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North Carolina Counties

North Carolina is divided into one hundred counties. The establishment of North Carolina counties stretches over 240 years, beginning in 1668 with the creation of Albemarle County and ending with the 1911 creation of Avery and Hoke counties. Five counties have been divided or abolished altogether, the last being Dobbs County in 1791.

Polk County, North Carolina

Polk County Education, Geography, and HistoryPolk County, North Carolina Courthouse

Polk County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 20,510. Its county seat is Columbus. The county was formed in 1855 from parts of Henderson County and Rutherford County. It was named for William Polk, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War.

Etymology - Origin of Polk County Name

It was named in honor of Colonel William Polk "who rendered distinguished service in the Battles of Germantown, Brandywine and Eutaw, in all of which he was wounded."


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Polk County History

Polk was formed in 1855 from Rutherford and Henderson. It was named in honor of Colonel William Polk "who rendered distinguished service in the Battles of Germantown, Brandywine and Eutaw, in all of which he was wounded." It is in the southwestern section of the State and is bounded by the State of South Carolina and Henderson and Rutherford counties. The present land area is 237.85 square miles and the 2000 population was 18,324. The act directed that the court and records should be kept at the home of J. Mills until a courthouse could be erected. It also named commissioners to obtain a site for public buildings, lay out a town by the name of Columbus, and erect a courthouse. Columbus is the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 239 square miles (620 km2), of which 238 square miles (620 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is the fifth-smallest county in North Carolina by total area.

The county's largest body of water is Lake Adger, located about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Columbus.

The elevation in the county ranges from just under 800 feet (240 m) near the confluence of the Green River and Broad River to over 3,200 feet (980 m) on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur, the highest peak in the county. Polk County is divided into two physiographic regions; the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western third of the county and Piedmont for the eastern two-thirds. Since it is in a transition zone between the two regions, Polk County is often referred to as being in the foothills.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Rutherford County - northeast
  • Spartanburg County, South Carolina - south-southeast
  • Greenville County, South Carolina - south-southwest\
  • Henderson County - west


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