Durham - Long before the Bull City was named for Dr. Bartlett Durham in the 1800s, the community was making history. Before Europeans arrived, two Native American tribes - the Eno and the Occaneechi, related to the Sioux - lived and farmed here. Durham is thought to be the site of an ancient Native American village named Adshusheer. The Great Indian Trading Path is traced through Durham, and Native Americans helped to mold Durham by establishing settlement sites, transportation routes, and environmentally friendly patterns of natural resource use. In the 19th century Washington Duke and his family spawned one of the world's largest tobacco corporations (which included American Tobacco, Liggett & Meyers, R.J. Reynolds, and P. Lorillard). Tobacco soon inspired other Durham developments. The first mill to produce denim and the world's largest hosiery maker were established in Durham during this time. In the 1950s-60s, what is now the world's largest university-related research park (Research Triangle Park) was carved from the local Durham pine forests. Once known for cigarette production, it is now a center of liberal thought. Called the "City of Medicine", it is the home of Duke University and Duke Hospital. The first NC Pride march for civil rights took place in Durham in 1981. Durham remains one of the fifty best places to live for LGBT people in the US and has the most community organizations of the cities in the triangle. The area of Ninth Street is one of the largest LGBT friendly city districts in the state. It also boasts one of the largest concentrations of lesbians in the South.
Raleigh is of course our Capital City (named for Sir Walter Raleigh) and is known as the City of Oaks. As the seat of state government and home of the governor, the city features many visitor sites such as the NC Museum of Art, The Capital Building, NC State Legislature, the Exploris Museum, and the Museum of Life and Science. Raleigh is the second most populous city in NC and one of the fastest growing in the US. While more conservative than Chapel Hill or Durham, it boasts a very large LGBT community, with three nightclubs and many organizations.
Chapel Hill has been described as "southern part of heaven" and this very charming university town lives up to that title. Long a bright spot of research and intellectual thought in the South, the city was one of the first in the US to elect an openly gay city councilman and as of November 2009 has elected a gay mayor.. It elected a black mayor in the early days of the civil rights struggle. And in the 60s, it was home to one of the first openly gay bars - the Pegasus. The town and its citizens have always been a place of safety and civility with the University of North Carolina and the University Hospital at its core. Together these cities known at the Triangle form one of the largest LGBT communities in NC.
Carrboro adjoining Chapel Hill has been known as the "Paris of the Piedmont" for its wonderful street scene and intellectual forward thinking of its citizens. One of the first cities in NC to elect a gay mayor, it remains one of the most well managed growth towns with a commitment to cultural diversity, resident input, activities for everyone, and walkability for visitors.