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About Rutherford County

Nestled in the foothills of Western North Carolina, Rutherford County boasts breathtaking views of rolling mountains in a rural setting complete with abundant open space, natural forests, lakes and farm land. North Carolina’s Rutherford County was formed in 1779 and is currently comprised of eight municipalities: Bostic, Chimney Rock, Ellenboro, Forest City, Rutherfordton, Ruth, Spindale and Lake Lure. The town of Rutherfordton holds the county seat. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are located approximately 20 miles west of Rutherfordton, with Lake Lure being home to a private lake with public access that is enjoyed by thousands from spring until fall. Rutherford County is close in proximity to the metropolitan areas of Asheville, Charlotte, Greenville (SC), and Spartanburg (SC) as well as several major highway corridors.

In 1874, Rutherford County’s first textile mill opened near the community of Henrietta. Unfortunately, the mill, which manufactured cotton yarn, only operated for a short time before burning down the same year. In 1885, R.R. Haynes and S.B. Tanner built a cotton mill in Henrietta, along with a village consisting of homes for workers, a school, and company store. Other textile mills and villages began operations in the neighboring communities of Avondale and Cliffside, as well as the nearby towns of Forest City, Spindale, Rutherfordton and Ruth. Textiles remained an important economic force in the county well into the 21st century. When textile, sewing operations and furniture industries shifted to mainly overseas operations, the county looked to redefine itself and diversified its industry base. Today, Rutherford County’s target industry sectors include Automotive Suppliers, Advanced Materials, Data Centers, and Call Centers.


These links will provide you with population, education and income information for Rutherford County.
NC Department of Commerce County Profile

Rutherford County is located in the foothills of Western North Carolina, approximately half way between Atlanta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The intersection of major north-south and east-west interstates in North Carolina make it a natural hub for trucking access to points nationwide.

Within 700 miles of North Carolina’s borders are 170 million US and Canadian consumers and more than 60% of the country’s industrial manufacturing base. Many of these potential customers can be reached in two days or less by truck.

City MSA Population
est. (July 2018)
Atlanta, GA        5,949,951 212.0 miles
Charlotte, NC        2,569,213 73.2 miles
Columbus, OH         2,106,541 459.0 miles
Greenville, SC            906,626 65.9 miles
Knoxville, TN           883,309 164.0 miles
Miami, FL        6,198,782 768.0 miles
New York, NY      19,979,477 677.0 miles
Raleigh, NC        1,362,540 218.0 miles

Situated in the foothills of Western North Carolina, Rutherford County is centered one hour between Asheville, NC, Charlotte, NC and Greenville-Spartanburg, SC. Atlanta is 3 hours to the south and Charleston is located 4 hours to the southeast.

Rutherford County is 563 square miles and composed of eight municipalities: Bostic, Chimney Rock, Ellenboro, Forest City, Rutherfordton, Ruth, Spindale, and Lake Lure. Connected by US Hwy 74-Business, Spindale, Rutherfordton, and Forest City form the Tri-City area. The towns of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock are located approximately 20 miles west of Rutherfordton. Lake Lure is a 1,500 acre municipal lake with 27 miles of shoreline and offers public beach access.

The Blue Ridge Mountains to the north and Smoky Mountains to the west provide shelter from extreme weather conditions in winter, and offer cool mountain breezes in summer. This level moderation contributes to pleasant year-round living conditions.  

  • Average annual temperature: 58.25° F
  • Average annual high temperature: 70.42° F
  • Average annual low temperature: 46.08° F
  • Average annual precipitation: 51"
  • Average annual snowfall: 4"