Sometimes called the 'Gateway to the Mountains,' McDowell County, found in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, is approximately 30 minutes east of Asheville and 35 minutes west of Hickory via Interstate 40. It is one of the fastest growing communities in Western North Carolina. With a rich heritage and a progressive outlook, it is no wonder that McDowell County has adopted the slogan "Great History, Exciting Future".
This area was once the site of the western most outpost of the United States and North Carolina until 1776, the county also beckoned the first railroad access to Asheville in the 1870's. McDowell County was formed in 1843 from Rutherford and Burke. It was named in honor of Colonel Joseph McDowell, an officer of the Revolution. The organizers met in the historic Carson House, a stagecoach inn whose famous visitors included Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. Marion, named after Sir Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox", serves as the county seat. It is in the west central section of the State and is bounded by Burke, Rutherford, Henderson, Buncombe, Yancey, Mitchell and Avery counties.