is a town in Wake County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located just north of the state capital, Raleigh, it is the home of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The population was 12,588 at the 2000 census. In 2007, the estimated population was 22,324. In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.
Development of the town of Wake Forest began in 1820 when Dr. Calvin Jones, originally from New England, bought 615 acres (2.5 km²). The sparsely populated area became known as Wake Forest, or the Forest of Wake. Jones sold his farm for $2,000 to the North Carolina Baptist Convention, which opened the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute, later Wake Forest College, on the site. The Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, completed in 1840, gave a boost to the school and surrounding village with its nearby depot in Forestville. College leaders convinced the railroad to move the depot even closer to the college in 1874, leading to more economic development. This growth allowed the community to become incorporated by the state in 1880 as the "Town of Wake Forest College." In 1909, the word "College" was removed from the official name. 1956 saw the removal of the college itself, to the much larger city of Winston-Salem. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary began offering classes in 1950 on the original campus of Wake Forest University, and occupied the rest of the campus when the university completed its move.