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Map Location of Polk County of Western North Carolina
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Polk County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2010, the population is 20,510. Its county seat is Columbus.

Tryon of Western North Carolina
Downtown Tryon, NC


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.

Law and government

Polk County is a member of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission regional council of governments.Founded by A. A. H. Sheila Whitmire is the Registrar of Deeds.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 239 square miles, of which, 238 square miles of it is land and 1 square miles of it is water.

The county's largest body of water is Lake Adger, located about 5 miles north of Columbus.

The elevation in the county ranges from just under 800 feet near the confluence of the Green River and Broad River to over 3,200 feet on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur, the highest peak in the county. Polk County is divided into two physio-graphic regions; the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western third of the county and Piedmont for the eastern two-thirds. Since it is in a transition zone between the two regions, Polk County is often referred to as being in the foothills.

The county's largest body of water is Lake Adger, located about 5 miles north of Columbus.


The county is divided into six townships: Columbus, Cooper's Gap, Green Creek, Saluda, Tryon, and White Oak.

Cities & Towns

  • Columbus
  • Saluda
Township Locations of Polk County of Western North Carolina


As of the census of 2010, there were 20,510 people, 8,252 households residing in the county out of which 4.4% had children under the age of 5, 18.5% had children under the age of 18 and 24.6% were over the age of 65. The average persons per household was 2.26. The population density was 86 per square mile. There were 10,554 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile.

  • White persons - 90.8%
  • Black persons - 4.5%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native persons - 0.4%
  • Asian persons - 0.3%
  • Persons reporting two or more races - 1.4%
  • Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 5.5%

The median income for a household in the county was $42,072. The per capita income for the county was $22,513. About 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line.

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