Fuquay-Varina, first known as “Piney Woods,” acquired her unusual names from the fates of history. Among the early land grant families were the Burts, Joneses and Rowlands, but it was a French veteran of the Revolutionary War named William Fuquay who moved his family to the exact site, purchasing 1000 acres of Jones Land in 1805.
While plowing a field, circa 1858, William’s son Stephen or grandson David Crockett uncovered a mineral spring. “Taking the waters” became an attraction for people with all types of physical ailments, leading to the annual celebrations at the spring on Easter Monday and the Fourth of July. Conveniently, the early timber rail provided a ready means of transportation while hotels, catering to long term visitors, surrounded the spring.
During the “War for Southern Independence,” a young soldier named Ballentine, born just south of the spring, received morale-boosting letters signed with the pen name “Varina.” He later looked up the Fayetteville lady, married her and brought her to live at his homeplace. Continuing to call her Varina, he named his post office and mercantile establishment across from the mineral spring for her. When two timber rail lines crossed nearby, “Varina Station” was born.
In the early 1900’s tobacco farmers, fleeing the Granville wilt devastating their crop, began migrating into Southern Wake County. Their “golden weed” fostered a large commercial tobacco market. Railroads flourished and traffic flowed along Main Street in Fuquay Springs and around the Broad Street station, now known simply as Varina.
The population was 17,937 at the 2010 census,up from 7,898 at the 2000 census. The town is a 30-minute drive south of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. Economically, the town initially grew due to tobacco trade and agriculture, but has seen recent population growth and real estate development due to its proximity to the Research Triangle Park. Fuquay Springs, incorporated in 1909, joined the neighboring community of Varina in 1964 as one municipality. Since that time, Fuquay-Varina has become one of the fastest growing small towns in North Carolina. The town with the hyphenated name and two historic districts has been able to successfully retain its small town charm while successfully adding modern amenities and rewarding business opportunities that have attracted residents from all over the United States.
In 2006, downtown Fuquay-Varina became a North Carolina Main Street Community.