North Carolina Counties
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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.

Gaston County, North Carolina

Gaston County Education, Geography, and HistoryGaston County, North Carolina Courthouse

Gaston County is a county in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 206,086. The county seat is Gastonia. Dallas served as the original county seat from 1846 until 1911.

Gaston County is included in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the third largest county in the metropolitan area, behind Mecklenburg County and York County, SC. it is located in the southern Piedmont region.

Etymology - Origin of Gaston County Name

It was named in honor of William Gaston, a member of Congress and a Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Gaston County History

Gaston was formed in 1846 from Lincoln. It was named in honor of William Gaston, a member of Congress and a Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. It is in the southwestern section of the State and is bounded by the state of South Carolina and Cleveland, Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties. The present land area is 356.21 square miles and the 2000 population was 190,304. The court was ordered to be held at the home of Jesse Holland until a courthouse could be erected. Commissioners were named to select a site for the county seat as near the center of the county as possible provided it was within two miles of Long Creek Baptist Meeting House. They were to acquire land, lay out a town by the name of Dallas, and erect a courthouse. Dallas continued to be the county seat until 1909 when Gastonia was, by popular vote, selected as the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 364 square miles (940 km2), of which 356 square miles (920 km2) is land and 8.1 square miles (21 km2) (2.2%) is water. It belongs to the southern Piedmont physiographic province.

Most of Gaston County is in the drainage basin of the Catawba River, except for small areas along the western edge of the county which are in the basin of the Broad River. Both the Catawba and Broad Rivers are in the greater Santee River basin. The Catawba forms the eastern border of the county and much of the central part of the county is in the drainage basin of its right tributary, the South Fork Catawba River. The county is located in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina, which consists of gently rolling terrain frequently broken by hills, river and creek valleys, and low, isolated mountain ridges. The highest point in Gaston County is King's Pinnacle, a rocky monadnock which sharply rises over 800 feet (240 m) above the city of Gastonia. King's Pinnacle rises 1,690 feet (520 m) above sea level, and is part of Crowders Mountain State Park.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Lincoln County - north
  • Mecklenburg County - east
  • York County, South Carolina - south
  • Cleveland County - west


Public education in Gaston County is administered by the Gaston County Schools public school system. Gaston County Schools has 54 public schools, including 9 high schools, 11 middle schools, 32 elementary schools, one alternative school (middle and high school age), and one separate school (Webb Street School in Gastonia) serving students ages 3 to 22 with moderate to severe disabilities.

Gaston County has three charter schools: Highland Charter (K - 5) and Piedmont Community Charter School (K - 12) in Gastonia, and Mountain Island Charter School (K - 8) in Mount Holly.

There are two colleges in Gaston County. Gaston College is a community college located in Dallas offering associate degree, Certificate, and Diploma programs. Belmont Abbey College is a Roman Catholic Liberal Arts College located in Belmont.

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