Avery County, North Carolina
|Avery County, North Carolina|
Avery County Courthouse
Location in the state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Waightstill Avery|
247 sq mi (640 km²)
237 sq mi (614 km²)
0 sq mi (0 km²), 0.08%
75/sq mi (29/km²)
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.
Also Where the Lilies Bloom a film adaptation of the novel by the same name, written by Bill Cleaver. The film was made by director William A. Graham in Watauga County (towns of Boone and Blowing Rock) and in Avery County (towns of Elk Park and Banner Elk), North Carolina.Children were recruited to act in the film from local elementary schools.
Law and government 
Avery County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.
Based in Newland, The Avery Post and Journal-Times cover all of Avery County. The Journal-Times newspaper is owned by Jones Media publishing company and is a sister publication of the Watauga Democrat in Boone, North Carolina, while the Post is locally owned 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 247 square miles (639.7 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 5,946 feet (1,812 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 
- Johnson County, Tennessee - north
- Carter County, Tennessee - west
- Caldwell County, North Carolina -south east
- Burke County, North Carolina -south
- McDowell County, North Carolina -south
- Mitchell County, North Carolina - west
- Watauga County, North Carolina- north
||Johnson County, Tennessee and Watauga County|
|Carter County, Tennessee and Mitchell County|
|Burke County and McDowell County||Caldwell County|
National protected areas 
Major highways 
As a result of its relatively high elevation, Avery County has a Humid continental climate enjoying 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. Winters can have massive snowfalls and bitter cold weather that is unlike other areas of the south. Snowfall into early May and even flurries in June are not uncommon. This can be evidenced by the snow skiing areas which operate in the area: Ski Beech at Beech Mountain in both Avery and Watauga Counties, Sugar Mountain in the Town of Sugar Mountain and a tubing resort at Hawks Nest in Seven Devils in both Avery and Watauga Counties. These resorts provide a large boost to the local economy DEC-FEB, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend being the peak ski weekend, which can see in excess of 20,000 tourists in the area.
Summer tourists come to the area to escape the heat and humidity of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and often remain in the area until the first snow. This is especially true with retirees who are referred to as "snow-birds". Sudden heat spells in lower areas of North Carolina, especially in the Charlotte area (1:45 minutes away) can result in droves of Charlotte-area residents coming to Avery County for hot weekends. Popular outdoor activities include bird and wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, ATV riding, hiking, swimming, camping and exploring remote areas such as Pisgah National Forest, John's River Wilderness and Linville Gorge year round.
The fall colors of leaves and foliage along the local mountain ridges, especially visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway are considered among the most brilliant in the world. This annual turning of leaves brings thousands of tourists to the area, especially on weekends from late September-mid October, with a huge boost to the local economy and a complete sellout of local hotel and motel rooms during this time.
As of the census 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 
- Banner Elk
- Beech Mountain
- Elk Park
- Seven Devils
- Sugar Mountain
Avery County Schools 
Other high school 
- Mayland Early College High School (run by Mayland Community College; servers students in Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties)
Charter schools 
Two authorized charter schools operate in Avery County:
- Crossnore Academy, formerly an orphanage in the Town of Crossnore
- Grandfather Academy, formerly Grandfather Home Orphanage in banner Elk
Colleges and universities 
- Lees-McRae College, a private-4-year liberal arts college that is Presbyterian Church affiliated.
- Mayland Community College, ranked in 2010 as the 4th best community college in the United States, has a campus main site partly in Avery County and partly in Mitchell County, near Spruce Pine. The school offers various technical and a 2-year transfer or associate's degree program in various areas of study and continuing education. There is a recently-built Newland sub-campus and the college serves Mitchell, Avery and Yancey Counties, hence the name of Mayland for the 3 counties.
See also 
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Hardy, Michael (2007). Remembering Avery County: Old Tales from North Carolina's Youngest County. The History Press. p. 102. ISBN 1-59629-232-6.
- "Our Publications". Mountain Times Publications. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- Banner Elk Climate Summary
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "School Directory". Avery County Schools. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- "A-E Counties". Office of Charter Schools. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
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