Alexander County


Alexander County was established in 1847 from Iredell, Caldwell, and Wilkes counties. The county gets its name from William Julius Alexander, a Mecklenburg County solicitor and superintendent of the U.S. Mint’s Charlotte branch, who also served three terms as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. There is some debate on where the county seat of Taylorsville gets its name, but the prevailing thought is that it was named after the 12th U.S. president, Zachary Taylor.

Located in the Foothills, Alexander is known for its exceptional natural beauty and is one of five Northwestern counties home to the Brushy Mountains, an isolated range of the Blue Ridge Mountains that runs for approximately 45 miles. The highest point of the Brushies in Alexander is Hickory Knob, which has an elevation of 2,560 feet. Located along the southern edge of the Brushy Mountains, the Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area is a favorite among hikers, as well as proficient rock climbers. Rocky Face is known for its vertical mile challenge, a two-mile loop that begins and ends at the bottom of the rock face and includes a half-mile climb up an open rock face.

Farmland comprises 2/3s of the county’s land, with agricultural commodities generating approximately $6.5 Million annually in revenue. Alexander is ranked fourth in the state for layers (egg-laying chickens) and third in the state for apple production with nearly 150 acres of orchards. Since 1988, the Taylorsville Apple Festival has been held annually on the third Saturday in October and is estimated to draw a crowd of 35,000.

Like Macon County, Alexander is also referred to by some as the “gem capital of the world.” The unincorporated town of Hiddenite is home to the Emerald Hollow Mine, the only mine open to the public for prospecting and boasts more than 60 types of gems and minerals. In 1969, the largest emerald ever found in North America was discovered here. Nearly a century before in 1879, the mineralogist William Earl Hidden was sent to the region at the behest of Thomas Edison in search of platinum. While Hidden’s quest for platinum in NC proved unsuccessful, he was successful in discovering a new gem, eponymously named Hiddenite and considered the world’s fourth-rarest gemstone.

Two museums to note in the county are the Lucas Mansion Museum in Hiddenite and the Old Jail Museum in Taylorsville. The Lucas Mansion Museum is a three-story Victorian mansion originally built in 1900 that serves as the home of the Hiddenite Arts and Heritage Center. The mansion was the home of “Diamond Jim” Lucas, a diamond and gem importer who traveled the world and was a collector of eccentric pieces. Many of Lucas’ collectibles are still on display in the museum, as well as various antiques and local gems and minerals. The Old Jail Museum is housed in the county’s historic jail, originally built in 1913, and remains to this day one of the oldest standing jails remaining in North Carolina. Today the jail serves as a small museum, as well as the home of the Alexander County Genealogical Research Library.

Politically, Alexander remains one of the most favorable counties for the GOP. The last Democrat to win the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976. In 2020, the county delivered the third-highest margin in the state for Trump – the former president won by roughly 59 points. For the past decade, statewide GOP candidates have received more than 70% of the vote.


County Seat: Taylorsville
Biggest Cities:

Taylorsville, Bethlehem, Hiddenite

Media Market: Charlotte

Elected Officials

County Data