union Forces who occupied it for two weeks before pulling out. During their stay, local owners managed to save several of the large homes from being burnt or otherwise destroyed by disbanded Union soldiers. Included are the Leslie House and the Needham Norris House.
With the war taking most of the fathers and brothers of the town, and the arrival of the Chatham Railroad in nearby Apex, many people moved from Holly Springs to other locations throughout eastern North Carolina. By the early 1870s, the town was all but deserted.

George Benton Alford arrived in 1875 and brought with him his mercantile business. After buying and remodeling the Leslie House, he continued growing businesses in Holly Springs NC. Alford built a sawmill, brick kiln, and cotton gin. It was through his efforts, and those of several dozen men, that the Durham and Southern Railroad line came to Holly Springs.

In hopes of improving the local economy, Alford also initiated the Holly Springs Land and Improvement Company, and a newspaper, the Cape Fear News and Advertising Company. And, finally in 1877 the Town of Holly Springs was incorporated... courtesy Alford's heavy petitioning. Until the 1980s, Holly Springs NC was a one square mile town.

After years of home-schooling and students being taught at the Masonic school, the first school was built on a 10-acre parcel in 1908.

During the early 20th century, Holly Springs NC was growing in a healthy fashion, led by Alford. But World War I and the Great Depression took its toll on the town. Men had gone to fight in Europe while many families moved to the cities in search of employment.

Nothing viably to the economy happened for a half century. In fact, it wasn't until the 1960s that a public water system and lighting was provided Holly Springs and its 600 citizens. Finally, in 1985 a waste water treatment plant was built.

Growth started returning to Holly Springs with the arrival of Warp Technologies (textiles), providing jobs to many of its citizens.

Today, Holly Springs is taking advantage of its central location to Research Triangle Park. In 1990 the population of the town was about 950. In less than 20 years it has grown to more than 25,000.

A new town hall was build in 2003 and the arrival of pharmaceutical giant Novartis in 2008 is an indication of the solidity of this small American town.

Holly Springs NC is located in Wake County, in the heart of North Carolina. There are about 25,000 people living in here at an elevation of about 440 feet, within an area of 15 square miles. The town of Fuquay-Varina rests along the south side of Holly Springs, while Apex is to the north.

A tornado touched down in the middle of the town in 2011, causing damage to the town; destroying homes and uprooting many trees.

The town was ranked number 22 on a list of the best small towns to live in by CNN.


The median resident age in Holly Springs is 50 years. The median estimated household income is about $99,000 making it about $51,000 more than the North Carolina average. The estimated per capita is about $37,000. The average price for a home in Holly Springs is about $263,000 (2015) which is $103,000 more than the North Carolina Average. Expect to pay about $1,200 a month for rent.

The racial makeup of Holly Springs is 76% White, 12% Black, 2% Two or more races, and 10% other. 96% of the population are high school graduates, with 56% holding a Bachelor's Degree or higher. 67% are married, 8% are divorced, 2% are separated, 3% are widowed, leaving 20% that have never been married.

Towns Nearby

Fuquay-Varina, NC
Apex, NC
Cary, NC
Angier, NC
Garner, NC
Morrisville, NC
Moncure, NC
Raleigh, NC

Wake County

Holly Springs belongs to Wake County in the central part of North Carolina, but a small part of Cary also extends over to Chatham County. The county was named after Margaret Wake. Wake County has a population of 1,025,000 and its largest city Raleigh, with a population of 538,000, is the county seat.

The area that now makes up modern day Wake County used to be part of the Tuscarora nation. In 1771, the Wake County was formed from parts of Johnston, Orange, and Cumberland counties. The first courthouse in the county was built in modern day Bloomsbury, but then was a village known as Wake Courthouse. The first elections were in held in 1771, and a militia was formed.

Wake County borders Granville, Franklin, Johnston, Nash, Harnett, Chatham, and Durham counties.

Wake County is made up of 857 square miles. 835 of which is land with the remaining 22 as water.


The population of Holly Springs, NC is about 520. The population had been steadily increasing since its founding, and has seen a very large increase since the 1990s.


The elevation of Holly Springs, NC is 443 feet above sea level.

Zip Code

The zip code for Holly Springs, NC is 27540.

Area Code

The area code for Holly Springs, NC is 919.

Politics and Religion

Historically speaking Holly Springs and Wake County have voted mostly Republican, with 51% going to George W. Bush during the 2004 Presidential Election. This represents the trend for the previous two or three elections, but the town has voted Democrat in recent years.

As of 2010, 54% of the population are religiously unafiliated (Nones). About 31% are Protestants with Catholics and Other making up around 15%.


The unemployment rate for Holly Springs is about 4% (2015), making it lower than the state average of around 5%. Management, sales and computer occupation make nearly 50% of the most common industries in the town.

Newspaper & Obituaries

The News & Observer, The Holly Springs Sun and The Carry News are the primary newspapers that cover the Wake County area.


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Womble Park
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Arbor Creek
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Town of Holly Springs NC
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