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Spruce Pine, North Carolina
Town
Main Street, Spruce Pine NC
Main Street, Spruce Pine NC
Location in North Carolina
Location in North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Mitchell
Area
 • Total 3.9 sq mi (10.1 km2)
 • Land 3.9 sq mi (10.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,559 ft (780 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,175
 • Density 557/sq mi (215.05/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28777
Area code(s) 828
FIPS code 37-64260
GNIS feature ID 1015757
Website Spruce Pine online

Spruce Pine is a town in Mitchell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 2,175 at the 2010 census.

History

Spruce Pine was founded in 1907 when the Clinchfield Railroad made its way up the North Toe River from Erwin, Tennessee. The town was originally centered around a tavern operated by Isaac English, located on an old roadway that ran from Cranberry, North Carolina down to Marion, NC. The Old English Inn still stands at its original location near the center of town.

The railroad, combined with a rapidly expanding mining industry (the town is the namesake of the famous Spruce Pine Mining District) made Spruce Pine the largest town in the Toe River Valley, as it became the hub of commerce and culture for the area. Spruce Pine was the home of The Feldspar Company and Spruce Pine Mica, and other major mining interests had operations in and around the town.

Spruce Pine-27527-2
Railroad tracks and train station in Spruce Pine.

With the decline in use of railroads to ship goods, along with increasing automation in the mining industry, the town has recently seen its fortunes dwindle and has undertaken a major effort to reinvent itself. Tourism has become a major economic force in the region, and the town's proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, combined with its location near the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment has helped make Spruce Pine a travel destination for many. The town also boasts the moniker of "The Mineral City of the World"

In 1998, the medium-security men's state prison Mountain View Correctional Institution opened in Spruce Pine.

On August 4, 2007, the downtown area of Spruce Pine was threatened when an arsonist set fire to several buildings downtown. The fires, which brought firemen from 4 counties around Spruce Pine, severely damaged the building housing Cheapskates Music on Lower Street, and caused some tense moments when it seemed that the fires might spread out of control and consume the downtown area. Federal arson officials are still investigating the fires, and an arrest has been made in connection with the incident.

The Downtown Spruce Pine Historic District and Gunter Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Bon Ami mine
Abandoned Bon Ami mine is open for tours

Spruce Pine is located at 35°54′49″N 82°04′12″W / 35.913743°N 82.069999°W / 35.913743; -82.069999.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10.1 km2), all of it land. The town limits are approximately 3 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and located 50 miles northeast of Asheville, NC and 40 miles southwest of Boone, NC.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 717
1930 1,546 115.6%
1940 1,968 27.3%
1950 2,280 15.9%
1960 2,504 9.8%
1970 2,333 −6.8%
1980 2,282 −2.2%
1990 2,010 −11.9%
2000 2,030 1.0%
2010 2,175 7.1%
Est. 2015 2,134 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
Spruce Pine-27527-1
Community park in Spruce Pine.

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,030 people, 888 households, and 575 families residing in the town. The population density was 522.0 people per square mile (201.5/km2). There were 968 housing units at an average density of 248.9 per square mile (96.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.35% White, 0.39% African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 2.27% from other races, and 0.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.79% of the population.

There were 888 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.89.

Social networks of Waynesville, Franklin, and Spruce Pine. NCSU library

In the town, the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $24,766, and the median income for a family was $33,902. Males had a median income of $22,324 versus $22,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,440. About 12.4% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.5% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.

Development

Recently East Carolina University Dental School announced a facility will open 2014 on the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital campus to serve Western North Carolina residents in the Mayland area (Mitchell, Avery and Yancey Counties). This facility is one of 5 facilities proposed throughout the state of North Carolina.

Beginning in 2014 The North Carolina Department of Transportation, will begin widening US 19E, which is the major corridor linking the towns of Spruce Pine and Burnsville to Interstate 26. The new highway will transform from a two-lane highway to a divided four-lane featuring grassy medians and turn lanes.

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