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Before the Civil War, Holly Springs was booming, but when the Chatham Railroad was constructed through nearby Apex, it seemed that prosperity had passed by Holly Springs, North Carolina. Turn-of-the-century entrepreneur George Benton Alford relocated his mercantile business to Holly Springs and did his best to attract other business investors to the area, bringing prosperity back to the town in the early 1900s. But following WWI and the Great Depression, Holly Springs was little more than a ghost town. Holly Springs began to make a comeback in the 1960s, when streetlights and a public water system were installed. The mid-1980s saw the arrival of textile manufacture, and with it, higher tax revenues that were invested in expanding the town's infrastructure, thus attracting further development. Today's Holly Springs is a far cry from its former self. Over the last two decades, the town's population has grown 25-fold, and there are now more than 31,000 people residing in this once-sleepy little burg. A revitalized downtown, centered around the Town Hall constructed in 2003, has become a focal point, as well as a local shopping destination. Residents of Holly Springs appreciate the abundance of family-oriented activities, the small-town charm and friendliness, the reasonable land prices, and the close proximity to the urban centers of the Research Triangle Park area. The media has taken note of Holly Springs' allure, as well. The town consistently makes appearances on national publications' lists of the best places in North Carolina to live, to retire, and to raise children.