For much of its history, Transylvania County has been a destination for retirees and those with a second home. It’s also become a spot that is attracting more and more young individuals and families because of its plethora of outdoor opportunities and a place to put down roots. Today, hundreds of thousands of people each year visit Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park. All three offer chances to go cycling, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, fishing, hunting and camping. Roughly 41 percent of the county’s land is dedicated to recreation.
The county has been labeled as the “Cycling Capital of the South,” while Brevard often makes top 10 lists of places to retire and to live. Along with the outdoor pursuits, Transylvania has many cultural ones — from numerous arts and crafts locations to a vibrant musical scene, including the world-renowned summer festival held at the Brevard Music Center.
Transylvania County was founded in 1861. Roughly translated, Transylvania means “on the other side of the woods.” The county’s unofficial name is “The Land of Waterfalls,” and, with more than 250, it’s easy to see why.
In its early history, the timber industry, forestry and forest conservation all played major roles in the county’s development. For decades until just after the turn of the century, the manufacturing of paper for cigarettes and Bibles was done at the former Ecusta plant, providing some of the highest wages in the state. The plant’s closing, along with two other major manufacturers at roughly the same time, has seen the county have to adjust and seek new opportunities. In 2000, manufacturing accounted for 20.7 percent of the county’s workforce and retail accounted for 12.1 percent. Today, the county’s top three employers are the school system, Transylvania Regional Hospital and county government.
According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census, Transylvania has a current population of roughly 33,956, including 7,822 in the city of Brevard. The median household income in 2016 was $43,918 for the county and $38,370 for Brevard.
Per capita income, for the years 2012-2016 was $25,394 for the county and $23,478 for the city. Those considered to be in poverty were 16.6 of the population of the county and 13.5 percent of city residents.
The median value of owner-occupied housing units in Transylvania County between 2011 and 2015 was $192,000, according to the U.S. Census.
The county’s current property tax rate is set at $.5110 per $100 of value; city of Brevard ($.4950); and town of Rosman ($.4400).
To those looking to raise children in Transylvania, its surroundings make it a great place to raise a family. Its school system has also been recognized as among the top-performing in the state. The district includes four elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools and one alternative school.
The county also has a charter school — Brevard Academy: A Challenge Foundation Academy — and is home to Blue Ridge Community College and a four-year institution, Brevard College.
The county sits in the 11th Congressional District and is home to four elected bodies: the Brevard City Council, Rosman Board of Aldermen, Transylvania County Board of Commissioners and Transylvania Board of Education.
At the state level, the county sits within District 113 in the House and District 48 in the Senate.
In a county with so many waterfalls, it makes sense that it’s the wettest in the state, averaging about 80 inches a year. Temperatures in June average in the lower 70s. The year-round average temperature is 54.9.
The county is also conveniently located near Asheville Regional Airport, a 25-minute drive away. The city of Asheville is 25 miles away, Greenville, S.C., is 59, Charlotte is 115 and Atlanta is 204. For more relocation information, visit the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce at 175 E. Main St. in Brevard or call (828) 883-3700.