Surry County :: Surry County, Elkin, and Mt. Airy, NC
Surry County is located in North Carolina. As of 2010, the population was 73,673. Its county seat is Dobson.
The county was formed in 1771 from Rowan County. It was named for the county of Surrey in England, birthplace of William Tryon, Governor of North Carolina from 1765 to 1771.
In 1777, parts of Surry County and Washington District (now Washington County, Tennessee) were combined to form Wilkes County. The first permanent courthouse was established at Richmond in 1779, what is now the modern-day Old Richmond Township in Forsyth County near Donnaha. However, in 1789 the eastern half of Surry County became Stokes County, thus making the Richmond site unusable for either county. In 1790, the county seat was moved to Rockford where it remained for over half a century. In 1850 the half of the county's remaining territory south of the Yadkin River became Yadkin County. The town of Dobson was established in 1853 to be the new county seat.
Dobson was established as the county seat in 1853, replacing Rockford after all land in Surry County south of the Yadkin River was used to form Yadkin County. Dobson was named for prominent Rockford and Surry County citizen William Polk Dobson who was also the cousin of former president, James K. Polk.
As of the 2000 census, the town population was 1,457.
The flowing together of the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek has drawn people to the area of what is now Elkin, since the coming of the Paleo-Indians 10,000 years ago. The Sioux Indians settled along the Yadkin River as early as 500 BC. The first English colonists came in the mid-eighteenth century, Cherokee Indians were also in the area, although the Cherokees had been active in the French and Indian War, they had joined in treaties with the English in 1763, followed by the events of the American Revolution.
Alexander Chatham opened a small woolen mill in 1877 that grew to become Elkinís largest industry for many decades, but as other mills in the area it has dwindled. The Northwestern North Carolina Railroad arrived in 1890; the town was ready to take the opportunities the railroad brought for commercial and industrial expansion. Itís strategic location near the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek and as a stop on the railroad caused prosperity that produced brick stores, many industries, and fine houses.
The beginning of industry with the cotton mill, the Civil War involvement, the coming of the railroad, the townís coping with the depression of the Thirties, and the two world wars heavily influenced the town's development.
Elkin had the biggest cruising community on the east coast during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. USA TODAY once featured Elkin and its cruisers on the front page of the national news paper. However, a crackdown by local police in the early 1990s completely wiped out the once-vibrant weekend cruising scene leaving downtown Elkin deserted on weekend nights.
Mount Airy was settled in the 1750s as a stagecoach stop on the road between Winston-Salem and Galax, Virginia. It was named for a nearby plantation. Mount Airy was incorporated in 1885.
Mount Airy was the birthplace and childhood home of American actor Andy Griffith, and is widely believed to be the inspiration for the fictional community Mayberry, the setting of The Andy Griffith Show and its sequel, Mayberry RFD. Several locations and names mentioned in both shows reflect real places and people in or near Mount Airy, including Mount Pilot (nearby Pilot Mountain and the town named for it) and Snappy Lunch, a restaurant which still operates in the city's downtown area and is famous for its pork chop sandwich. In episode #154 of the Andy Griffith Show, Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau, Andy is clearly seen in close-up reading what could be a Mount Airy newspaper. All that is visible are the words "Airy News".
Three Ford Galaxie police cars, painted to resemble those used on the show, give rides to tourists. A barber shop has been named Floyd's, and a salvage yard has the name Mayberry. One of the attractions is the Andy Griffith Museum, which attracts about 200 visitors a day.
The community holds an annual Mayberry Days celebration during the last weekend of September. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro estimates the town receives $5 million each year as a result.
As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,388.
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