ALTITUDE: Elevations from 900-5,665 ft. Marion - 1,240 ft.
AREA: County - 436 sq. mi. Approx. 75% of land is forested, 67,000 acres of which is Pisgah National Forest lands. Lake James, the first lake on the Catawba River, was built in the 1920's and includes 150 miles of shoreline.
CLIMATE: Average humidity: 62%. Average annual rainfall: 52.32 in. Frost-free growing season: 192 days. Mean temperature: summer - 75 degrees; winter - 41.2 degrees.
HISTORY: McDowell County was organized in 1843 in Carson House (listed in National Register of Historic Places), a stagecoach inn whose famous visitors included Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston.
POPULATION (2010): Marion - 7,838, Old Fort - 903, County – 44,996
Percent change, 2000-10: 6.7%. Median age: 41.6 years. Density: 102 persons/sq.mi. [NC = 192 persons/sq.mi.] Distribution of population by race: White – 89.0% · Hispanic – 5.3% · Black – 3.8% · Other 1.9%
TAXES - Property (each per $100 property valuation):
· County - $0.55 · Marion - $0.51 · Old Fort - $0.37
· Township Fire District - $0.04-.08 (depends upon location)
· McDowell County Fire District - $0.0019
· Rescue Tax $0.0099
· Sales Tax: County-state combined: 6.75% (4.75% state, 2.0% local)
BANKS & CREDIT UNIONS: Asheville Savings Bank; Bank of America; Baxter Credit Union; Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T); Fifth Third; First Citizens Bank; McDowell Cornerstone Credit Union; Mountain 1st; State Employees Credit Union; United Services Credit Union; Wells Fargo
CHURCHES: Over 150 Protestant churches, predominantly Baptist; one Catholic church (Marion).
EDUCATION: Consolidated system (central office: 828-652-4535): One high school, two junior highs, eight elementary, two pre-schools (ages 3-4). McDowell Tech.Community College, tel. 652-6021: Two-year associate degree programs; also continuing adult education courses and transfer program to four-year schools.
Within 1.5 hrs.: • State universities: University of N.C - Asheville; Western Carolina Univ. -Cullowhee; Appalachian State Univ. -Boone. • Private colleges (4-yr.): Brevard College - Brevard; Gardner-Webb University - Boiling Springs; Lees-McRae College- Banner Elk; Lenoir-Rhyne College -Hickory;Mars Hill College -Mars Hill; Montreat College -Montreat
HOSPITAL/HEALTH CARE: The McDowell Hospital, 65 beds, tel. 828-659-5000. Emergency Medical Services (EMS); Rescue Squad; McDowell County Health Dept.; Foothills Mental Health Center.
LIBRARY: Main Branch - corner of Logan & W. Court streets, downtown Marion; tel. 828-652-3858. Old Fort Branch - Catawba Ave; tel. 828-668-7111. Mobile unit serving outlying areas.
MANUFACTURING: 34 major industries, inc. pharmaceuticals, precision metals, furniture, textiles and lumber. Total manufacturing employment is approx. 40% of labor force.
Newspapers: McDowell News, Mon.Sun. Tel. 652-3313/www.mcdowellnews.com; Regional: News stand sales of Asheville Citizen-Times, and Charlotte Observer, both published seven days/week.
Radio: WBRM - 1250 AM. Tel. 652-9500/Fax 652-9700; WMXF-104.3 FM. Tel. 828-659-9693/Fax 659-9693 (call first); Regional: Numerous stations, including two public radio/NPR.
Television: Major networks and cable channels.
RECREATION: McDowell Co. YMCA. Tel. 659-9622. Opened March 2003. County parks & recreation dept. (tel. 652-3001) provides three ball fields, two swimming pools, two basketball courts, five tennis courts and several youth/adult leagues. Private recreation includes three water slides/swimming pools, four ball fields, putt-putt golf, bowling and batting cages. Lake James activities include swimming, skiing, boat ramps, canoeing.
STATE PARKS: Lake James State Park: Tel. 584-7728. Exit 90 from I-40. 585 acres, Two sections: 585 acres and 2900 acres. Camping, picknicking, bathhouse, hiking trails, boat ramp and dock, seasonal canoe rentals.Mount Mitchell State Park: Tel. 675-4611. Milepost 355.6 from Blue Ridge Pkwy. 1,469 acres, 11 primitive campsites, hiking trails, observation tower, museum, restaurant. Highest peak in eastern U.S. (6,684 ft.).
TRANSPORTATION: Freight - Two rail lines (Norfolk-Southern, CSX Rail); 15 motor freight carriers. Air - Shiflet Field, 3600' lighted grass runway; commercial air flights at Asheville and Hickory (both within 1 hr.) and Charlotte (within 2 hrs.) Major routes: I-40 east-west; US 221 south-north; NC 226 south-north; US 70 east-west. District N.C. Dept. of Transportation office: Tel. 828-652-3344.