Surry County :: Surry County, Elkin, and Mt. Airy, NC
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.
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