Avery County, North Carolina

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Avery County
Avery County, North Carolina
Founded 1911
Website www.averycountync.gov

Avery County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population is 17,167. Its county seat is Newland.


The county was formed in 1911 from parts of Caldwell County, Mitchell County, and Watauga County. It was named for Waightstill Avery, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War and the first Attorney General of North Carolina (1777–1779). Avery County was the last county created in North Carolina. It is often noted for the large amount of Christmas trees that the county produces. "A History of Avery County" was published in 1972 by Horton Edward Cooper. In it he noted:

Because people make history, our citizens show an intense interest in the events of the past and are displaying an eagerness more than ever in local history; too, they have become eagerly interested in genealogy. All mountaineers enjoy a good anecdote. The people of Avery County are not all descendants of pioneers who came into this rugged land a good many generations ago, but we are proud of those and their descendants who can trace their ancestry to the four points of the compass... As a rule, our families are close-knit units and family pride exists no higher on earth than here. No stronger love for America and the American flag can be found anywhere in our country. We are proud of our inheritance, which for our rugged pioneer ancestors and several generations meant hardship, often disappointing toil, loneliness, self-sufficiency and a struggle for survival.

The 1989 film Winter People starring Kurt Russell and Kelly McGillis was filmed in Avery County.[1]

Law and government

Avery County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.


The county is known for its production of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees.


Stream within a Linville community

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 247 square miles (640 km²). Avery County is extremely rural and mountainous with all of the county's terrain located within the Appalachian Mountains range. The highest point in the county is Grassy Ridge Bald, which rises to 6,165 feet (1,879 m) above sea level. Most of Grandfather Mountain (whose highest point is Calloway Peak 5,964 feet (1,818 m) shared with Watauga and Caldwell counties) is within Avery county. At an elevation of 5,506 feet (1,678 m) above sea level, Beech Mountain (also shared with Watauga county) is the highest incorporated community east of the Mississippi River. At an elevation of 3,606 feet (1,099 m) Newland is the highest county seat in the Eastern United States.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


As a result of its relatively high elevation, Avery County enjoys considerably cooler summers than most of the rest of the Eastern US. Likewise, winters are longer, colder and snowier than most other locations in the region. This can be evidenced by the snow skiing areas which operate in the area. Banner Elk, NC Historical Climate Summary


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 17,167 people, 6,532 households, and 4,546 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 11,911 housing units at an average density of 48 per square mile (19/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.95% White, 3.48% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 2.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,532 households out of which 27.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.10% were married couples living together, 9.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.40% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 30.10% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 111.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,627, and the median income for a family was $37,454. Males had a median income of $25,983 versus $21,652 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,176. About 10.90% of families and 15.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.30% of those under age 18 and 19.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

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


Unusual, doubly-terminated quartz crystal with clay inclusions, found in Avery County, which is well-known for producing quartz specimens.

Elementary schools

  • Banner Elk Elementary
  • Beech Mountain Elementary
  • Crossnore Elementary
  • Freedom Trail Elementary
  • Newland Elementary
  • Riverside Elementary

Middle schools

  • Avery Middle School
  • Cranberry Middle School

High school

  • Avery High School

Colleges and universities


Further reading

  • Cooper, Horton. History of Avery County, Biltmore Press, 1964
  • Cooper, Horton. North Carolina Mountain Folklore and Miscellany Murfreesboro, N.C., Johnson Pub. Co., c1972
  • Hardy, Michael C. Avery County: Images of America, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2005
  • Hardy, Michael C. Remembering Avery County, Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2007
  • Hardy, Michael C. and Jimmie Daniels Families, Friends, and Felons: Growing Up in the Avery County Jail. Lulu.com, 2008

External links

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia adapted for use as a quick research reference on this wiki. The original content was here: Avery County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the ENC Phillips Group Wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.