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Chatham County, North Carolina
Seal of Chatham County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Chatham County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
Seat Pittsboro
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

709 sq mi (1,836 km²)

26 sq mi (67 km²), 3.69%
Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

49,329
73/sq mi (28/km²)
Founded 1771
Pittsboro1.jpeg
Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro
Website www.chathamnc.org

Chatham County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 49,329. Its county seat is Pittsboro.[1]

Contents

History

Some of the first settlers of what would become the county were English Quakers, who settled along the Haw and Eno Rivers.[2] The county was formed in 1771 from Orange County. It was named, like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1758, for William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who served as British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1768 and opposed harsh colonial policies.

In 1907, parts of Chatham County and Moore County were combined to form Lee County. The award-winning[3] PBS documentary Family Name[4] notes Chatham County as the place the relationship between the African-American and European-American branches of the Alston family originated.[5] George Moses Horton, Historic Poet Laureate of Chatham County, (1797?-1883) lived most of his life in Chatham County and is among the few slaves to have published material while still a slave.[6][7]

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Coal mining

The county is 1 of 3 counties that have known minable bituminous coal deposits in the state. The area along the Deep River, which forms the border of Chatham and Lee County and Randolph county was a major coal producing area between the Revolutionary War and the Great Depression. It was deemed the Deep River Coal Field. The communities of Carbonton and Cumnock(formerly called Egypt in Lee County) began as a result of the coal mining industry. It is said that much of the coal mined in the field during the Civil War was used to fuel Confederate operations. A fatal mining disaster at the Coal Glen mine in the 1920s, along with frequent flooding of Deep River sealed the fate of the mines and the mines were all closed by the 1940s. Recent attempts to tap the coal have proved failures, since geologists say the coal is too highly faulted and the threat of explosive gases underground is too high. The coal is, also, said to have too high of a sulfur content to be burned with current environmental laws. It was once thought that natural gas and oil may be in the area where the coal mines were, but none that is economical enough to be pumped has yet to be found. 96% of the coal mined in North Carolina comes Chatham county, the other 3% comes from small quarries in Randolph and Lee counties.

Agriculture and industry

The county once was dependent on agriculture for economic survival. Due to the area's relatively unfertile natural soil conditions (which is composed mostly of the hard red clay soil common to the Piedmont), cash crops such as tobacco were grown only in smaller quantities and were never important in the county's economy. Livestock has always played a larger role in the county's agricultural heritage, especially cattle and poultry. The county once had a thriving dairy industry, but in recent years most farms have been sold and developed. The county is one of the state leaders in the poultry industry, being home to several large poultry processing facilities. The poultry industry in the county is centered mainly around the western part of the county near Siler City. Townsend Foods and Golden Poultry are the largest poultry companies in the county. Forage crops such as hay are, also, grown in large quantities in the county. Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has been housed in Chatham County along with many organic agriculture farmers.

Industrial growth in the county has largely been focused around the Siler City and Moncure areas of the county. By far most of the industry in the county is set up around Moncure. Companies in that area include, Progress Energy, Weyerhauser, Honeywell, and ATC Panels.

Brick manufacturing, which makes use of the local red clay soil, has been an important economic factor in the Moncure area with several brick plants operating around the Moncure and Brickhaven communities.

3M also operates a greenstone mine south of Pittsboro along US 15-501. The mine takes greenstone and uses it to manufacture roofing shingle granules. In 2007, residents opposed to industrialization of the county successfully blocked a similar quarry from being built in the western part of the county.

The scenic rural environment has attracted many artists' studios (Chatham Artists Guild), and arts-related tourism is a growing economic influence.

Chatham County is the location of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance. The four day outdoor festival occurs twice each year in April and October. Artists who have performed at Shakori Hills include Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley, Hugh Masekela, Donna the Buffalo, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Avett Brothers and Jim Lauderdale. Shakori Hills is also the location of the Hoppin John Fiddlers Convention and Mountain Aid benefit concert.

Development

Residential development has been a highly contested and controversial issue in the county for the past few years. The county's location in the Research Triangle region has allowed for explosive growth to occur in the county within the past 10 years.

According to the Land Use study released on March 7, 2007 by the Operations Research and Education Laboratory Institute for Transportation Research and Education at NC State University, there are to be a projected 19,000 new homes built in Chatham County by 2020.

Many large-scale residential developments have been built over the past few years in the eastern and northern parts of the county as towns in Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County have been filling up and expanding outward into Chatham County. Many people are lured to Chatham County by its rural setting and by the cheaper tax base compared to other counties in the Triangle, although this is becoming less of an issue as taxes and property values increase.

Many residents feel that as the county grows and becomes developed that it will lose its rural charm and will become suburban. Some residents worry that incidents of crime and infrastructure strains will get worse. There has already been much criticism of local law enforcement agencies in the county for not growing adequately enough with the county, inadvertently leading to variable increases in crime.

On the other hand, some residents believe that growth benefits the county and will bring a much larger tax base to the historically rural county, which could fund increases in law enforcement and government services. Further these residents note that rising demand for land in Chatham leads to higher property value for all existing residents. And finally, they say that growth will bring more retail stores to the area so that the county loses less of their sales tax revenue to neighboring counties.

Immigration

Immigration issues have been another controversial topic in the county over the last few years. Many Hispanic workers have come to the county over the last few years, mainly to work in the county's large poultry industry. The poultry industry, centered around Siler City has done wonders for the county's economy and has been very helpful to Siler City's economy as well.

Law and government

A five-member Board of Commissioners governs Chatham County. The commissioners are elected at large, but must reside within a particular district. The members of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners are elected for four-year terms, but the terms are staggered so that all five seats are not up for election at the same time.

Current Chatham County Board of Commissioners

  • George Lucier, Chair (District 3) Term: 2006 - 2010
  • Allen Michael "Mike" Cross, Commissioner (District 2) Term: 2008-2012
  • Sally Kost, Vice-Chair (District 1) Term: 2008-2012
  • Carl E. Thompson, Commissioner (District 5) Term: 2006 - 2010
  • Tom Vanderbeck, Commissioner (District 4) Term: 2006 - 2010

Commissioners appoint a county manager who administers the day-to-day business of the county, including personnel and budget oversight. The Board of Commissioners also appoints the county attorney, clerk to the board of commissioners who is responsible for meeting agendas and minutes, and the tax administrator who manages all tax office functions, but they do not appoint other county staff positions.

The Board of Commissioners does have general authority over county policies, but several other boards have authority over specific policy areas, such as the Board of Health, Board of Social Services, Board of Elections and Soil and Water Conservation District Board. The Board of Commissioners appoints all members of the Board of Health and makes some of the appointments to the Board of Social Services, but neither the Board of Elections nor the Soil and Water District Conservation Board have any commissioner appointments.

Chatham County is a member of the regional Triangle J Council of Governments.

A Chatham County native, Joe Hackney, is currently (2007-2008 session) serving his 14th term in the N.C. House of Representatives. He has served as speaker pro tem, house majority leader and house Democratic leader and was elected speaker of the house in January 2007. He is consistently rated by his peers as one of the ten most effective legislators, according to the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. He is president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Townships

The county is divided into 13 townships: Albright, Baldwin, Bear Creek, Cape Fear, Center, Gulf, Hadley, Haw River, Hickory Mountain, Matthews, New Hope, Oakland, and Williams.

Education

Chatham County contributes funds to, but does not govern, K-12 public education and the community college system. The Chatham County School System is governed by its own elected board. There are three public high schools: Northwood in Pittsboro, Jordan-Matthews in Siler City, and Chatham Central in Bear Creek. A new middle school is scheduled to be built off Andrews Store Road near the new Briar Chapel Community in northeast Chatham by November 2010. A new high school is scheduled to be built on Jack Bennett Road in northeast Chatham by August 2012.

Chatham is home to two charter schools - Woods Charter School and Chatham Charter School.

Woods Charter Schoolis a grade K-12 public school. The school moved into a new fully equipped building on 160 Woodland Grove Lane outside Pittsboro in August 2008. Woods ranked "top ten" on SAT scores in North Carolina.

Chatham Charter School is a grade K-8 public school. The school is located on 2200 Hamp Stone Road in Siler City, NC.

Central Carolina Community College, which has two campuses in the county, is governed by its own appointed Board of Trustees.

Generally, county resources provide only part of the total funding for K-12 and community colleges, but the county devotes a considerable amount of its resources to public education. In FY 2007-08, more than 39% of the county’s tax dollars went to education.

According to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners Annual Tax and Budget Survey for FY 2006-07, the county ranked 11th in the state in total spending per student and fifth in the percent of the current expense/general funds spent on schools per student. The county also was 14th in overall education resources per capita during FY 06-07.

Demographics

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 49,329 people, 19,741 households, and 13,858 families residing in the county. The population density was 72 people per square mile (28/km²). There were 21,358 housing units at an average density of 31 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 74.94% White, 17.07% Black or African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.81% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 9.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,741 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.30% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.80% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,851, and the median income for a family was $50,909. Males had a median income of $32,980 versus $26,044 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,355. About 7.10% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 709 square miles (1,836 km²), of which, 683 square miles (1,769 km²) of it is land and 26 square miles (68 km²) of it (3.69%) is water.

The county lies totally within the Piedmont physiographic region. The topography of the county is generally gently rolling with several higher hills rising above the general terrain. One of these hills, Terrells Mountain, on the Orange County line is the transmitter site for several radio and tv stations for the Raleigh-Durham market, including WUNC-TV 4, WDCG(G105), WKSL (93.9 Kiss FM), and WUNC 91.5 FM (NC Public Radio).

The county lies within the Cape Fear River drainage basin. The Cape Fear River begins in the county near the community of Moncure, at the confluence of the Haw River and the Deep River below Jordan Lake. B. Everett Jordan Lake, a major reservoir and flood-control lake, is located within the New Hope River basin and lies mainly in eastern Chatham County. The lake is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is partially leased by the state of North Carolina as Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.

Geology

The county lies in the Piedmont area of central North Carolina. Much of the eastern part of the county lies within the Triassic Basin, a subregion of the Piedmont. Much of the bedrock in the county is volcanic in origin and formed during the Triassic period (hence the name). The Triassic origins have led to the formation of coal deposits in the southern part of the county. The Boren Clay Products Pit just north of Gulf in extreme southern Chatham County is a place where Triassic flora fossils persist[7][8] The volcanic origins also led to the creation of high amounts of metamorphic based rocks in the county. The county lies on the Carolina Slate Belt. Soils in the county are mostly clay based and have a deep red color, as do most soils in the piedmont. Groundwater in the county is general full of minerals and tends to be hard if not softened. Mineral based water was the attraction at Mt. Vernon Springs during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. A resort spa was established at the mineral springs. Visitors would drink the water in the hopes of curing ailments and diseases. The resort closed in the early 20th century and is now gone. The springs are still there and are maintained by a local church.

Transportation

Chatham County has managed to retain its rural character in part because it is not served by an Interstate Highway. However, Chatham County plays an important role in regional transportation due to its close proximity to the geographic center of North Carolina and to major cities such as Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro. Though driving is the dominant mode due to the county's rural nature, residents enjoy a number of transportation options.

Highways

The main east-west artery serving Chatham County is U.S. 64, which provides access to Siler City and Pittsboro. U.S. Routes 421 and 15-501 run in a north-south direction through the county; U.S. 421 serves Siler City and U.S. 15-501 serves Pittsboro. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the NCDOT invested more than one hundred million dollars upgrading U.S. 64, U.S. 421 and U.S. 15-501, which had previously been two-lane roads, to multi-lane highways. There is now a U.S. 64 bypass north of Pittsboro; a similar freeway diverts traffic on U.S. 421 east of Siler City.

Transit

Chatham County is served by two public transit providers - Chatham Transit Network and Chapel Hill Transit. Chatham Transit Network (CTN) is the Community Transportation Program for Chatham County, providing fixed route and human service transportation. CTN's fixed route provides weekday service between Siler City, Pittsboro and Chapel Hill. Similarly, CHT's new PX route, established as a demonstration route mid-2009, provides weekday fixed route service between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill.

Bicycle

Chatham County provides many scenic bike routes along the county's rural highways. The American Tobacco Trail also traverses the northeast corner of the county.

Airport

Siler City Municipal Airport (5w8) is located three miles southwest of downtown Siler City. This public access airport is home to several single and multiengine airplanes and is a favorite stop for general aviation flyers, owing to its idyllic setting and spacious runway and ramp.

Rail

The county is served by both Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation. Norfolk Southern serves Siler City, Bonlee, Bear Creek, and Goldston as a part of a spur line that runs between Greensboro and Sanford. CSX serves the Moncure area on trackage that runs between Raleigh and Hamlet. Oddly enough Pittsboro was once served by the Seaboard System Railroad (the predecessor to CSX), but the tracks were taken up in the 1970s and were never to return.

Adjacent counties

Cities and towns

Map of Chatham County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels

Unincorporated communities:

References

External links

Coordinates: 35°42′N 79°16′W / 35.70°N 79.26°W / 35.70; -79.26


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Chatham County, North Carolina
Seal of Chatham County, North Carolina
Map
File:Map of North Carolina highlighting Chatham County.png
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the USA highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the USA
Statistics
Founded 1771
Seat Pittsboro
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

 sq mikm²)
 sq mi ( km²)
 sq mi ( km²), 3.69%
wikipedia:Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

49329
Website: www.co.chatham.nc.us

Chatham County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 49,329. Since 2000, its population has grown by more than 20% and now exceeds 60,000. Its county seat is Pittsboro6.

Contents

Demographics

As of the census² of 2000, there were 49,329 people, 19,741 households, and 13,858 families residing in the county. The population density was 28/km² (72/sq mi). There were 21,358 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (31/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 74.94% White, 17.07% Black or African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.81% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 9.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

By 2005 the population was 11.3% Latino.

In 2000 there were 19,741 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.30% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.80% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,851, and the median income for a family was $50,909. Males had a median income of $32,980 versus $26,044 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,355. About 7.10% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.

History

The county was formed in 1771 from Orange County. It was named for William Pitt, who served as British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1768 and opposed harsh colonial policies.

In 1907 parts of Chatham County and Moore County were combined to form Lee County. The award winning[1] PBS Documentary Family Name[2] notes Chatham County as the place the relationship between the African-American and European-American branches of the Alston family originated[3]. George Moses Horton, Historic Poet Laureate of Chatham County, North Carolina (1797?-1883) lived most of his life in Chatham County and is among the few slaves to have published material while still a slave [4][5][6].

Law and government

Chatham County is a member of the regional Triangle J Council of Governments.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,836 km² (709 sq mi). 1,769 km² (683 sq mi) of it is land and 68 km² (26 sq mi) of it (3.69%) is water.

The county lies totally within the Piedmont physiographic region. The topography of the county is generally gently rolling with several higher hills rising above the general terrain. One of these hills, Terrells Mountain, on the Orange County line is the transmitter site for several radio and tv stations for the Raleigh-Durham market, including WUNC TV 4 (UNC-TV), WDCG 105.1 FM(G105), WRSN 93.9 (93.9 Kiss FM), and WUNC 91.5 FM (NC Public Radio).

The county lies within the Cape Fear River drainage basin. The Cape Fear River begins in the county near the community of Moncure, at the confluence of the Haw River and the Deep River below Jordan Lake. B. Everett Jordan Lake, a major reservoir and flood-control lake, is located within the New Hope River basin and lies mainly in eastern Chatham County. The lake is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is partially leased by the State of North Carolina as Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.

Geology

The county lies in the Piedmont area of central North Carolina. Much of the eastern part of the county lies within the Triassic Basin, a subregion of the Piedmont. Much of the bedrock in the county is volcanic in origin and formed during the Triassic period (hence the name). The Triassic origins have led to the formation of coal deposits in the southern part of the county. The Boren Clay Products Pit just north of Gulf in extreme southern Chatham County is a place where Triassic flora fossils persist[7][8] The volcanic origins also led to the creation of high amounts of metamorphic based rocks in the county. The county lies on the Carolina Slate Belt. Soils in the county are mostly clay based and have a deep red color, as do most soils in the piedmont. Groundwater in the county is general full of minerals and tends to be hard if not softened. Mineral based water was the attraction at Mt. Vernon Springs during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. A resort spa was established there based around the mineral springs of which people would drink the water to hopefully cure ailments and diseases. The resort closed in the early 20th century and is now gone. The springs are still there and are maintained by a local church.

Coal Mining

The county is also home to the only known minable bituminous coal deposits in the state. The area along the Deep River, which forms the border of Chatham and Lee County was a major coal producing area between the Revolutionary War and the Great Depression. It was deemed the Deep River Coal Field. The communities of Carbonton and Cumnock(formerly called Egypt in Lee County) began as a result of the coal mining industry. It is said that much of the coal mined in the field during the Civil War was used to fuel Confederate operations. A fatal mining disaster at the Coal Glen mine in the 1920's, along with frequent flooding of Deep River sealed the fate of the mines and the mines were all closed by the 1940's. Recent attempts to tap the coal have proved failures, since geologists say the coal is too highly faulted and the threat of explosive gases underground is too high. The coal is, also, said to have too high of a sulfur content to be burned with current environmental laws. It was once thought that natural gas and oil may be in the area where the coal mines were, but none that is economical enough to be pumped has yet to be found.

Townships

The county is divided into thirteen townships: Albright, Baldwin, Bear Creek, Cape Fear, Center, Gulf, Hadley, Haw River, Hickory Mountain, Matthews, New Hope, Oakland, and Williams.

Agriculture and Industry

The county once was dependent on agriculture for economic survival. Due to the area's relatively poor soil conditions, cash crops such as tobacco were grown only in smaller quantities and were never important in the county's economy. Livestock has always played a larger role in the county's agricultural heritage, especially cattle and poultry. The county was once had a thriving dairy industry, but in recent years most farms have been sold and developed. The county is one of the state leaders in the poultry industry, being home to several large poultry processing facilities. The poultry industry in the county is centered mainly around the western part of the county near Siler City. Townsend Foods and Golden Poultry are the largest poultry companies in the county. Forage crops such as hay are, also, grown in large quantities in the county. Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has been housed in Chatham County along with many organic agriculture farmers.

Industrial growth in the county has largely been focused around the Siler City and Moncure areas of the county. By far most of the industry in the county is set up around Moncure. Companies in that area include, Progress Energy, Weyerhauser, Honeywell, and ATC Panels.

Brick manufacturing has been an important economic factor in the Moncure area with several brick plants operating around the Moncure and Brickhaven communities.

3M also operates a greenstone mine south of Pittsboro along US 15-501. The mine takes greenstone and uses it to manufacture roofing shingle granules.

A proposed mine is in the works to be developed near Siler City by ISP Minerals of Maryland. The mine has proven to be very controversial since many residents fear the noise and vibrations would destroy the rural setting.

The scenic rural environment has attracted many artists' studios (Chatham Artists Guild), and arts-related tourism is a growing economic influence.

Transportation

Chatham County has managed to retain its rural character in part because it is not served by an Interstate Highway. However, Chatham County plays an important role in regional transportation due to its close proximity to the geographic center of North Carolina and to major cities such as Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The main east-west artery serving Chatham County is US Highway 64 which provides access to Siler City and Pittsboro. US Highways 421 and 15-501 run approximately north-south through the county. US421 serves Siler City and US15-501 serves Pittsboro. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the North Carolina Department of Transportation invested more than one hundred million dollars upgrading US64, US421 and US15-501, which had previously been two-lane country roads, to modern multi-lane highways. US64 now passes well to the north of Pittsboro via an interstate style bypass. A similar freeway diverts traffic on US421 to the east of Siler City.

Siler City Municipal Airport (5w8) is located 3 miles southwest of downtown Siler City. This public access airport is home to several single and multiengine airplanes and is a favorite stop for general aviation flyers, owing to its idyllic setting and spacious runway and ramp.

The county is served by both Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation. Norfolk Southern serves Siler City, Bonlee, Bear Creek, and Goldston as a part of a spur line that runs between Greensboro and Sanford. CSX serves the Moncure area on trackage that runs between Raleigh and Hamlet. Oddly enough Pittsboro was once served by the Seaboard System Railroad (the predecessor to CSX), but the tracks were taken up in the 1970's and were never to return.

Development

Residential development has been a highly contested and controversial issue in the county for the past few years. The county's location in the Research Triangle region has allowed for explosive growth to occur in the county within the past 10 years. Many large scale residential developments have been built over the past few years in the eastern and northern parts of the county as towns in Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County have been filling up and expanding outward into Chatham County. Many people are lured to Chatham County by its rural setting and by the cheaper tax base compared to other counties in the Triangle, although this is becoming less of an issue as taxes and property values increase. Many residents feel that as the county grows and becomes developed that it will lose its rural charm and will become suburban. Some residents worry that incidents of crime and infrastructure strains will get worse. There has already been much criticism of local law enforcement agencies in the county for not growing adequately enough with the county, inadvertently leading to variable increases in crime. On the other hand, some resident believe that growth benefits the county and will bring a much larger tax base to the historically rural county, which could fund increases in law enforcement and government services. Further these residents note that rising demand for land in Chatham leads to higher property value for all existing residents. And finally, they say that growth will bring more retail stores to the area so that the county loses less of their sales tax revenue to neighboring counties.

Immigration

Immigration issues have been another controversial topic in the county over the last few years. Many Hispanic workers have come to the county over the last few years, mainly to work in the county's large poultry industry. The poultry industry, centered around Siler City has done wonders for the county's economy and has been very helpful to Siler City's economy as well. Illegal immigration though has divided many residents. One side of the issue says that immigrants have destroyed Siler City's small town charm, forced many older residents and business to leave town and has driven up crime rates, gang activity, and poverty rates. On the other side it is argued that if not for the immigrants the town's economy might be non existent altogether and that the cultural diversity has helped to enlighten and open up the town and the county to issues beyond its borders.

Adjacent Counties

Cities and towns

Map of Chatham County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels

Unincorporated communities:

Trivia

  • The Devil's Tramping Grounds is located near Harper's Crossroads near Bennett.
  • It is widely said that Charlie Daniels lived in the Goldston area as a child and on several occasions has come back to visit.
  • Chatham County is one of the few school systems in the state to not offer a middle school football program.
  • One of the only cases of a rabid beaver ever attacking a human in the US occurred during a rabies outbreak at Jordan Lake in the mid 1990's.
  • A secret government facility termed by locals as the "Big Hole" was operated north of Pittsboro till around 1996. It was said the site was a virtual concrete city built several stories into the ground. The facility was actually part of the Autovon system operated under government contract by AT&T. The site has reportedly been closed due to the introduction of the Defense Switching Network.
  • The clock currently in the county courthouse was a recent addition added to the courthouse. It was reportedly in the original plans of the courthouse, but for some reason was left out during its original construction.
  • Even though Jordan Lake is held mostly in the county's borders, county residents get very little drinking water from the lake. Most of the water is currently being sold to Cary and areas of eastern Wake County. These contracts have forced the county to purchase water from neighboring counties to guarantee sufficient supply in the county water system.
  • Many people moving to the Research Triangle area choose to live in the county because of lower tax rates compared to neighboring counties.
  • The geographical center of North Carolina is said to be near the Gulf community south of Goldston.
  • Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea) of Andy Griffith Show fame lived in Siler City and is buried there.
  • It is rumored that several of the costumes for the movie Titanic were actually purchased from antique stores in Pittsboro.
  • The county is one of the largest (in terms of land size) in the state.
  • Since the county is wedged between the Piedmont Triad and the Research Triangle many residents in the western portion of the county do most of their commerce in the Greensboro area, while those in the eastern portion do most of theirs in the Research Triangle area.
  • Pittsboro was once considered to house the University of North Carolina.
  • The county was once a leading shipper of wild rabbit meat. Around the turn of the century "Chatham Rabbit" was a known delicacy in restaurants as far away as New York.
  • It is rumored that singer Clay Aiken recently built a home in an undisclosed development in the county and lives there full time.

External links

Coordinates: 35°42′N 79°16′W / 35.70, -79.26

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Chatham County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Facts about Chatham County, North CarolinaRDF feed
County names Chatham County, North Carolina  +
County of country United States  +
County of subdivision1 North Carolina  +
Short name Chatham County  +

This article uses material from the "Chatham County, North Carolina" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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Chatham County, North Carolina
Map

Location in the state of North Carolina

North Carolina's location in the USA
Statistics
Founded 1771
Seat Pittsboro
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

709 sq mi (1,836 km²)

26 sq mi (67 km²), 3.69%
Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

49,329
73/sq mi (28/km²)
Website: www.co.chatham.nc.us

Chatham County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. In 2000, the population was 49,329. Now the population is more than 60,000. Its county seat is Pittsboro.

Contents

History

The county was made in 1771 from Orange County.

In 1907 parts of Chatham County and Moore County were combined to form Lee County.

Government

Chatham County is part of the regional Triangle J Council of Governments.

Schools

Chatham County has its own public school system for grades kindergarten to 12. Central Carolina Community College also has two campuses in the county.

Coal Mines

Chatham County has the only coal mines in North Carolina. Coal mining used to be very important to the county, but in the 1920s a bad accident in one of the mines killed many workers. By the 1940s all the mines had closed. Some people have tried to open the mines back up, but the mines are too dangerous. Right now none of the mines are open.

New Houses

Many builders are building new houses in Chatham County right now. Some people in the county do not like this beacause they do not want Chatham County to have a lot of people. A lot of people want to live in Chatham County because they do not have to pay as much tax as people in other North Carolina counties do. But other people think it is good that a lot of people want to live in the county because then the county will make more money from taxes.

Connected Counties

Cities and Towns

These cities and towns are in Chathan County:

  • Fearrington
  • Goldston
  • Pittsboro
  • Siler City

Roads

These are the most important roads in Chatham County:

  • U.S. Highway 64
  • U.S. Highway 421
  • U.S. Highway 15-501

Other websites


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