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Caldwell County, NC Visitor Center 2013
Caldwell County of Western North Carolina
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Caldwell County is a county located in the state of North Carolina, USA. As of 2010, the population was 83,029. Its county seat is Lenoir.

Lenoir, NC in Caldwell County of Western North Carolina
Town of Lenoir, NC


The county was formed in 1841 from parts of Burke County and Wilkes County. It was named for Joseph Caldwell, presiding professor (1796-1797, 1799-1804) and the first president (1804-1812, 1816-1835) of the University of North Carolina.

A series of reductions in the county's territory followed. In 1847 parts of Caldwell County, Iredell County, and Wilkes County were combined to form Alexander County. In 1849 parts of Caldwell County, Ashe County, Wilkes County, and Yancey County were combined to form Watauga County. In 1861, parts of Caldwell County, Burke County, McDowell County, Watauga County, and Yancey County were combined to form Mitchell County. Finally, in 1911 parts of Caldwell County, Mitchell County, and Watauga County were combined to form Avery County.

Law and government

The county is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners, who appoint a County Manager.

Caldwell County is a member of the regional Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

Geography and Climate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 474 square miles. of which 472 square miles of it is land and 3 square miles of it is water. Caldwell County is divided into three distinct geographic sections: the Blue Ridge Mountains, which dominate the northern and western parts of the county; the gently rolling Piedmont country in the middle and southern parts of the county; and the Brushy Mountains, an isolated remnant of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The "Brushies", as they are often called, run across much of Caldwell County's eastern section. Hibriten Mountain, located within the city limits of Lenoir, the county's largest city, marks the western end of the Brushy Mountain range.

Notable Natives or Residents

  • Dr. Vaughn Starnes, Considered the foremost pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon in the world, he made history performing the first successful 'living related' lung transplant.
  • Etta Baker, musician
  • William Horton Bower, US Congressman.
  • Jim Broyhill, US Congressman and US Senator.
  • Claudia Church, country music artist.
  • Eric Church, country music artist.
  • Clinton A. Cilley, mayor of Lenoir and Medal of Honor winner.
  • Dr. Linda Combs, U.S. government official.
  • William Lenoir.
  • Kary Mullis, scientist and Nobel laureate.
  • William C. Newland, NC Lt. Governor.
  • George W. Petrie Jr., Major, U.S. Army Special Forces (retired),Son Tay Raider, Caldwell County's Most Decorated Soldier; two time recipient of the Silver Star.
  • James Pritchett, actor.
  • Larry Smith, NASCAR driver .

At least four Major League Baseball players:

  • Johnny Allen
  • Lindsay Deal
  • Charlie Cozart
  • Rube Walker

Cities & Towns

  • Blowing Rock
  • Cajah's Mountain
  • Cedar Rock
  • Collettsville
  • Gamewell
  • Granite Falls
  • Hudson
  • Lenoir
  • Sawmills
Township Locations of Caldwell County of Western North Carolina


As of the census of 2010, there were 83,029 people, 30,876 households residing in the county out of which 6.0% had children under the age of 5, 22.7% had children under the age of 18 and 15.6% were over the age of 65. The average persons per household was 2.53. The population density was 175 per square mile. There were 36,433 housing units at an average density of 77 per square mile.

  • White persons - 90.2%
  • Black persons - 4.9%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native persons - 0.3%
  • Asian persons - 0.5%
  • Persons reporting two or more races - 1.5%
  • Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 4.6%

The median income for a household in the county was $35,489. The per capita income for the county was $19,860. About 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line.

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