|Watauga County, North Carolina|
Location in the state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
313 sq mi (811 km²)
0 sq mi (0 km²), 0.07%
137/sq mi (53/km²)
The county was formed in 1849 from parts of Ashe County, Caldwell County, Wilkes County, and Yancey County. It was named for the Watauga River, whose name is said to be a Native American word meaning "beautiful water."
In 1861 parts of Watauga County, Burke County, Caldwell County, McDowell County, and Yancey County were combined to form Mitchell County. In 1911, parts of Watauga County, Caldwell County, and Mitchell County were combined to form Avery County.
Law and government
Watauga County is a member of the regional High Country Council of Governments.
Climate and Weather
As with most of North Carolina's High Country, the climate of Watauga County is considerably cooler and more drastic than other parts of the state. Dramatic and unexpected changes in the weather are not uncommon in the county, particularly when it comes to precipitation. Windy conditions, sudden temperature drops, and even freezing precipitation in late spring and early autumn is quite common. This is partly due to the elevation of the county, and partly due to orographic lifting, which causes precipitation to fall more readily in Watauga County than in lowland areas to the east. Snow and/or sleet has been reported in the county in every month of the year except for July. Windy conditions, also, tend to be amplified across the county due to the rugged terrain and high elevation. Many people have noted that the winters of Watauga County tend to resemble those of the northern United States instead of the South.
Watauga County elementary schools include:Cove Creek Elementary, Parkway Elementary, Hardin Park Elementary, Blowing Rock Elementary, Green Valley, Mabel, Bethel, and Valle Crucis Elementary; and one private school, Appalachian Christian School. Watauga has one high school, Watauga High. The high school has appx. 1400 students from around the county. The Watauga football team, the Pioneers, won the state championship in 1978; but since then, the farthest the team has gotten was the Final Four of the 4A Tournament in the 2006 season. The season was quite improbable with an 8-0 start for the pioneers. They beat the number 1 seeded A.C. Reynolds Rockets in the third round of the state playoffs by a score of 24-23, highlighting their historic run.
- The county produces heavy amounts of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees
- The growth of produce was once a mainstay in the agricultural economy of the county. Cabbage was once widely grown, so much so, that a sauerkraut plant was once located in Boone. The plant has long been closed. Boone Creek, the main creek that runs through Boone and the Appalachian State campus is still nicknamed Kraut Creek since it is said that the creek used to smell of sauerkraut juice coming out of the plant.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 810 km² (313 sq mi). 809 km² (313 sq mi) of it is land and 1 km² (0 sq mi) of it (0.07%) is water. Watauga County is extremely mountainous, and all of the county's terrain is located within the Appalachian Mountains range. The highest point in the county is Calloway Peak (shared with the adjacent counties of Avery and Caldwell), which rises to 5,964 feet (1,818 meters) above sea level. At an elevation of 5,506 feet (1,678 meters) above sea level, Beech Mountain is the highest incorporated community east of the Mississippi River. Boone, the county's largest city and county seat, has the highest elevation (3,266 feet) of any city over 10,000 population in the Eastern United States.
As a result of its relatively high elevation, Watauga County enjoys considerably cooler summers than most of the rest of the US. Likewise, winters are longer, harsher, and often much colder, with frequent sleet and snowfall, and blizzard-like conditions are not uncommon, especially at the higher elevations. Boone, NC Historical Climate Summary
The county government provides a GIS interface on the county website (see links below).
The county is divided into fifteen townships: Bald Mountain, Beaverdam, Blowing Rock, Blue Ridge, Boone, Brushy Fork, Cove Creek, Elk, Laurel Creek, Meat Camp, New River, North Fork, Shawneehaw, Stony Fork, and Watauga.
- Ashe County - northeast
- Wilkes County - east
- Caldwell County - south
- Avery County - southwest
- Johnson County - northwest
As of the census² of 2000, there were 42,695 people, 16,540 households, and 9,411 families residing in the county. The population density was 53/km² (137/sq mi). There were 23,155 housing units at an average density of 29/km² (74/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 96.45% White, 1.59% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 16,540 households out of which 23.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.40% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.10% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.80.
The age distribution is 16.30% under the age of 18, 27.80% from 18 to 24, 23.40% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. The overall age distribution and median age are greatly affected by the presence of Appalachian State University in Boone. For every 100 females there are 99.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,611, and the median income for a family was $45,508. Males had a median income of $29,135 versus $22,006 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,258. About 7.20% of families and 17.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.50% of those under age 18 and 10.60% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
No commercial airports or passenger train depots are nearby. A helipad is in service at the Watauga Medical Center. A small general aviation airstrip is located in Boone. Commercial airline passengers typically utilize the airports at Charlotte, Tri-Cities Tennessee, or Greensboro. Some visitors use Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which may have lower airfares on some routes, but is a considerable distance away.
- Watauga County government official website
- Cy Crumley ET&WNC Photo Collection
- Appalachian State University
- Appalachian State University Admissions
- Appalachian Student Ambassador Program
|This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Watauga County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.|