Rutherfordton is the seat of Rutherford County, whose population was 62,899 in 2000. Estimates in 2006 indicate a countywide increase of 1.5% to 63,867 residents. Formed in 1779, Rutherford County, North Carolina took its name in honor of Griffith Rutherford. Mr. Rutherford served as a general in the American Revolutionary War. Additional cities in Rutherford County include Bostic, Chimney Rock, Ellenboro, Forest City, Lake Lure, Ruth and Spindale. The county divides further into fourteen townships.
Rutherford County, NC boasts a thriving economy that included a workforce of nearly 22,800 in 2006. Education and health services jobs lead the local economy with 24% of the workforce, with transportation and utilities claiming 21.4% and manufacturing 18.2%. Other important industries include business and professional services, leisure and hospitality, and construction. Communities in Rutherford County are within an hour’s drive of the busy markets of Asheville and Charlotte in N.C. and Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina.
Rutherford County, North Carolina houses several outstanding public schools and two private schools. Isothermal Community College serves the immediate post-secondary needs within the county, while a variety of additional higher learning facilities are within driving distance. These include Appalachian State University, Gardner Webb University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Western Carolina University.
Rutherfordton ‘s outdoor enthusiasts enjoy boating and fishing at Silvers Lake and gem mining on the Broad River. Rutherfordton, NC is home to delightful small shops such as The Gallery, while other cultural activities include Painter’s Gap Art Gallery and the events put on by the Rutherford Community Theater. Visitors also enjoy Harris Motor Speedway and the crushed gravel surface trails of the Thermal Belt Rail-Trail. Accommodations include the B&B at the lovely Green River Plantation.
Popular destinations located elsewhere in Rutherford County, North Carolina include the shops at Chimney Rock Village and Chimney Rock Park. Both attractions hug the banks of the Rocky Broad River. Chimney Rock Park features fascinating rock formations accessible by a combination of stairs and bridges or a 26-story elevator.
The Cherry Bounce Trail, Rutherford County’s historic byway, provides stunning panoramic views of the area’s natural splendor. Additional attractions include the Beach at Lake Lure, Bennett Classic Cars Museum in Forest City, the Cedar Creek Stables in Lake Lure, the Foundation Performing Arts Center in Spindale and the stunning fall foliage of Hickory Nut Gorge.