Transylvania County Courthouse in Brevard
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
|Named for||The Transylvania Company|
|• Total||381 sq mi (990 km2)|
|• Land||379 sq mi (980 km2)|
|• Water||2.0 sq mi (5 km2) 0.5%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||87/sq mi (34/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
The NC General Assembly apportioned Transylvania County on February 15, 1861, from lands previously attributed to neighboring Jackson and Henderson counties; it was named by representative Joseph P. Jordan. Prior to the early 20th century, an overwhelming majority of Transylvania County’s residents subsisted through agriculture, often growing basic staples such as potatoes and cabbage.
Beginning in the early 20th century with Joseph Silverstein’s tannery, a manufacturing economy began to emerge in the county relying on timber and related products harvested from the Pisgah National Forest. In the 1930s, Harry Straus opened a paper mill in the Pisgah Forest area, and by the mid-20th century Straus' Ecusta Paper manufacturing site provided jobs to over 3,000 local residents. During the peak industrial years of the 1950s, DuPont located one of its factories in the county, employing nearly 1,000 more residents.
In the following decades, Brevard College and its namesake town each grew at an unprecedented rate, and Brevard Music Center and its summer Brevard Music Festival began to attract musicians and enthusiasts from around the country to Transylvania County.
Since the later part of the 20th century, Transylvania County has experienced a change in its economic base as many of the manufacturing operations that once operated there, including Ecusta and DuPont, either went defunct or left the United States for more favorable business conditions abroad. Since that time, the county has worked to reshape its economy around the growing Appalachian summer and winter tourism industry.
Transylvania County contains the primary headwaters of the French Broad River, locally referred to as North Fork, West Fork, East Fork, & Middle Fork. Due to the county's northern and western boundaries all following mountain ridges, all of these tributaries originally start from sources within the county. The French Broad flows primarily east and northward through the county into Henderson County.
The Northern border of the county follows the ridge line proximate to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the southern border mostly follows the Eastern Continental Divide, from the border of Henderson County and South Carolina, westward to near US 178, and continues westward to Jackson County. The headwaters for Lake Toxaway lie south of the Eastern Continental Divide, becoming the Toxaway River, descending rapidly through Gorges State Park and into Lake Jocassee in the southern edge of the county. This area known as the Cane Brake is difficult to access from the North Carolina side due to the steep slope of the trails within the Gorges State Park, but can be reached more easily via the Foothills Trail from South Carolina.
There are over 250 waterfalls in the county. Receiving over 90 inches of rain annually, Transylvania County is the wettest county in the state. This is contrasted with Buncombe County, which is thirty miles northeast of Transylvania County receiving the lowest precipitation. The Blue Ridge Parkway traverses through parts of the county, and has views of the Appalachian Mountains, which reach over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) elevation in the county. The highest point, Chestnut Knob, 6,025 feet (1,836 m), lies northwest of the county seat Brevard.
- Henderson County - east
- Greenville County, South Carolina - southeast
- Pickens County, South Carolina - south
- Oconee County, South Carolina - southwest
- Jackson County - west
- Haywood County - northwest
- Buncombe County - northeast
National protected areas
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 33,090 people, 14,394 households, and 8,660 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 people per square mile (30/km²). There were 15,553 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.4% White, 3.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, and 1.12% from two or more races. 2.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 12,320 households out of which 25.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.74.
In the county, the population was spread out with 20.40% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 23.10% from 25 to 44, 26.90% from 45 to 64, and 21.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,587, and the median income for a family was $45,579. Males had a median income of $31,743 versus $21,191 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,767. About 6.60% of families and 9.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.80% of those under age 18 and 7.00% of those age 65 or over.
- Brevard (county seat)
- Cathey's Creek
- Dunn's Rock
- Little River
- Balsam Grove
- Cathey's Creek
- Cedar Mountain
- Connestee Falls
- Dunn's Rock
- Lake Toxaway
- Little River
- Pisgah Forest
Transylvania Regional Hospital (TRH), was formed in 1933 with the mission to serve the health care needs of this community. A 94-bed facility, fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), Transylvania Regional Hospital offers comprehensive services through more than 120 active, consulting and courtesy physicians representing a full spectrum of specialties.
Politics, law and government
At present Transylvania is a solidly Republican county, although much less so than the vast majority of Appalachia. No Democratic presidential nominee has carried Transylvania County since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976; although, even Hillary Clinton obtained nearly forty percent of Transylvania’s vote. Among the 29 western North Carolina counties, only Buncombe, Jackson, and Watauga gave Clinton a larger percentage of the total vote.
Transylvania County has a council-manager form of government, with a five-member Board of Commissioners elected at large. The Commissioners hire and supervise a separate County Manager. The current County Manager is Jaime Laughter. The current members of the Board of Commissioners are Mike Hawkins (chairman), David Guice (vice-chairman), Jason Chappell, Page Lemel, and Will Cathey.
Transylvania County is a member of the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of governments.
The current mayor of Brevard is Jimmy Harris. The current mayor of Rosman is Brian Shelton.
Points of interest
- Biltmore Forest School, first school of forestry in North America
- Blue Ridge Community College, Transylvania campus
- Brevard Music Center
- Brevard College
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- DuPont State Forest
- Gorges State Park
- Lake Toxaway
- Looking Glass Falls
- Pisgah National Forest
- Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
- Transylvania Arts Council
- Transylvania County Schools
- Brevard Little Theater 
- Sliding Rock 
- Nantahala National Forest 
- Whitewater Falls, highest waterfall in North Carolina
- "State & County QuickFacts".
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- du Toit, Threlkel, Brian, Susan. "1861-1911 Timeline". Transylvania Heritage Museum. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
- "Transylvania County Sesquicentennial Video". YouTube. 2011.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "Feature Detail Report for: French Broad River". US Geological Survey. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
- Watson, Melissa (2011). Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina: A Guide to the State's Best Waterfall Hikes. FalconGuides. pp. 80–84. ISBN 978-0762771509.
- Thomas, Bill (1998). The North Carolina Sierra Club's guide to the Jocassee Gorges: Horsepasture, Bearwallow, & Toxaway Region. pp. 5–8.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- "About Our County | Transylvania County". www.transylvaniacounty.org. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- "Transylvania County Schools / Homepage". www.tcsnc.org. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- "» Outdoor adventure and recreation in Brevard WNC, Transylvania County the Land of waterfalls Visit Brevard NC". brevardnc.com. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- HendersonvilleNews.com - The Times-News Online
- Cradle of Forestry In America website
- Transylvania County government website
- Transylvania County Library
- Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
- Waterfalls in Transylvania County
- NCGenWeb Transylvania County - free genealogy resources for the county
-  - Free Insider Guide to Brevard and Transylvania County
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