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Henderson County, NC Visitor Center 2013
Tourist & Relocation Information Guide
Henderson County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2010, the population was 106,740. Its county seat is Hendersonville
Downtown Hendersonville, NC
The county was formed in 1838 from the southern part of Buncombe County. It was named for Leonard Henderson, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1829 to 1833.
In 1855 parts of Henderson County and Rutherford County were combined to form Polk County, and in 1861 parts of Henderson County and Jackson County were combined to form Transylvania County.
Henderson County, which in 1861 encompassed present-day Transylvania County as well, contributed 1,296 soldiers to the Confederate States Army out of its approximately 10,000 population, as well as 130 Union troops. (Figures from Terrell T. Garren's "Mountain Myth: Unionism in Western North Carolina, published 2006).
Henderson County government was centered around Hendersonville in the historic Courthouse (erected 1905) on Main Street, until this structure was replaced by the new Courthouse (c. 1995) on Grove Street.
The first rail line reached Hendersonville in 1879, ushering in a new era of access to the outside world. However, parts of the county had long been known as retreats, including the "Little Charleston" of Flat Rock, in which South Carolina's Low Country planter families had maintained second homes since the early 1800s.
A major land boom ensued in the 1920s, culminating in the crash of 1929, which severely deflated prices and left structures such as the Fleetwood Hotel atop Jumpoff Mountain incomplete. The major land boom continues in the 2000s as most of the land that used to be available for raising crops and farm animals is now being used for building housing for humans.
Other notable historic sites in Henderson County include the Woodfield Inn (1852), Connemara (final home of Carl Sandburg and originally known as Rock Hill, the home of CSA Secretary of the Treasury Memminger) and St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church.
Law and government
Henderson County is a member of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of governments. It is governed by the five-member Henderson County Board of Commissioners, with Bill Moyer currently serving as chairman.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 375 square miles, of which 374 square miles is land and 1 square mile is water. The county's largest body of water is Lake Summit, a reservoir impounded by the Duke Power Company for hydroelectric generation.
Henderson County is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but is situated in an intermontane basin formed by the French Broad River and its tributaries. The county seat is situated in a bowl surrounded by mountains. The lowest point in the county is to be found along the Rocky Broad River at approximately 1,200 feet, and the high point is located on Young Pisgah Mountain at approximately 5,200 feet. The county's major streams are the French Broad River, Mills River, Green River, Little River, Mud Creek, Clear Creek, Cane Creek and Hungry River.
The county is divided into many townships: Blue Ridge, Clear Creek, Crab Creek, Edneyville, Gerton, Green River, Hendersonville, Hoopers Creek, and Mills River, Flat Rock, East Flat Rock, Tuxedo, Dana, Fletcher and Valley Hill, to name a few
Cities & Towns
- Barker Heights
- East Flat Rock
- Flat Rock
- Laurel Park
- Mills River
- Mountain Home
- Valley Hill
Henderson County currently has five incorporated towns/cities: Hendersonville, Fletcher, Flat Rock, Laurel Park and Mills River. Of these, only Hendersonville, the county seat, possesses the typical characteristics of a dense urban center with significant population. Mills River recently became a town. The other incorporations, particularly Mills River and Flat Rock, were created for the purpose of preserving specific cultural/historic areas, and to prevent annexation by adjoining towns and cities. Fletcher is the most "urban" of the remaining areas, but was also formed to avoid annexation by municipalities in adjoining Buncombe County.
Apples require extensive winter chilling, and do not tolerate summer heat and humidity well, so Henderson County, with its cooler climate due to its elevation represents about the southern limit for commercial apple growing. Apples have been the traditional agricultural crop in Henderson County, especially since World War II, but are today being superseded by land development (for housing and light industrial development). However, the tradition of honoring the local apple industry persists in the county's annual Apple Festival, held each year around Labor Day, and culminating in the "King Apple Parade" attended by tens of thousands of spectators
As of the census of 2010, there were 106,740 people, 42,322 households residing in the county out of which 6.1% had children under the age of 5, 20.9% had children under the age of 18 and 22.4% were over the age of 65. The average persons per household was 2.31. The population density was 285 per square mile. There were 51,163 housing units at an average density of 136 per square mile.
- White persons - 88.9%
- Black persons - 3.0%
- American Indian and Alaska Native persons - 0.4%
- Asian persons - 1.0%
- Persons reporting two or more races - 1.9%
- Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 9.8%
The median income for a household in the county was $44,408. The per capita income for the county was $25,312. About 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line.