Alexander County
County of Alexander
The Brushy Mountains in Alexander County
The Brushy Mountains in Alexander County
Flag of Alexander County
Official seal of Alexander County
Official logo of Alexander County
Motto(s): 
"A wonderful place to live, work and play."
Map of North Carolina highlighting Alexander County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°55′N 81°11′W / 35.92°N 81.18°W / 35.92; -81.18
Country United States
State North Carolina
Founded1847
Named forWilliam Julius Alexander[1]
SeatTaylorsville
Largest communityBethlehem
Area
 • Total264 sq mi (680 km2)
 • Land260 sq mi (700 km2)
 • Water3.7 sq mi (10 km2)  1.4%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2021)
36,644
 • Density141/sq mi (54/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district5th
Websitealexandercountync.gov

Alexander County is a county established in the U.S. state of North Carolina in 1847. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 36,444.[2] Its county seat is Taylorsville.[3][4] Alexander County is part of the HickoryLenoirMorganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Alexander County was formed in 1847 from portions of what were then Iredell (formed in 1788 from Rowan County), Caldwell (formed from Burke County in 1841), and Wilkes (formed from Surry County and Washington District in 1771) counties.

Alexander County was named for William Julius Alexander who was a Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. This Piedmont area was settled primarily by farmers, many of Scots-Irish descent, as well as German descent in the southern section of Alexander County.[5][6]

Alexander County, North Carolina Map from 1854
Alexander County, North Carolina Map from 1854

The county was established by two acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, one ratified on January 15 and one ratified on January 18, 1847. These acts were not to take effect until it was determined that Caldwell County would have 5,000 people in it. On August 10–11, 1847, the first sale of land in the county seat (Taylorsville) took place. Taylorsville is the namesake of either John Louis Taylor, Carolina agriculturist and political philosopher, or General Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president of the United States. With the proceeds from the sale, the county built the first courthouse on the present site.[7]

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Alexander County was fourteen years old. The court house records in Taylorsville were destroyed by troops under Major General George Stoneman in a raid on Easter Sunday in 1865.[8]

The Alexander Railroad based in Taylorsville began in 1946, with one connection to Norfolk Southern in Statesville, North Carolina. The short line rail system operates between Taylorsville and Statesville.

Geography

Interactive map of Alexander County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 264 square miles (680 km2), of which 260 square miles (670 km2) is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) (1.4%) is water.[9]

Alexander County is located within the Foothills region of western North Carolina. The county's main geographic feature is the Brushy Mountains, a deeply eroded spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. The "Brushies," as they are called locally, rise from 300 to 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding countryside, and dominate the county's northern horizon. The highest point in Alexander County is Hickory Knob in the Brushies; it has an elevation of 2,560 feet (780 m) above sea level. Barrett Mountain, an isolated mountain ridge, is in the western part of the county. The remainder of Alexander County's terrain consists of gently rolling countryside. The county's largest river, the Catawba, forms its southern border.

Within Alexander County is the unincorporated town of Hiddenite, the location of a mine that yields emeralds, sapphires, and its namesake stone "hiddenite," a variety of spodumene.

The county is served by US Highway 64, a controlled-access roadway connecting Taylorsville with Lenoir and Statesville. NC Highways 90, 16, and 127 also serve the county. Interstate 40 and 77 are 30 minutes from the majority of county residents. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an hour's drive from most parts of the county. The area is also served by the Hickory Regional Airport (30 minutes) and the Statesville Airport (20 minutes). The Alexander Railroad Company is an active short-line rail system operating between Taylorsville and Statesville, and connecting with Norfolk Southern.

State and local protected area

Major water bodies

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Major infrastructure

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18505,220
18606,02215.4%
18706,86814.0%
18808,35521.7%
18909,43012.9%
190010,96016.2%
191011,5925.8%
192012,2125.3%
193012,9225.8%
194013,4544.1%
195014,5548.2%
196015,6257.4%
197019,46624.6%
198024,99928.4%
199027,54410.2%
200033,60322.0%
201037,19810.7%
202036,444−2.0%
2021 (est.)36,644[10]0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2014[15]
2020[16]

2020 census

Alexander County racial composition[17]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 30,893 84.77%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,919 5.27%
Native American 111 0.3%
Asian 390 1.07%
Pacific Islander 1 0.0%
Other/Mixed 1,294 3.55%
Hispanic or Latino 1,836 5.04%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 36,444 people, 14,169 households, and 10,232 families residing in the county.

2000 census

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 33,603 people, 13,137 households, and 9,747 families residing in the county. The population density was 129 people per square mile (50/km2). There were 14,098 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (21/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.00% White, 4.63% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 1.34% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,137 households, out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 21.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.50% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,684, and the median income for a family was $45,691. Males had a median income of $29,857 versus $21,868 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,507. About 5.90% of families and 8.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.20% of those under age 18 and 14.60% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

Alexander is currently a powerfully Republican county in Presidential elections. The only Democrat to carry the county in the past nineteen Presidential contests has been Jimmy Carter in 1976, although Barry Goldwater won the county by a mere thirty-eight votes in 1964. In contrast, Hillary Clinton in 2016 obtained barely twenty percent of the county's vote. The county did vote mainly Democratic during the Third Party System, but Populist sentiments in the 1890s have meant the county has supported the party only five times since 1896.

United States presidential election results for Alexander County, North Carolina[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 15,888 78.51% 4,145 20.48% 203 1.00%
2016 13,893 76.04% 3,767 20.62% 611 3.34%
2012 12,253 71.25% 4,611 26.81% 332 1.93%
2008 11,790 68.33% 5,167 29.95% 297 1.72%
2004 10,928 70.05% 4,618 29.60% 54 0.35%
2000 9,242 68.50% 4,166 30.88% 84 0.62%
1996 6,748 57.53% 3,955 33.72% 1,027 8.76%
1992 6,764 49.64% 4,849 35.59% 2,013 14.77%
1988 7,968 65.56% 4,148 34.13% 38 0.31%
1984 8,502 70.22% 3,581 29.58% 24 0.20%
1980 6,376 57.39% 4,546 40.92% 187 1.68%
1976 4,661 46.73% 5,287 53.00% 27 0.27%
1972 5,865 68.95% 2,468 29.01% 173 2.03%
1968 4,379 52.03% 1,834 21.79% 2,203 26.18%
1964 3,760 50.25% 3,722 49.75% 0 0.00%
1960 4,175 51.35% 3,956 48.65% 0 0.00%
1956 3,767 58.16% 2,710 41.84% 0 0.00%
1952 3,597 57.44% 2,665 42.56% 0 0.00%
1948 2,314 47.98% 2,057 42.65% 452 9.37%
1944 2,971 56.56% 2,282 43.44% 0 0.00%
1940 2,217 44.73% 2,739 55.27% 0 0.00%
1936 2,451 42.90% 3,262 57.10% 0 0.00%
1932 1,952 39.57% 2,953 59.86% 28 0.57%
1928 2,605 60.20% 1,722 39.80% 0 0.00%
1924 2,437 51.33% 2,291 48.25% 20 0.42%
1920 2,643 56.38% 2,045 43.62% 0 0.00%
1916 1,187 55.44% 954 44.56% 0 0.00%
1912 523 27.94% 852 45.51% 497 26.55%


Alexander County is a member of the regional Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

Communities

Map of Alexander County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Alexander County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels

Town

Townships

By the requirements of the North Carolina Constitution of 1868, counties were divided into non-functioning county subdivisions called townships. There are eight townships in Alexander County:[20][21]

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Unincorporated communities in Alexander County include:[21]

Population ranking

The population of cities, towns, and Census Designated Places (CDP) is shown in the following table is based on the 2021 Estimates of Alexander County.[23]

Population Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2021 Estimate)
1 Bethlehem CDP 4,468
2 Taylorsville (county seat) Town 2,298
3 Stony Point (partially in Iredell County) CDP 1,296
4 Hiddenite CDP 533

Historic post offices and other sites

Historical post offices that were part of Alexander County include:[21]

Other historic sites

Lucas Mansion in Hiddenite
Lucas Mansion in Hiddenite

See also

References

  1. ^ "Alexander County (1847)". www.northcarolinahistory.org. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Alexander County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Vocci, Robert Blair (2006). "Alexander County, North Carolina". NCPedia. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Crouse, Andrew Leonhardt (1905). Historical Sketches of Alexander County, North Carolina, Friendship Lutheran Church, Hopewell Reformed Church, and Charity Baptist Church, and of the Bowman and Fry Families. Hickory, North Carolina. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Martin, Jonathan. "Alexander County (1847)". North Carolina History Project. John Locke Foundation. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  7. ^ White, William E. (1926). Taylorsville Times (ed.). A History of Alexander County, North Carolina (PDF). Retrieved June 3, 2019., Alternate: "A History of Alexander County, North Carolina". Barnes Oxford Foundation. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Lewis, J.D. "Alexander County, North Carolina". The American Revolution in North Carolina. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Alexander County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 3, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Alexander County, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  17. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  20. ^ "North Carolina Constitution of 1868" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 8, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c Lewis, J.D. "Alexander County Post Offices". The American Revolution in North Carolina. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Alexander County Comprehensive Plan" (PDF). Alexander County Board of Commissioners. April 21, 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "Alexander County NC - Cities, Towns, Neighborhoods, & Subdivisions". northcarolina.hometownlocator.com. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  24. ^ "Linney's Mill". Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2019.

Coordinates: 35°55′N 81°11′W / 35.92°N 81.18°W / 35.92; -81.18