Apex = the highest point
"Early Apex history"
Looking back at her history, it is hard to think of Apex as a boom town. In 1854, a point which is now within the town limits of Apex was designated to be a location for a railroad station on the line between Richmond, VA and Jacksonville, FL. Thus began the boom. Right? In Western movies, a boom always starts when it is announced that the train is coming through town. Not Apex. It took 15 years before the first Jacksonville to Richmond train came through town, but wait. There was still no town; just a station and tracks. After that first train, it was another four years before the area was incorporated as "Apex, North Carolina." Why Apex? The name was selected because the site of the train station was the highest point on the railroad route between Richmond and Jacksonville and the highest point on any line is the apex. Creative naming, wasn't it?
Through the last quarter of the 19th Century and most of the 20th, Apex grew as a trading center for the agricultural and industrial production of the surrounding area. The first source of its commercial growth was the pine trees which once covered virtually all of the eastern portion of the Carolinas. Tar and pitch, turpentine, lumber, and other products came from those pine trees for use near and far. As the area slowly grew, other commodities were shipped into, out of, and through Apex. At some point in the 20th century, tobacco products surpassed naval stores (the generic term for the major products obtained from pine trees) in economic importance to the Apex area.
Throughout its history, a strong, cohesive business community has seemed to characterize Apex's development. In spite of being virtually destroyed by fire TWICE in the first half of the 20th Century, Apex today claims a vital and revitalized downtown business community featuring several older establishments and a growing number of new enterprises and many of the pine forests around Apex are giving way to housing development.
Perhaps this now booming town has not reached it's APEX even yet. Stay tuned.