Oak Ridge, North Carolina

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Oak Ridge is a town in northwestern Guilford County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 3,988 at the 2000 census. As of July 1, 2008, the US Census Bureau indicated that the population had risen to 4,587 [1]. The Oak Ridge Military Academy, a private, coed, college-preparatory military boarding school, was established here in 1852. It is the third-oldest military school in the nation still in operation, and it is the official military school of North Carolina, as designated by the state legislature. Until the late 1990s the Oak Ridge area was mostly rural farmland, with numerous tobacco and strawberry farms. However, since its incorporation as a town in 1998, Oak Ridge has undergone rapid suburbanization and population growth. Many of the area's farms have been sold to developers and turned into upper-class housing developments, and several shopping centers have been built around the military academy. Today Oak Ridge is considered to be a wealthy suburb of nearby Greensboro, North Carolina's third-largest city. One rural pastime which is still popular in Oak Ridge is the raising and breeding of horses; each Easter weekend the town hosts a popular horse show.



For centuries before European settlers arrived, the natural beauty of the Oak Ridge area was a backdrop for human habitation. Tradition holds—and archeological evidence bears it out—that the crest of the ridge, which runs from the southwest some fifty miles to present-day Reidsville in the northeast, was well used by Native Americans. It was along this route in 1781 that General Cornwallis' men passed by Oak Ridge farms on maneuvers that led them to Guilford Courthouse to fight the last battle of the American Revolutionary War before Yorktown and surrender.

In the second half of the 18th century, western Guilford County was settled largely by Quakers migrating from Pennsylvania and Nantucket Island and by pioneers out of Virginia. They were described as being "orderly, law-abiding, religious" and, by evidence of their prosperous farms and commodious homes, hard-working."[by whom?]

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