Haywood County Courthouse, built c. 1932
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
|Named for||John Haywood|
|o Total||555 sq mi (1,440 km2)|
|o Land||554 sq mi (1,430 km2)|
|o Water||0.9 sq mi (2 km2) 0.2%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||107/sq mi (41/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
The last shot of the Civil War east of the Mississippi was fired in Waynesville on May 9, 1865, when elements of the Thomas Legion (Confederate) skirmished with the 2nd NC Mounted (Union). A monument is situated on Sulphur Springs Road in Waynesville.
Haywood County is situated amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains and contains parts of several major subranges of the Blue Ridge, namely the Great Smoky Mountains in the west and the Plott Balsams and Great Balsam Mountains in the south. Notable peaks in the county include Cold Mountain, at 6,030 feet (1,840 m), Mount Sterling, at 5,835 feet (1,779 m), and Richland Balsam, at 6,410 feet (1,950 m) in elevation. Mt. Guyot, the county's highest point at 6,621 feet (2,018 m), is the 4th highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Black Balsam Knob, in the Great Balsam Mountains in the southeastern section of the county, is the highest grassy bald in the entire Appalachian range. Haywood County is believed to be the highest county (by mean elevation) east of the Mississippi River, with a mean elevation of 3,600 feet or 1,097 metres.
A portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies in the northwestern section of the county, north of Maggie Valley. Along with several mountains rising to over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) in elevation, the Haywood County area of the Smokies includes Cataloochee, which is home to a large campground and several historical structures dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other protected areas include substantial sections of the Pisgah National Forest in the far northeastern and southern parts of the county.
As of the census of 2000, there were 54,033 people, 23,100 households, and 16,054 families residing in the county. The population density was 98 people per square mile (38/km²). There were 28,640 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile (20/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.85% White, 1.27% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 1.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 30.8% were of American, 12.9% English, 12.0% German, 10.4% Irish and 8.3% Scots-Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 97.1% spoke English and 1.9% Spanish as their first language.
There were 23,100 households out of which 26.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.30% 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 2.76.
In the county, the population was spread out with 20.80% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $33,922, and the median income for a family was $40,438. Males had a median income of $30,731 versus $21,750 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,554. About 8.10% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.40% of those under age 18 and 10.30% of those age 65 or over.
Voter Registration Statistics In Haywood County:
Haywood County is a member of the regional Southwestern Commission council of governments.
Haywood County contains a portion of the Qualla Boundary which is a tribal reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Lands and people living within this reservation are subject mostly to tribal/federal laws rather than county or state laws.
The two major high schools in the Haywood County Schools System, the Tuscola High School Mountaineers of Waynesville and Pisgah High School Black Bears of Canton participate in one of the fiercest high school rivalries in the Southeast. The two high school football teams battle it out for the Haywood County Championship each fall, drawing up to 15,000 fans. The series is tied at 25-25-1. The Pisgah Bears won the last meeting.
Norfolk Southern Railway operates a portion of the Murphy Branch line through Haywood County, providing a rail connection with the rest of the country. Norfolk Southern operates a small yard in Canton which directly serves Evergreen Packaging (owned by International Paper) and originates several local runs.
Cold Mountain, in southeast Haywood County within the Pisgah National Forest, became popularly known when featured as the title and setting of the 1997 historical novel Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. He explored the later stages of the American Civil War in the area and a Confederate soldier's effort to return home. The novel was adapted as a major motion picture, released by Miramax Films in 2003 and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renée Zellweger.