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)|
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.
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.
By 1899, Mitchell County had a sundown town policy of preventing African Americans from living or working in the county.
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.
|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%|
As of the census 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.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
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.
Owing to its high altitude and consequent strong Civil War-era Unionist sympathies, along with its rural nature, Mitchell is a powerfully Republican county. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Mitchell County since Samuel J. Tilden in 1876. At this time Mitchell included Avery County, detached from it in 1911, and even more Republican. However, since Tilden’s win every Republican candidate has obtained at least sixty percent of the county’s vote, with the solitary exception of the 1912 election when the party was divided between the two candidacies of William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the latter of whom carried the county.
In the 2016 Republican Primary in Mitchell County, Donald Trump received 1,775 votes (or 46.8 percent of the total votes) followed by Ted Cruz who came in second with 1,188 votes (or 31.3% of the total votes). In the 2016 Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders received 450 votes (57.9% of the total) whereas Hillary Clinton only won 314 votes (40.4% of the total).In the general election Donald Trump received 6,282 votes (or 77.6% of the total vote) whereas Hillary Clinton only received 1,596 votes (19.7% of the vote) and Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson received 138 votes (1.7% of total votes in the county). In this regards Mitchell County has the distinction of being one of many counties in the state of North Carolina which Donald Trump won twice in 2016, as he won the county both the primary election and the general election, and which Hillary Clinton lost twice in 2016 as she lost the county in the 2016 Democratic primary to Bernie Sanders, and then lost the county again in the general election to Donald Trump.
Mitchell County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.
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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 7 schools with 3 of the schools classified as 1A. All three 1A schools in the Western Highlands Conference (Avery, Hendersonville, and Polk) have higher enrollments than 1A Mitchell High. Three neighboring counties' schools (Avery, Yancey (Mountain Heritage), and McDowell) are some of the common rivals of the Mountaineers.
The county is served by The Mitchell News-Journal, a weekly newspaper printed by Community Newspapers, Inc. and WTOE radio, at 1470 kHz on the AM dial to cover local news.
Yancey County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,818. Its county seat is Burnsville.
Watauga County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 51,079. Its county seat and largest town is Boone.
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.
Polk County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,510. Its county seat is Columbus. The county was formed in 1855 from parts of Henderson County and Rutherford County. It was named for William Polk, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War. The Tryon International Equestrian Center, close to the community of Mill Spring will be the location of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
McDowell County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 44,996. Its county seat is Marion.
Madison County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,764. Its county seat is Marshall.
Jackson County is a county located in the southwest of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,271. Since 1913 its county seat has been Sylva, replacing Webster.
Cleveland County is a county located in the foothills of the Blueridge Mountains and the western Piedmont, and on the southern border of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,078. Its county seat is Shelby.
Caswell County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,719. Its county seat is Yanceyville.
Caldwell County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. As at the 2010 census, the population was 83,029. Its county seat is Lenoir.
Buncombe County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The 2010 census said the population was 238,318. Its county seat is Asheville.
Avery County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,797. The county seat is Newland. The county seat was initially established in Elk Park when the county was first formed, but was moved to Newland upon completion of the courthouse in 1912. Founded in 1911, it is the youngest of North Carolina's 100 counties.
Bakersville is a town in Mitchell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 464 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Mitchell County.
Spruce Pine is a town in Mitchell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 2,175 at the 2010 census.
Burnsville is a town and the county seat of Yancey County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,693 at the 2010 census.
U.S. Route 19E (US 19E) is a divided highway of US 19 in the U.S. states of North Carolina and Tennessee. The U.S. Highway, which is complemented by US 19W to the west, travels 75.9 miles (122.1 km) from US 19 and US 19W at Cane River, North Carolina, north to US 11E, US 19, and US 19W in Bluff City, Tennessee. US 19E connects Asheville, North Carolina, and Bristol, Tennessee, with Burnsville, Spruce Pine, and Elk Park in North Carolina and Roan Mountain and Elizabethton in Tennessee. US 19E also has an unsigned concurrency with Tennessee State Route 37 (SR 37) for its entire course in Tennessee.
U.S. Route 19W traverses approximately 63 miles (101 km) from Cane River, North Carolina to Bluff City, Tennessee.
North Carolina Highway 226 (NC 226) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Traveling north–south through Western North Carolina, it connects the cities and towns of Grover, Shelby, Marion, Spruce Pine and Bakersville. It also a scenic byway in the South Mountains area and connects with the summer colony of Little Switzerland, via NC 226A.
North Carolina Highway 80 (NC 80) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway connects the various mountain communities straddled along Buck Creek, South Toe River and North Toe River in Western North Carolina and serves as a direct route, via the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Mount Mitchell State Park.
Mayland Community College is a public community college in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The college also operates learning centers in Newland, NC and in Burnsville, NC. The name of the college is derived from the three counties it primarily serves; Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey. It is currently one of 58 institutions operating under the North Carolina Community College System.
The Ohio River & Charleston Railroad Co. will appeal to Governor Russell for protection for its gangs of negro laborers in Mitchell county. The residents of this county escorted three gangs of laborers to the border line and told them not to return under pain of death. It is the boast of the people of Mitchell county that no negroes are allowed to live or work there. Up to date the boast has been made good. The situation is serious, and blood may flow if the railroad company brings its colored laborers back.