Burnsville, North Carolina
Burnsville Town Square
Location of Burnsville, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°55′02″N 82°18′03″W / 35.91722°N 82.30083°W / 35.91722; -82.30083Coordinates: 35°55′02″N 82°18′03″W / 35.91722°N 82.30083°W / 35.91722; -82.30083[1]
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • Total1.60 sq mi (4.14 km2)
 • Land1.60 sq mi (4.14 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation2,825 ft (861 m)
 • Total1,693
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,029.38/sq mi (397.36/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)828
FIPS code37-09140[4]

Burnsville is a town and the county seat of Yancey County, North Carolina, United States.[5] The population was 1,693 at the 2010 census.


The town was founded on March 6, 1834, from land conveyed by John "Yellow Jacket" Bailey, and it was named after Captain Otway Burns, a naval hero of the War of 1812. In 1909, a statue of Captain Burns was given to the town by his grandson, Walter Francis Burns Sr., and it was set on a granite pedestal in the center of the town square. It has an inscription that reads, in part, "He Guarded Well Our Seas, Let Our Mountains Honor Him." Due to damages, the original statue was replaced in the early 2000s.

On April 6, 2010, Burnsville, the only incorporated town within Yancey County, held a referendum providing for the legal sale of alcohol within the town limits. The referendum passed, effectively ending prohibition in Yancey County. After applying for and receiving the applicable permits, Burnsville may now operate an ABC store; retail establishments may now sell beer and wine; and restaurants may sell beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Graham County is the last remaining dry county in the state of North Carolina.[6]

Historic structures

One of the oldest buildings is the Nu-Wray Inn. It was built in 1833 and now, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1] The Parkway Playhouse, the oldest continually operating summer stock theater company in North Carolina, is located in Burnsville. It was founded in 1947 by W. R. Taylor, a professor of drama from the Woman's College of North Carolina-now the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a group of dedicated community leaders. Several other structures in Burnsvile are listed on the are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Bald Creek Historic District, Chase-Coletta House, Citizens Bank Building, John Wesley McElroy House, Yancey Collegiate Institute Historic District, and Yancey County Courthouse.[7]

Annual fair

2014 Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
2014 Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair

The Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair is held in Burnsville. This annual event attracts thousands of tourists and unique artists. In 2019, the fair observed its sixty-second anniversary of its founding in 1956.

Traditionally, the fair is held during the first weekend of August that includes a Friday.

The event would have been held during August 7 and 8 for 2020, but for the first time since its inception, the Crafts Fair was canceled due to the overwhelming uncertainty surrounding the different phases of reopening during the pandemic.[8] The Crafts Fair was fully open during 2021, taking place on August 6 and 7.[9]


Burnsville is located in the mountains of western North Carolina, at 2,825 feet above sea level. It is on a tributary of the Cane River, just north of the Black Mountains,[10] and 30 miles northeast of Asheville. U.S. Highway 19E runs through the town, leading to Interstate 26 and Mars Hill to the west and, to the east, to Spruce Pine.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)1,647[3]−2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 1,623 people, 748 households, and 412 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,028.0 people per square mile (396.6/km2). There were 845 housing units at an average density of 535.2 per square mile (206.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.50% White, 1.91% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.86% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.88% of the population.

There were 748 households, out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.9% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 25.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.70.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.1% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 30.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 75.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $21,653, and the median income for a family was $34,712. Males had a median income of $30,227 versus $25,234 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,894. About 15.3% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.2% of those under age 18 and 19.4% of those age 65 or over.


Burnsville is served by the Yancey County Schools System. Mountain Heritage High School, Yancey County's public high school is located outside the town limits to the west on Highway 19E, as is a satellite campus of Mayland Community College. Burnsville Elementary School and East Yancey Middle School lie to the east of the town limits.


Glen Raven is the only operating textile factory in the county.[12][13] Formerly, Burnsville had two textile mills, with Avondale Mills and Glen Raven, Inc. each operating a mill in the town. The closures of the Avondale Mills facility and Taylor Togs' Micaville blue jeans factory occurred in 2004.



In 2006, the North Carolina Department of Transportation began widening U.S. 19 and U.S. 19E from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway. The construction began at the junction of Interstate 26 in Madison County and continued to where U.S. 19E intersects with Jacks Creek Road. Construction on this section was completed and was dedicated on November 2, 2012.[14] Work on widening the next section to the Micaville intersection was completed and opened to a four-lane traffic pattern over the weekend of October 29–30, 2016.[15]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Burnsville, North Carolina
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Burnsville voters approve alcohol sales". Asheville Citizen-Times.com. Archived from the original on 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  8. ^ "Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair has been canceled". Town of Burnsville, NC. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  9. ^ "Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair". Town of Burnsville, NC. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  10. ^ Burnsville, NC, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1998
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Commerce Lets Failed Expo Center Slide". www.carolinajournal.com. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  13. ^ "The Quiet Mountain Town of Burnsville Sees Growth". Our State Magazine. 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  14. ^ "Gov. Perdue and Transportation Secretary Conti Join State and Local Officials to Celebrate Completion of First Section of U.S. 19 Widening Project in Madison and Yancey Counties". NC DOT News Release. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  15. ^ "Roadway traffic switches to four lane pattern, finally]". Yancey Times Journal. 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-10-04.[permanent dead link]