McDowell County

Located in the mountains east of Asheville, McDowell County sits along the Eastern Continental Divide of the Appalachian range. Home to a rich history of Native American settlement and European exploration, McDowell County boasts involvement in many pivotal moments in North Carolina history, including the Carolina Gold Rush, American Revolution, and Civil War. Marion, the county seat, is home to a number of festivals including the annual Bigfoot Festival. The county’s other municipality, the Town of Old Fort, has a rich history dating back to its time as the westernmost outpost of colonial exploration with Davidson’s Fort.

In September 2019, the Hometown Strong Action Team joined McDowell County, Marion, and Old Fort in a series of listening sessions to hear about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities their communities face. Department of Information Technology Secretary Eric Boyette joined the visit and hosted the Governor’s Broadband Taskforce at McDowell Community College.

Between ongoing economic development initiatives and continued investment by the county, economic development partnership, and state and private investment, McDowell County is being recognized as a growing hub for manufacturing, tourism, and arts and culture. Workforce Development provided by McDowell County Technical Community College has made the area an attractive location for 21st century technical and manufacturing jobs.

Hometown Strong Action Team members and local leaders are working to develop priorities and possible points of state and local collaboration.