Burnsville, North Carolina

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Burnsville, North Carolina
Burnsville Town Square
Burnsville Town Square
Location of Burnsville, North Carolina
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 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 was set on a granite pedestal in the center of the town square. It has an inscription which 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.

One of the oldest buildings is the Nu-Wray Inn, built in 1833 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [1] The Parkway Playhouse, the oldest continually operating summer stock theater company is located in Burnsville, and was started 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.

View of the 2014 Crafts Fair from Town Hall
2014 Crafts Fair

In 2019, the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair observed its 62nd anniversary. This event, which attracts thousands of unique artists and tourists, is held during the first weekend of August that includes a Friday. That would have been August 7 & 8 for 2020,[6] but for the first time since its inception in 1956, the Crafts Fair has been canceled for 2020. The Yancey Chamber of Commerce said this was due to the overwhelming uncertainty surrounding the different phases of reopening during the pandemic.[7]

On April 6, 2010, the Town of 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.[8]

In addition to the Nu-Wray Inn, the Bald Creek Historic District, Chase-Coletta House, Citizens Bank Building, John Wesley McElroy House, Yancey Collegiate Institute Historic District, and Yancey County Courthouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[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. US Highway 19E runs through the town, leading to Interstate 26 and Mars Hill to the west and Spruce Pine to the east.

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.


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


The Nu-Wray Inn, used as a hotel since its construction in 1833.

The Parkway Playhouse, founded in 1947, as a summer stock theatre, is one of the oldest continually operating theatre companies in North Carolina.

John Wesley McElroy House, built circa 1830s and now in use as a museum.

Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River, located nearby in southern Yancey County.


In 2006 the North Carolina Department of Transportation began widening US 19 and US 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 US 19E intersects with Jacks Creek Road. Construction on this section is complete 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. ^ "Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair". Yancey County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  7. ^ "Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair has been canceled". Town of Burnsville, NC. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  8. ^ "Burnsville voters approve alcohol sales". Asheville Citizen-Times.com. Archived from the original on 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  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]

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