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Mitchell County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 15,579. Its county seat
The county is home to the "Mineral City of the World", Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain which includes the world's largest natural rhododendron garden, and the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian range.
It was named in honor of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina. While on an exploring expedition of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, Dr. Mitchell fell and was killed. He was buried on the top of this lofty mountain.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Mitchell was formed in 1861 from Yancey, Watauga, Caldwell, Burke and McDowell counties. It was named in honor of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina. While on an exploring expedition of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, Dr. Mitchell fell and was killed. He was buried on the top of this lofty mountain. It is in the western section of the State and is bounded by the state of Tennessee and Avery, McDowell and Yancey counties. The present land area is 221.43 square miles and the 2000 population was 15,687. The first court was ordered to be held at Eben Child's. Commissioners were named to acquire the land, establish a town by the name of Calhoun, and erect a courthouse in Calhoun. They maintained it was inconvenient to three-fourths of the citizens. They said the matter should, therefore, be referred to the Assembly. In 1862 an act was passed authorizing the people to decide by ballot for Calhoun, or for Davis as the county seat. In 1863 an act was passed which stipulated that the county seat should be located at the geographical center of the county by actual survey and measurements. In 1863 the justices met and unanimously agreed that Norman's Hill should be selected as the county seat. From 1861-1866 commissioners were appointed to acquire the land and lay out a town. At the regular September term, 1866, held at Davis, the commissioners reported that they had acquired 29 acres of land and sold the lots. In 1868 the county seat was changed from Davis to Bakersville. Bakersville was incorporated in 1870 and is the county seat.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 222 square miles (570 km2), of which 221 square miles (570 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in North Carolina by land area and second-smallest by total area. The northwest sections of county border the State of Tennessee. Sections of both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail are located in the county. Parts of the Pisgah National Forest and Roan Mountain State Park are located in the northern sections of the county.
Bordering counties are as follows:
Mitchell High School is a comprehensive four-year high school (9-12) centrally located in the community of Ledger when built in 1978.
Spruce Pine is home to three schools: Greenlee Primary (K-2), Deyton Elementary (3-5) and Harris Middle (6-8). Bakersville is home to two schools: Gouge Primary (K-4) and Bowman Middle (5-8).
Mayland Community College also calls Mitchell County home. Founded by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1971, Mayland hosts some 35 curriculum programs and provides vocational and technical training, along with college transfer opportunities to residents of the region.
Penland School of Crafts is a world-renowned educational facility located in the Penland Community. It is designed to educate students who will apply workable knowledge in creation of books, paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood.