A county in North Carolina’s “High Country,” Avery was established in 1911 and earned the county the distinction as the hundredth-county in the state. One of the highest counties in the eastern United States, Avery County is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is home to the man-made Linn Cove Viaduct and the natural-wonder Grandfather Mountain. Year after year, numerous tourists visit Avery, bringing over $50 million into the county’s economy annually.
A northwestern corner county in the mountains of North Carolina, Ashe was formed from sections of Wilkes County in 1799, and its seat of government is Jefferson. From 1784 to 1788 Ashe and several other counties formed an independent state known as Franklin. However, the state lasted only a short time due to continual attacks by surrounding Native Americans and the indifference of the national government.
“Yattken”, a Siouan word for “land of big trees”, is attributed to the Yadkin River which in turn influenced the naming of Yadkin County and its seat of government, Yadkinville. Established in 1850, Yadkin County’s orginial inhabitants were the Saponi and Tutelo, and the first white families traveled to the region by way of the Great Wagon Road. The Yadkin River, the Yadkinville Bluegrass Contest and Fiddler’s Convention, and the Richmond Hill house are the most well-known characteristics of Yadkin County.
During the early 1800s, present-day Transylvania County was the site of a border conflict between Georgia and North Carolina. In 1803, Georgia claimed ownership of a twelve-mile strip of land in North Carolina, commonly referred to as the “orphan strip.” The minor dispute was known as the Walton War because Georgia named the region Walton County in honor of George Walton, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The “Land of Waterfalls”, Transylvania County has more than 250 falls in its three forest parks, and Whitewater Falls, a 400-feet high waterfall, is the highest cascade east of the Rocky Mountains. The county, established in 1861 from the Jackson and Henderson Counties, is located in the southwestern section of North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Brevard College and the Brevard Music Center are the cultural and academic centers of Transylvania.
The most mountainous county in North Carolina, Yancey has five of the ten highest peaks east of the Mississippi River. Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the state, rests in Yancey, and the Black Mountain range extends into the county. Formed in 1833, the county was named after U.S. Congressman Bartlett Yancey. A notable aspect of Yancey includes the high number of artists and craftsmen and women who reside in this mountain county.
The charming and witty Senator Sam was born in Burke County, North Carolina, in 1896. A Democrat and civil libertarian, Senator Sam served in the Senate for two decades (1954 – 1974), and he earned the distinction as one of the last Southern Democrats of the same breed as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Russell. Sam Ervin remains a nationally known political figure because of his cleverness, Southern charm, and wit.
One of North Carolina’s greatest writers, Thomas Wolfe was born in Asheville in 1900. Wolfe’s childhood experiences in Asheville influenced much of the author’s masterpiece, Look Homeward, Angel. An eccentric, tall man, Wolfe lived in New York and Europe throughout his short life. He died from tuberculosis on September 15, 1938.
Bordering Tennessee and in the Appalachian mountain range, Graham County is known for its agriculture and its tourism.
Haywood, a western, mountain county of North Carolina, was established out of Buncombe County in 1808. Named after John Haywood, the county is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley, and Lake Junaluska. Waynesville, incorporated in 1871, is the county’s seat of government.