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Alleghany County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Alleghany County
Alleghany County Courthouse
Alleghany County Courthouse
Map of North Carolina highlighting Alleghany County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1859
Named for Allegheny Mountains
Seat Sparta
Largest town Sparta
 • Total 237 sq mi (610 km2)
 • Land 235 sq mi (610 km2)
 • Water 1.5 sq mi (4 km2)  0.6%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 47/sq mi (18/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 5th

Alleghany County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,155. Its county seat is Sparta.


The county was formed in 1859 from the eastern part of Ashe County, North Carolina. It was named for the Allegheny Mountains. Numerous boundary adjustments have been made since it was established, but none have resulted in new counties.

Geography and climate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 235 square miles (610 km2), of which 235 square miles (610 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (0.6%) is water. It is the fifth-smallest county in North Carolina by total area with just over 235 square miles, ranking 95 out of 100 total counties in the state.

Alleghany County is located in northwestern North Carolina, and its northern border is with the State of Virginia. The county is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains region of western North Carolina. Most of the county is located atop a rolling plateau that ranges from 2,500 feet (760 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. The southern border of the county drops abruptly nearly 1,500 feet (460 m) to the Foothills region of North Carolina. The plateau is crossed by numerous hills and mountains. The highest point in the county is Peach Bottom Mountain - Catherine Knob at 4,175 feet (1,273 m) above sea level. The major rivers of Alleghany County are the New River, and the Little River; the latter flows through the town of Sparta, the county seat.

Due to its elevation, Alleghany County enjoys slightly cooler summers than the lowland areas to the east and south, with temperatures seldom rising over 90 °F (32 °C). In the winter, however, temperatures can frequently be colder than would be expected in a southern state. Daytime highs can fall into the teens or lower, and snowfall can be extremely heavy at times. According to, the average temperature is 52.85 °F (11.58 °C).

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 21
  • US 221
  • NC 18
  • NC 88
  • NC 93
  • NC 113

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,590
1870 3,691 2.8%
1880 5,486 48.6%
1890 6,523 18.9%
1900 7,759 18.9%
1910 7,745 −0.2%
1920 7,403 −4.4%
1930 7,186 −2.9%
1940 8,341 16.1%
1950 8,155 −2.2%
1960 7,734 −5.2%
1970 8,134 5.2%
1980 9,587 17.9%
1990 9,590 0.0%
2000 10,677 11.3%
2010 11,155 4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Alleghany County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 9,186 84.37%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 103 0.95%
Native American 35 0.32%
Asian 15 0.14%
Pacific Islander 6 0.06%
Other/Mixed 255 2.34%
Hispanic or Latino 1,288 11.83%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,888 people, 4,920 households, and 3,390 families residing in the county.


Map of Alleghany County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Alleghany County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels



  • Cherry Lane
  • Cranberry
  • Gap Civil
  • Glade Creek
  • Piney Creek
  • Prathers Creek
  • Whitehead

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Alleghany County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
only incorporated community Sparta Town 1,770

Notable people

  • Robert L. Doughton (1863–1954), United States Congressman from Alleghany County from 1911 to 1953. From 1933 to 1947 he was the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He used his influence as Chairman to create the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs along the county's eastern and southern borders. Doughton Park, the largest and most popular park on the Parkway, is named in his honor. He also played a major role in the passage of the Social Security Act.
  • Rufus A. Doughton (1857–1946), older brother of Robert Doughton. He served as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and was Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina from 1893 to 1897.
  • Del Reeves (1932–2007), country music entertainer on the United Artists record label. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1966 and his record "Girl on the Billboard" sold over a million copies.
  • Zach Galifianakis (born 1969), stand-up comedian and actor, lives on a farm near Sparta and splits his time between the farm and his work in New York City.
  • Bertie Dickens (1902-1994), old-time banjo player who lived most of her life in Ennice, North Carolina. She received the North Carolina Heritage Award in 1992.
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