Elkin, North Carolina

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Elkin, North Carolina
Soda fountain, downtown Elkin, 2007
Soda fountain, downtown Elkin, 2007
Location of Elkin, North Carolina
Location of Elkin, North Carolina
Coordinates: 36°15′28″N 80°51′5″W / 36.25778°N 80.85139°W / 36.25778; -80.85139Coordinates: 36°15′28″N 80°51′5″W / 36.25778°N 80.85139°W / 36.25778; -80.85139
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Surry, Wilkes
 • Mayor Lestine Hutchens
 • Town Manager Lloyd Payne
 • Total 6.3 sq mi (16.4 km2)
 • Land 6.3 sq mi (16.2 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 906 ft (276 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,001
 • Density 640/sq mi (240/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28621
Area code(s) 336
FIPS code 37-20620[1]
GNIS feature ID 0984711[2]
Website www.elkinnc.org

Elkin is a town in Surry and Wilkes counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina, along the Yadkin River. Elkin shares its name with the surrounding township of Elkin Township. The population was 4,001 at the 2010 census.


Elkin is located at 36°15′28″N 80°51′5″W / 36.25778°N 80.85139°W / 36.25778; -80.85139 (36.257709, -80.851296).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.4 km²), of which, 6.3 square miles (16.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.10%) is water.

Elkin is approximately 15 minutes south of Stone Mountain State Park, and 20 minutes to the entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway off of Hwy 21 (heading towards Sparta). Elkin enjoys mild weather patterns and extremely clean air. Its downtown is also situated along the Yadkin River, and offers a paddlers boat ramp and small camp site.

There are also numerous vineyards in the Elkin area, and the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is held each May at the Elkin Municipal Park, which is situated along Big Elkin Creek, which feeds into the Yadkin River.

Trails are abundant in Elkin, including the Overmountain Victory Trail, the NC Mountains to Sea Trail, and the Yadkin River Trail, to name a few, and Elkin is considered an official "Trail Town".


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 137
1890 288 110.2%
1900 860 198.6%
1910 886 3.0%
1920 1,195 34.9%
1930 2,357 97.2%
1940 2,734 16.0%
1950 2,842 4.0%
1960 2,868 0.9%
1970 2,899 1.1%
1980 2,858 −1.4%
1990 3,790 32.6%
2000 4,109 8.4%
2010 4,001 −2.6%
Est. 2014 4,001 [4] 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,109 people, 1,690 households, and 1,051 families residing in the town. The population density was 655.7 people per square mile (253.0/km²). There were 1,854 housing units at an average density of 295.8 per square mile (114.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 84.11% White, 7.23% African American, 0.02% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 6.81% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.43% of the population.

There were 1,690 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $31,698, and the median income for a family was $38,667. Males had a median income of $29,514 versus $22,108 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,123. About 6.3% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.


The flowing together of the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek has drawn people to the area of what is now Elkin, since the coming of the Paleo-Indians 10,000 years ago. The Sioux Indians settled along the Yadkin River as early as 500 BC. The first English colonists came in the mid-eighteenth century with some from Irish. Cherokee Indians were also in the area, although the Cherokees had been active in the French and Indian War, they had joined in treaties with the English in 1763, followed by the events of the American Revolution.

Alexander Chatham opened a small woolen mill in 1877 that grew to become Elkin’s largest industry for many decades, but as other mills in the area it has dwindled. The Northwestern North Carolina Railroad arrived in 1890; the town was ready to take the opportunities the railroad brought for commercial and industrial expansion. It’s strategic location near the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek and as a stop on the railroad caused prosperity that produced brick stores, many industries, and fine houses.

The beginning of industry with the cotton mill, the Civil War involvement, the coming of the railroad, the town’s coping with the depression of the Thirties, and the two world wars heavily influenced the town's development.

Cedar Point, Downtown Elkin Historic District, Gwyn Avenue-Bridge Street Historic District, and the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, (former) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]


Elkin had the biggest cruising community on the east coast during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. USA Today once featured Elkin and its cruisers on the front page of the national news paper. However, a crackdown by local police in the late 1990s completely wiped out the once-vibrant weekend cruising scene leaving downtown Elkin deserted on weekend nights.

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, cruising life returned to downtown Elkin for the first time in almost 20 years. A fundraiser was held to raise money to restore the historic Reeves Theater in downtown Elkin. For a $5 donation, participants would be given a decal for their car and then be allowed cruise the former downtown cruising loop. Many people both young and old participated, with many parents who were cruisers in their younger days bringing their children out to show them how fun downtown Elkin used to be.

In 2012, Cruise! events became a summertime monthly event and continue each year. Cruise events involve parking along Main Street as well as cruising around the downtown streets. Events are scheduled May through August each year. Many shops and restaurants stay open for the crowds. The event starts around 3 pm and lasts till around 9 pm. For information and other events downtown, go to www.downtownelkin.com.


Elkin is served by the Elkin City Schools system. It operates an elementary school (grades 1–6) with a population of approximately 700, a middle school (grades 7–8) and a high school (grades 9–12) with approximately 384 students. The high school has had new developments made to the building; the construction of the new science, math, and CTE programs completed in the 2006–2007 school year, leaving construction of the English and history building to be completed later on.

Elkin High School athletics is one of the most renowned 1A programs in the state. The football program captured state titles in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006. They also won one in 1967 as a 3A program. Elkin High has also produced numerous fencing, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and wrestling state championships.



Interstate 77 passes along the eastern side of Elkin.

U.S. Highway 21 passes through Elkin.


The town is served by Elkin Municipal Airport.

Commercial flights are available through Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Local media[edit]


The Tribune, a community newspaper published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, provides coverage of Elkin as well as nearby Jonesville and parts of Wilkes County and Yadkin County. The Winston-Salem Journal and Mount Airy News, larger daily newspapers, also cover Surry County.


WIFM 100.9 FM radio station broadcasts from 813 N. Bridge Street in Elkin.

Elkin is part of the Piedmont Triad radio and television market, but many broadcasts from the Charlotte market also can be received.


External links[edit]