Apex was one of the first towns to develop around Raleigh. The town incorporated in 1873. Because it was the highest point on the Chatham Railroad between Richmond and Jacksonville, Florida, it took the name of Apex. The town prospered until 1911, when a fire destroyed most of the business district. Restoration brought most of the sixty commercial buildings and homes in the fire-damaged section back to life and they now attract many visitors with unique shops and restaurants. Not only history but also natural surroundings are emphasized, and the city boasts nine parks linked by greenways. The town has grown from 5,000 residents in 1990 to 30,000 today, with the numbers expected to double in the next decade.