Canton, North Carolina

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Canton, North Carolina
Official seal of Canton, North Carolina
"Where the mountains kiss the sky"
Location of Canton, North Carolina
Location of Canton, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°32′5″N 82°50′15″W / 35.53472°N 82.83750°W / 35.53472; -82.83750Coordinates: 35°32′5″N 82°50′15″W / 35.53472°N 82.83750°W / 35.53472; -82.83750
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • Total3.78 sq mi (9.78 km2)
 • Land3.78 sq mi (9.78 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
2,615 ft (797 m)
 • Total4,227
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,120/sq mi (432.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)828
FIPS code37-10240[2]
GNIS feature ID1019518[3]

Canton is the second largest town in Haywood County, North Carolina, United States. It is located about 17 miles (27 km) west of Asheville and is part of that city's metropolitan area. The town is named after the city of Canton, Ohio. The population was 4,227 at the 2010 census.[4]


Champion factory in 1937

The area was first settled in the late 1780s. By 1790 Jonathan McPeters was farming the banks of the Pigeon River where Canton now stands.[5] Around 1815 the first church was built in what was to become Canton; it was called the Locust Old Field Baptist Church.[6]

Canton was founded in 1889 as "Buford". Later that same year the name was changed to "Vinson". The name was changed to "Pigeon Ford" in 1891 and to "Canton" in 1893. The town was named for Canton, Ohio, the source of the steel for the bridge over the Pigeon River.

Canton was the site of a Champion International Paper factory, the largest employer in Canton. Upon Champion's decision to close the plant in 1997, the employees of Champion purchased the plant and formed Blue Ridge Paper Company.[7] Under an ESOP, the employees owned a 45% stake in the new company, although it has since been sold. The plant is now owned by Evergreen Packaging. The Blue Ridge Southern Railroad switches the plant and has a small yard right next to the plant.

The Canton Main Street Historic District and Colonial Theater are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Canton is in east-central Haywood County, on both sides of the Pigeon River. U.S. Routes 19 and 23 pass through the center of town as Park Street and Main Street. The highways lead east 17 miles (27 km) to Asheville and west 7 miles (11 km) to Lake Junaluska. Interstate 40 passes through the northernmost part of Canton, with access from Exits 31 and 33. I-40 leads east to Asheville and northwest through the Pigeon River Gorge into Tennessee.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town of Canton has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), all of it recorded as land.[4]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20164,252[1]0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 4,029 people, 1,819 households, and 1,118 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,054.6 people per square mile (407.2/km²). There were 2,003 housing units at an average density of 524.3 per square mile (202.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.13% White, 1.59% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.94% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.41% of the population.

There were 1,819 households out of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the town, the population was spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 23.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,775, and the median income for a family was $38,191. Males had a median income of $28,792 versus $22,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,995. About 9.5% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.6% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


  • Pisgah High School
  • Canton Middle School
  • North Canton Elementary
  • Bethel Middle School
  • Bethel Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Elementary
  • Bethel Christian Academy



  1. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Canton town, North Carolina". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  5. ^ Blackmun, Ora (1977). Western North Carolina: Its Mountains and Its People to 1880. Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press. p. 161. OCLC 2646301.
  6. ^ (Blackmun 1977, p. 181)
  7. ^ "Olmsted: the successful venture". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  8. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.

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