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Henderson County, North Carolina

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Image:Map of North Carolina highlighting Henderson County.png

Henderson County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population is 89,173. Its county seat is Hendersonville6.


Contents

History

The county was formed in 1838 from the southern part of Buncombe County. It was named for Leonard Henderson, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1829 to 1833.

In 1855 parts of Henderson County and Rutherford County were combined to form Polk County, and in 1861 parts of Henderson County and Jackson County were combined to form Transylvania County.

Henderson County contributed approximately 1,000 soldiers to the Confederate States Army out of its approximately 10,000 population. According to some reports, an equal number of soldiers served in the Union forces, but this is unconfirmed.

Henderson County government was centered in the historic Courthouse (erected 1905) on Main Street, until this structure was replaced by the new Courthouse (c. 1995) on Grove Street.

Henderson County was once a major center of apple culture, though it is now declining, and many of the orchards are being converted into housing developments. Apples require extensive winter chilling, and do not tolerate summer heat and humidity well, so Henderson County, with its cooler climate due to its elevation represents about the southern limit for commercial apple growing.

Law and government

Henderson County is a member of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of governments.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 971 km² (375 mi²). 969 km² (374 mi²) of it is land and 3 km² (1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.28% water. The county's largest body of water is Lake Summit, a reservoir impounded by the Duke Power Company for hydroelectric generation.

Henderson County is a county in North Carolina's Mountain region, but is characterized by an extensive plateau along the French Broad and Mills River valleys. The county seat is situated in a bowl surrounded by mountains. The lowest point in the county is to be found along the Rocky Broad River at approximately 1,200 feet, and the high point is located on Young Pisgah Mountain at approximately 5,200 feet. The county's major streams are the French Broad River, Green River, Little River, Mud Creek, Clear Creek, Cane Creek and Hungry River.

Townships

The county is divided into eight townships: Blue Ridge, Clear Creek, Crab Creek, Edneyville, Green River, Hendersonville, Hoopers Creek, and Mills River.

Adjacent Counties

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 89,173 people, 37,414 households, and 26,339 families residing in the county. The population density is 92/km² (238/mi²). There are 42,996 housing units at an average density of 44/km² (115/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 92.52% White, 3.06% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.51% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 5.47% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The county contains a large but undefined illegal immigrant population, predominantly Mexican in origin, but also coming from other Latin American countries and also countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Illegal residents living in Henderson County may number over 5,000. Interestingly, today Russian is the second-largest foreign language in use in Western North Carolina (primarily Asheville and vicinity), after Spanish.

There are 37,414 households out of which 26.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% are married couples living together, 8.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.60% are non-families. 25.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.40% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.33 and the average family size is 2.78.

In the county the population is spread out with 20.80% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 25.10% from 45 to 64, and 21.70% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 43 years. For every 100 females there are 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.50 males. Henderson County is characterized by its exceptionally large retiree population. Its demographics are comparable to some of the top retiree destinations in Florida, producing a pronounced deviation in favor of the 65 and older population in public policy and accommodation.

The median income for a household in the county is $38,109, and the median income for a family is $44,974. Males have a median income of $31,845 versus $23,978 for females. The per capita income for the county is $21,110. 9.70% of the population and 6.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 14.50% of those under the age of 18 and 8.30% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities and towns

Henderson County currently has five incorporated towns/cities: Hendersonville, Fletcher, Flat Rock, Laurel Park and Mills River. Of these, only Hendersonville, the county seat, possesses the typical characteristics of a dense urban center with significant population. The other incorporations, particularly Mills River and Flat Rock, were created for the purpose of preserving specific cultural/historic areas, and to prevent annexation by aggressive adjoining urban areas. Fletcher is the most "urban" of the remaining areas, but was also formed to avoid annexation by municipalities in adjoining Buncombe County.

Apples have been the traditional agricultural crop in Henderson County, especially since World War II, but are today being superseded by land development (for housing) and light industrial development. However, the tradition of honoring the local apple industry persists in the county's annual Apple Festival, held each year around Labor Day, and culminating in the "King Apple Parade" attended by tens of thousands of spectators.


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