kids encyclopedia robot

Surry County, North Carolina facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Surry County
Surry County Courthouse 201 E Kapp St
Surry County Courthouse 201 E Kapp St
Official seal of Surry County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Surry 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 1771
Named for Surrey, England
Seat Dobson
Largest city Mount Airy
 • Total 536 sq mi (1,390 km2)
 • Land 532 sq mi (1,380 km2)
 • Water 4.1 sq mi (11 km2)  0.8%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 138/sq mi (53/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 10th

Surry County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 73,673. Its county seat is Dobson, and its largest city is Mount Airy.

Surry county comprises the Mount Airy, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC Combined Statistical Area.


The county was formed in 1771 from Rowan County. It was named for the county of Surrey in England, birthplace of William Tryon, Governor of North Carolina from 1765 to 1771.

In 1777 parts of Surry County and Washington District (now Washington County, Tennessee) were combined to form Wilkes County. The first permanent courthouse was established at Richmond in 1779, what is now the modern-day Old Richmond Township in Forsyth County near Donnaha. However, in 1789 the eastern half of Surry County became Stokes County, thus making the Richmond site unusable for either county. In 1790, the county seat was moved to Rockford where it remained for over half a century. In 1850 the half of the county's remaining territory south of the Yadkin River became Yadkin County. The town of Dobson was established in 1853 to be the new county seat.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 536 square miles (1,390 km2), of which 532 square miles (1,380 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (0.8%) is water.

The whole county is generally considered part of the Piedmont Triad metropolitan area. Surry County is located in the Yadkin Valley AVA, an American Viticultural Area. Wines made from grapes grown in Surry County may carry the appellation Yadkin Valley on their label.


Surry County is located both within the Piedmont region of central North Carolina and in the Appalachian Mountains region of western North Carolina. Most of the eastern two-thirds of the county lies within the Piedmont, a region of gently rolling hills and valleys. However, the Piedmont of Surry County also contains a small portion of the Sauratown Mountains; Surry County marks the western end of the Sauratown Mountain range. The western third of the county lies within the Blue Ridge Mountains, and they dominate the county's western horizon. The mountain passes (called "gaps" locally) are notorious for their occasional high winds, which can force automobiles and even large Eighteen wheeler trucks off the highways which lead through the passes. As a result, high wind advisories issued by the National Weather Service are not uncommon. The highest point in Surry County is Fisher Peak in the Blue Ridge; it rises to 3,570 feet (1,088 m) above sea level. However, the best-known peak in Surry County is not the highest. That honor goes to Pilot Mountain, an isolated monadnock and a North Carolina landmark. Pilot Mountain sharply rises some 2,421 feet (738 m) above the surrounding countryside, and can be seen for miles.

Another notable peak in Surry County is Cumberland Knob, in the northwest corner of the county, which was the starting point of the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The following table provides a list of some of the more prominent mountains of the county.

Pilot Mountain
Summit Location Elevation
Buck Mountain 36°30′29″N 80°50′00″W / 36.50806°N 80.83333°W / 36.50806; -80.83333 1,768 ft (539 m).
Cumberland Knob 36°33′00″N 80°54′31″W / 36.55000°N 80.90861°W / 36.55000; -80.90861 2,858 ft (871 m).
Fisher Peak 36°33′34″N 80°49′23″W / 36.55944°N 80.82306°W / 36.55944; -80.82306 3,570 ft (1,090 m).
Fulcher Mountain 36°30′07″N 80°50′20″W / 36.50194°N 80.83889°W / 36.50194; -80.83889 1,831 ft (558 m).
Fulcher Mountain 36°29′58″N 80°50′18″W / 36.49944°N 80.83833°W / 36.49944; -80.83833 1,762 ft (537 m).
Lens Knob 36°27′46″N 80°55′31″W / 36.46278°N 80.92528°W / 36.46278; -80.92528 2,175 ft (663 m).
Long Branch Mountain 36°33′11″N 80°30′43″W / 36.55306°N 80.51194°W / 36.55306; -80.51194 1,631 ft (497 m).
Pilot Mountain 36°20′24″N 80°28′27″W / 36.34000°N 80.47417°W / 36.34000; -80.47417 2,421 ft (738 m).
Racoon Mountain 36°28′45″N 80°52′30″W / 36.47917°N 80.87500°W / 36.47917; -80.87500 2,152 ft (656 m).
Raven Knob 36°28′11″N 80°50′41″W / 36.46972°N 80.84472°W / 36.46972; -80.84472 1,896 ft (578 m).
Round Peak 36°31′23″N 80°48′49″W / 36.52306°N 80.81361°W / 36.52306; -80.81361 2,077 ft (633 m).
Saddle Mountain 36°30′03″N 80°55′37″W / 36.50083°N 80.92694°W / 36.50083; -80.92694 3,294 ft (1,004 m).
Skull Camp Mountain 36°28′31″N 80°48′59″W / 36.47528°N 80.81639°W / 36.47528; -80.81639 2,044 ft (623 m).
Slate Mountain 36°32′34″N 80°30′54″W / 36.54278°N 80.51500°W / 36.54278; -80.51500 1,988 ft (606 m).
Slate Mountain 36°32′24″N 80°31′20″W / 36.54000°N 80.52222°W / 36.54000; -80.52222 1,952 ft (595 m).
Stott Knob 36°24′19″N 80°39′28″W / 36.40528°N 80.65778°W / 36.40528; -80.65778 1,552 ft (473 m).
Turner Mountain 36°25′25″N 80°39′36″W / 36.42361°N 80.66000°W / 36.42361; -80.66000 1,601 ft (488 m).
Warrior Mountain 36°28′15″N 80°52′29″W / 36.47083°N 80.87472°W / 36.47083; -80.87472 1,958 ft (597 m).


While there are many creeks and streams in Surry County, there are three recognized major rivers in the county, the Ararat, the Fisher, and the Mitchell. All three flow southward and are tributaries of the Yadkin River, which forms the southern border of Surry County. The Yadkin River is the northern component of the Pee Dee River which flows to the Atlantic Ocean near Georgetown, South Carolina.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 7,192
1800 9,505 32.2%
1810 10,366 9.1%
1820 12,320 18.9%
1830 14,504 17.7%
1840 15,079 4.0%
1850 18,443 22.3%
1860 10,380 −43.7%
1870 11,252 8.4%
1880 15,302 36.0%
1890 19,281 26.0%
1900 25,515 32.3%
1910 29,705 16.4%
1920 32,464 9.3%
1930 39,749 22.4%
1940 41,783 5.1%
1950 45,593 9.1%
1960 48,205 5.7%
1970 51,415 6.7%
1980 59,449 15.6%
1990 61,704 3.8%
2000 71,219 15.4%
2010 73,673 3.4%
2018 (est.) 71,948 −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Surry County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 57,771 80.96%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 2,413 3.38%
Native American 130 0.18%
Asian 370 0.52%
Pacific Islander 11 0.02%
Other/Mixed 2,168 3.04%
Hispanic or Latino 8,496 11.91%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 71,359 people, 28,408 households, and 19,539 families residing in the county.



Commercial flights are available through Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte. Additionally, Surry County has two public airports for smaller aircraft:

  • Mount Airy/Surry County Airport
  • Elkin Municipal Airport

Major highways

  • I-74
  • I-77
  • US 21
  • US 52
  • US 601
  • NC 18
  • NC 89
  • NC 103
  • NC 104
  • NC 268


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



Census-designated places


  • Bryan
  • Dobson
  • Eldora
  • Elkin
  • Franklin
  • Long Hill
  • Marsh
  • Mount Airy
  • Pilot
  • Rockford
  • Shoals
  • Siloam
  • South Westfield
  • Stewarts Creek
  • Westfield

Unincorporated communities

With 538 sq mi (1,390 km2) of total land area and only four incorporated municipalities, much of Surry County remains rural. Like much of rural North Carolina, Surry County is dotted with many unincorporated communities, some with rather colorful names. Like many rural communities, these places are centered on churches, schools, post offices, and other common gathering places that developed to serve the needs of a mostly agricultural society.

The United States Geographic Names Information System includes 68 populated places in Surry County. Four of these are the county's incorporated municipalities and seven are historical place names. Of the remaining 57, three have since been annexed by an existing city or town. Elkin Valley and North Elkin have long been part of the town of Elkin and the city of Mount Airy will complete in summer 2007 its annexation of the remaining portions of Hollyview Forest-Highland Park that remain outside of the city. Additionally, the communities of Jenkinstown and Blevins Store frequently show up on county maps, although they are not officially classified as populated places by the GNIS.


Surry County is divided into three local school systems: Surry County Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, and Elkin City Schools.

Surry County Schools

High schools

  • Surry Early College High School of Design (on the Surry Community College campus.)
  • East Surry High School
  • North Surry High School
  • Surry Central High School

Middle schools

  • Central Middle School
  • Gentry Middle School
  • Meadowview Middle School
  • Pilot Mountain Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Cedar Ridge Elementary School
  • Copeland Elementary School
  • Dobson Elementary School
  • Flat Rock Elementary School
  • Franklin Elementary School
  • Mountain Park Elementary School
  • Pilot Mountain Elementary School
  • Rockford Elementary School
  • Shoals Elementary School
  • Westfield Elementary School
  • White Plains Elementary School

Mount Airy City Schools

  • Mount Airy High School
  • Mount Airy Middle School
  • Jones Intermediate School
  • Tharington Primary School

Elkin City Schools

The Elkin City Schools system has 3 schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade: Elkin Elementary School, Elkin Middle School and Elkin High School.

Colleges and universities

Surry Community College, part of the North Carolina Community College System, is the county's only institution for post-secondary education.

kids search engine
Surry County, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.