RUTHERFORD COUNTY HISTORY
Rutherford County was established in 1779 and was the first county established in Western North Carolina after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Gilbert Town served as the first county seat when the county was established.
Rutherford County was named after a general in the Revolutionary War, Griffith Rutherford. Rutherford county consists of eight communities – Rutherfordton, Spindale, Forest City, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Ellenboro, Ruth and Bostic.
The total area of Rutherford County is 566 square miles.
Interesting facts about each town of Rutherford County can be found by visiting http://www.visitncsmalltowns.com.
The Town of Rutherfordton was established in 1787 and is one of the oldest towns in western North Carolina. The town of Rutherfordton was home to Christopher Bechtler, who minted the first one dollar gold coin.
The town of Spindale is known hisotically for its mills and factories. The first textile mill was Spencer Mills, established in 1916. Another famous mill was Stonecutter Mills, which was begun in 1920 and closed in 1999. Spindale is known to many as the home of WNCW 88.7FM radio station.
The town of Forest City was first incorporated in 1877 as Burnt Chimney. A burnt chimney replica remains in the square to remember the town’s history. The name was changed to Forest City in 1887 after Forest Davis. The Forest City Betterment Club began a beautification project in 1914 for the downtown area. The beautiful landscape and fountains still exist today. You can find out more about the beautiful town of Forest City by visiting www.townofforestcity.com
The town of Lake Lure was incorporated in 1927. The town is located east of Asheville, NC and is in the Hickory Nut Gorge. The beauty of the town has always drawn visitors and that continues today. Lake Lure was used as a location spot for the filming of “Dirty Dancing” and “Last of the Mohicans”. The town of Lake Lure is 13.25 square miles. To find out more about Lake Lure visit www.townoflakelure.com.
A historical account of Lake Lure can be found by visiting www.lakelurecoth.com
Chimney Rock is a village located in Rutherford County. Chimney Rock State Park was privately owned beginning in 1902 by Lucius B. Morse and the facilities were developed in 1916. In 2007, Chimney Rock was purchased by the state of North Carolina from the Morse Family. The park offers “75 mile panoramic views”. Chimney Rock State Park consists of 1,000 acres of beautiful trails, waterfalls and more. From the top of Chimney Rock, you can see Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains. Just outside of Chimney Rock State Park is the village of Chimney Rock. The village consists of local shops, restaurants, wineries, and historic inns. Chimney Rock Village runs along the Rocky Broad River. Please visit www.chimneyrock.org to learn more about this great place to visit, shop and stay!
The town of Ellenboro was incorporated in 1889, and was named after John Robinson’s daughter Ellen, who was sick with fever. The town consists of around 1,000 residents and includes miles of beautiful landscape. The Ellenboro Train Depot Museum is a great place to visit to learn a little about history (not only trains). More information can be found by visiting www.visitncsmalltowns.com.
The town of Ruth was established in 1893. The town is 272 acres and has a population of 629 residents. This small but beautiful town is home to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.
The town of Bostic was established in 1893 and is home to Washburn’s General Store, “the oldest, consecutively family - owned and operated retail business in North Carolina”. Bostic is home to the Bostic Lincoln Center museum, an historical museum. You can find out more about this museum by visiting www.bosticlincolncenter.com.