Mitchell County, North Carolina facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Mitchell County Courthouse in Bakersville.
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Elisha Mitchell|
|Largest town||Spruce Pine|
|• Total||222 sq mi (570 km2)|
|• Land||221 sq mi (570 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (2 km2) 0.3%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||70/sq mi (30/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
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 entirely 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.
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.
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.
- Carter County, Tennessee - north-northeast
- Avery County - northeast
- McDowell County - south
- Yancey County - southwest
- Unicoi County, Tennessee - north-northwest
National protected areas
- Blue Ridge Parkway (part)
- Pisgah National Forest (part)
- US 19E
- NC 80
- NC 197
- NC 226
- NC 226A
- NC 261
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of 2015, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Mitchell County were:
|Largest ancestries (2015)||Percent|
|French (except Basque)||2.3%|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||50||0.34%|
|Hispanic or Latino||701||4.7%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,903 people, 6,344 households, and 4,031 families residing in the county.
- Cane Creek
- Fork Mountain-Little Rock Creek
- Grassy Creek
- Red Hill
- Snow Creek
- Spruce Pine
Mitchell High School is a comprehensive four-year high school (9-12) centrally located in the community of Ledger when built in 1978. The high school has achieved many educational and athletic accomplishments throughout its history.
Spruce Pine is home to three schools: Greenlee Primary (K-2), Deyton Elementary (3–5) and Harris Middle (6–8). Bakersville is home to two schools: Gouge Primary (K-4) and Bowman Middle (5–8).
Mayland Community College also calls Mitchell County home. Founded by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1971, Mayland hosts some 35 curriculum programs and provides vocational and technical training, along with college transfer opportunities to residents of the region. Mayland was recently ranked 4th best community college in the nation according to 2010 Washington Monthly College Guide.
Penland School of Crafts is a world-renowned educational facility located in the Penland Community. It is designed to educate students who will apply workable knowledge in creation of books, paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood. Furthermore, Penland School of Crafts was established in the early 1920s, it is the largest and oldest professional crafts school in the United States.
Mitchell High School is in the Western Highlands 1A conference, which is made up of 6 schools with 3 of the schools classified as 1A. They have the smallest enrollment of the schools in their conference. Three neighboring counties' schools (Avery, Yancey (Mountain Heritage), and McDowell) are some of the common rivals of the Mountaineers.
- 1987–88 Football, 11–2 record, Final 8 in state
- 1987–88 Wrestling, State Champions
- 1996 Girls' Basketball, State Champions
- 1999–2000 Boys' Basketball, 23–5 record, Final 4 in state
- 2003 Girls' Basketball, State Champions
- 2006–07 Wrestling, 45–3 record, Final 4 in state
- 2010 Football, lost one game before advancing to the State Championships
- 2011 Football, 2nd best championships record in school history
- 2011 Men's Cross Country, finished 4th in 1A State Championship
- 2012 Men's Cross Country, finished 5th in 1A State Championship
- 2013 Men's Cross Country, finished 7th in 1A State Championship
- 2015 Football, 14–2 Record, 1AA State Runners-Up
Mitchell County, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.