Henderson County, North Carolina

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Not to be confused with Henderson, North Carolina.
Henderson County, North Carolina
Henderson County, NC 1905 Courthouse.jpg
Henderson County, North Carolina, new courthouse
Map of North Carolina highlighting Henderson County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded December 15, 1838
Named for Leonard Henderson
Seat Hendersonville
Largest city Hendersonville
 • Total 375 sq mi (971 km2)
 • Land 374 sq mi (969 km2)
 • Water 1 sq mi (3 km2), 0.28%
Population (Est.)
 • (2012) 108,266
 • Density 238/sq mi (92/km²)
Congressional district 11th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.hendersoncountync.org

Henderson County is a county located in the State of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 106,740.[1] Its county seat is Hendersonville.[2]

Henderson County is part of the Asheville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


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.[3]

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 1905 county courthouse on Main Street, until this structure was replaced by the new Courthouse (c. 1995) on Grove Street in Hendersonville.

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 19th century.

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. Population growth in the county has been rapid since the 1960s as a result of an influx from other states, with many new housing developments changing the face of previously rural areas of the county.

Other notable historic sites in Henderson County include: the Woodfield Inn (1852), Connemara—final home of Carl Sandburg (originally known as Rock Hill, the home of CSA Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Memminger) -- and the St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church. Today, Flat Rock is the site of the main campus of Blue Ridge Community College.

Law and government[edit]

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:

  1. Charles (Charlie) D. Messer (Chairman)
  2. Thomas (Tommy) (Vice-Chairman)
  3. Grady Hawkins
  4. Michael Edney
  5. Larry Young

The County Manager is Steve Wyatt. The Henderson County Planning Department publishes statistical information about the county every October.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 375 square miles (971.2 km2), of which 373 square miles (966.1 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.28%) is water.[5] 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.

Henderson County Elevation

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 5,129
1850 6,853 33.6%
1860 10,448 52.5%
1870 7,706 −26.2%
1880 10,281 33.4%
1890 12,589 22.4%
1900 14,104 12.0%
1910 16,262 15.3%
1920 18,248 12.2%
1930 23,404 28.3%
1940 26,049 11.3%
1950 30,921 18.7%
1960 36,163 17.0%
1970 42,804 18.4%
1980 58,580 36.9%
1990 69,285 18.3%
2000 89,173 28.7%
2010 106,740 19.7%
Est. 2012 108,266 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census of 2010, there were 106,740 people, 45,180 households, and 28,613 families residing in the county. The population density was 275.83 people per square mile (92/km²). There were 42,996 housing units at an average density of 115 per square mile (44/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.5% White, 3.3% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.8% Asian, and .9% from two or more races. 8.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The county has seen a marked increase in its Hispanic population segment and Hispanic culture in recent decades, and has also shared in the higher immigration from the countries of the former USSR experienced by neighboring Buncombe County. The influx of retirees from other U.S. states remains strong.

There were 42,205 households out of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 22% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.80% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males. Henderson County is characterized by an exceptionally large retiree population.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,013 and the median income for a family was $44,974. Males had a median income of $31,845 versus $23,978 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,500. About 6.80% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.50% of those under age 18 and 8.30% of those age 65 or over.


Unaffiliated: 44%
Baptist: 23%
Methodist: 5%
Catholic: 4%
Presbyterian: 3%
Anglican: 2%
Seventh Day Adventist: 2%
Lutheran: 1%
Pentecostal: 1%
Other: 15%


Henderson County is located in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina. The present incumbent is a Republican. Both the Henderson County Republican Party and the Henderson County Democratic Party are active, and have their offices in the County seat, Hendersonville. In 2008, there was a vigorous election battle, which witnessed a Democratic surge in what has been historically a strongly Republican area. Possible reasons for this movement away from the Republican Party may include the large influx into the County in recent years of retirees and young professionals from outside the State, as well as the growing economic concerns of the County's largely rural population.

Political news and civic affairs are covered by the county's daily newspaper, the Times-News of Hendersonville.

Cities and towns[edit]

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

Henderson County currently has five incorporated towns/cities: Hendersonville, Fletcher, Flat Rock, Laurel Park and Mills River.

Of these five, only Hendersonville—the county seat—possesses the typical characteristics of a dense urban center, and has the largest population. The other municipalities are less urban in character and were created for the purpose of preserving specific cultural/historic areas, and to prevent annexation by adjoining towns and cities. Fletcher, a Henderson County community of long standing, was incorporated in 1989 to head off annexation by municipalities in adjoining Buncombe County. Mills River, the county's newest town and also the largest by area, was incorporated in 2003.


The county is officially divided into nine electoral townships: Blue Ridge, Clear Creek, Crab Creek, Edneyville, Fletcher, Green River, Hendersonville, Hoopers Creek, and Mills River. Of these nine, the city of Hendersonville, the town of Fletcher, and the town of Mills River are constituted as incorporated municipalities. The villages of Flat Rock and the town of Laurel Park, are the other two municipalities in the county. Mills River and Flat Rock are the newest and Flat Rock use the Mayor/ counsel system, whereas the other four municipalities use a counsel / manager system.

Climate and agriculture[edit]

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 North Carolina Apple Festival, held each year around Labor Day, and culminating in the "King Apple Parade" attended by tens of thousands of spectators.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 154. 
  4. ^ "Henderson County Annual Profile of Statistical Information". County of Henderson. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.city-data.com/county/religion/Henderson-County-NC.html
  8. ^ "Events". North Carolina Apple Festival. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jody Barber and Louise Howe Bailey, Hendersonville and Henderson County: A Pictorial History. Norfolk, VA: Donning Co., 1988.
  • James T. Fain, Henderson County — The Past 137 Years: A Chronicle of the History of Hendersonville and Henderson County Featuring Original Photographs Depicting our Area and its People. Hendersonville, NC: Times-News Co., 1976.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°20′N 82°29′W / 35.34°N 82.48°W / 35.34; -82.48