Mitchell County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Mitchell County, North Carolina
Seal of Mitchell County, North Carolina
Map

Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1861
Seat Bakersville
Largest town Spruce Pine
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

222 sq mi (575 km²)
221 sq mi (572 km²)
0.7 sq mi (2 km²), 0.3%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

15,579
70/sq mi (27/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.mitchellcounty.org
Named for: Elisha Mitchell

Mitchell County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,579. Its county seat is Bakersville.

The county is home to the "Mineral City of the World", Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain which includes the world's largest natural rhododendron garden, and the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian range. Throughout the year such festivals as North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival and North Carolina Rhododendron Festival bring many people to the area. Mitchell County was one of the three dry counties in North Carolina, along with Graham and Yancey, but in March, 2009, after much controversy, the Town of Spruce Pine approved beer, wine, and ABC store sales. However, alcohol sales are still illegal in the areas of the county outside the town of Spruce Pine, except areas within 1.5 air miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

History

The county was formed in 1861 from parts of Burke County, Caldwell County, McDowell County, Watauga County, and Yancey County. It was named for Elisha Mitchell, professor of mathematics, chemistry, geology, and mineralogy at the University of North Carolina from 1818 until his death in 1857. Dr. Mitchell was the first scientist to argue that a nearby peak in the Black Mountains was the highest point east of the Mississippi River. He measured the mountain's height and climbed and explored it. In 1857 he fell to his death on a waterfall on the side of the mountain. The mountain was subsequently named Mount Mitchell in his honor.

The county took a direct hit from "The Storm of the Century", also known as the "’93 Superstorm", or "The (Great) Blizzard of 1993". This storm event was similar in nature to a hurricane. The storm occurred between March 12–13, 1993, on the East Coast of North America. Parts of Cuba, Gulf Coast States, Eastern United States and Eastern Canada were greatly impacted.

The county suffered a tragic event on the evening of Friday, May 3, 2002 when a fire broke out at the Mitchell County jail in Bakersville, North Carolina. As a result of the fire eight men lost their lives.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 222 square miles (570 km2), of which 221 square miles (570 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in North Carolina by land area and second-smallest by total area. The northwest sections of county border the State of Tennessee. Sections of both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail are located in the county. Parts of the Pisgah National Forest and Roan Mountain State Park are located in the northern sections of the county.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (part)
  • Pisgah National Forest (part)

Major highways

  • US 19E
  • NC 80
  • NC 197
  • NC 226
  • NC 226A
  • NC 261

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 4,705
1880 9,435 100.5%
1890 12,807 35.7%
1900 15,221 18.8%
1910 17,245 13.3%
1920 11,278 −34.6%
1930 13,962 23.8%
1940 15,980 14.5%
1950 15,143 −5.2%
1960 13,906 −8.2%
1970 13,447 −3.3%
1980 14,428 7.3%
1990 14,433 0.0%
2000 15,687 8.7%
2010 15,579 −0.7%
Est. 2015 15,246 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 15,687 people, 6,551 households, and 4,736 families residing in the county. The population density was 71 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 7,919 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.87% White, 0.22% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.66% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. 1.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,551 households out of which 27.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.90% were married couples living together, 8.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were non-families. 25.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.20% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 18.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,508, and the median income for a family was $36,367. Males had a median income of $26,550 versus $20,905 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,933. About 10.70% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.20% of those under age 18 and 16.40% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

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

Towns

Townships

  • Bakersville
  • Bradshaw
  • Cane Creek
  • Fork Mountain-Little Rock Creek
  • Grassy Creek
  • Harrell
  • Poplar
  • Red Hill
  • Snow Creek
  • Spruce Pine

Unincorporated communities



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