HISTORIC DOWNTOWN APEX
Welcome to Apex, originating from a railroad station chartered in 1854; Apex is aptly named for being the highest point on a 30 mile stretch of the Chatham Railroad. Since it’s incorporation in 1873, Apex has grown into one of the top places to live in the United States. Money Magazine ranked it #14 in 2007, #9 in 2013, and #1 in 2015. Despite these claims to fame, Historic Downtown Apex has been able to retain much of its character since 1912, after two fires caused the town to turn to fireproof brick designs. The town is listed, by the National Register of Historic Places, as a quintessential example of a “turn-of-the-century railroad town” (Apex).
tl;dr My site is the historical downtown region of a town called Apex, with its origins in the railroad industry.
DOWNTOWN APEX WALK-THROUGH
Much of the charm of Historic Downtown stems from the site’s architecture. Many of the brick businesses were built around 1912, however, I suspect some of the wood houses to be older. My knowledge of architecture is limited, but I have tried to catalog some of the more unique buildings at the site. The history of these buildings helps sell Apex as a quaint town, despite the massive developments that are popping up in the surrounding area. There are two main occupants at the site, residents and businesses. I would argue that historic architecture, businesses, and residences are three separate forces.
tl;dr Historic downtown has some cool old buildings.
Many of the buildings along Salem Street, the road that runs through downtown Apex, are businesses. These businesses include coffee shops, clothing stores, and art studios. Not all businesses are in historic buildings, it is therefore necessary to be able to differentiate between which buildings are both a business and a historic site, and businesses that have no historical relevance in the context of Apex.
tl;dr There are many businesses in downtown, while the majority are inside of the historic buildings, there are exceptions.
While many of the buildings at the heart of historic downtown are businesses, there are residences adjacent to Salem Street. As you get closer to a cluster of historic buildings, you start to see less residences and more businesses housed in historic buildings. This dichotomy is easier to understand in the maps below. Many of the residences appear to be currently in use. There was only one house that was obviously abandoned, featured as the first picture of this post. Additionally, I only noticed a single modern house in the vicinity of my site. Unfortunately, my lack of architectural knowledge prevented me from further distinguishing between the different eras, style, and design.
tl;dr Businesses are clustered at the center of historic downtown, with residences on either side.
Government is quite prevalent in downtown Apex; the chamber of commerce, police station, and volunteer fire station all show signs of an organized community. There are additionally street signs, street lights, cross walks, utilities, a parks and recreation department indicating the presence of government. The preservation of the town and the historic buildings also further implies an outside influence protecting the site.
tl;dr Government buildings and signage are prevalent at the site.
One of the first forces I noticed, while walking around my site, was transportation; numerous parking lots, parked cars, moving cars, speed cameras, sidewalks, railroad cars, railroad buildings, and train tracks all indicating that transportation was important to this site. The railroad has its roots in the founding of the town as mentioned above, and its current use can still be encountered on a daily basis. The vehicle traffic is impacted by Salem, the road that runs through downtown, being used to cut across Apex. Thus, the traffic is often a mix of those looking to visit the historic site and locals trying to get to their next destination across town.
tl;dr Downtown Apex, like every town, is impacted by cars and parking; a railroad runs parallel to the site.
FINAL MAP & HISTORY OF REVISIONS
My major challenge with this project was in designing a perspective map that could show information in both a clear and aesthetically pleasing manner. I originally designed this with a detailed background base map. However, it became clear that this made it difficult to differentiate between the base map and my icons. Reducing the opacity of the base layer made the icons clearer, but eliminated the 3D appearance. Thus, I decided to make one final major edit. I also updated my mappings of residences and business, and made a few corrections.
I included my mapping of the sun, though this will soon be outdated, and I updated most of the graphics in the mapping to appear 3D. This update eliminated the need for the background map. It also allowed me to greatly reduce my use of icons, as the 3D buildings themselves now map their purpose. I’m still unsure on the aesthetics, but I am happier with the clarity of the map. I also made a fake logo, with a black and white vector version of my map in the center; it points to Apex, a play on both the word and the slogan “the peak of good living.”
tl;dr I made a final major update to my map, it features 3D buildings and a mapping of the sun.
REVISION FOUR – FINAL
REVISION THREE – OBSOLETE
REVISION TWO – OBSOLETE
REVISION ONE – OBSOLETE
Information on the history of the Apex was pulled from Apex’s website. Proportions and dimensions of maps pulled from google maps. Earlier revisions, excluding the final, used stitched images of google maps, satellite view/perspective to provide additional context and depth to the project.
Apex North Carolina, www.apexnc.org/225/Our-History. Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.
Apex, NC Google Maps, 20 November 2018. https://www.google.com/maps