Iredell County

About

Iredell County was formed in 1788 out of Rowan County and named for Judge James Iredell, who served as North Carolina’s Attorney General during the American Revolution. The name Iredell comes from “Eyredale” which means “a valley of flowing air.” Located 45 miles north of Charlotte, the county seat of Statesville was incorporated in 1789.

Close proximity to Charlotte has made Iredell a sought-after county for commuters and businesses alike. Since 2000, the county has experienced 30% population growth and is now the state’s 14th most populous county. With approximately 204k residents, the county has grown 8.5% just since the 2020 census.

During the nineteenth century, the introduction of the railroad made Iredell a state leader in tobacco, and whiskey and a world leader in roots and herbs. Located in Statesville, the Wallace Brothers Herbarium was the largest herbarium in the world. Originally founded in 1859 by Jewish immigrant brothers David and Isaac Wallace, they specialized in processing herbs and roots for medicinal purposes. By 1890, the brothers’ herbarium had grown into a 40,000-square-foot depot and processed more than 2,000 varieties of herbs.

While the county’s economy took a hit during prohibition, Iredell remained an agricultural leader. Today, the county is still a leading agricultural county in the state and ranks first for cattle and dairy and fifth for eggs.

Statesville is also known for its manufacturing and specifically hot air balloons. In 1969 Tracy Barnes opened Balloon Works, now known as FireFly Balloons, and became one of America’s original hot air balloon manufacturers. The city hosts the world’s second-oldest hot air balloon festival, which celebrates its 49th year this October. A seven-story Carolina Balloon Museum — which will house an actual hot air balloon — is slated for Statesville to commemorate the city’s contributions to the industry.

Although Statesville is the county seat, Mooresville is the most populous city. Located 25 miles from Charlotte, it is home to the Lowe’s Hardware headquarters and the NASCAR Technical Institute. Referred to as “Race City USA,” many NASCAR racing teams and drivers choose to call Mooresville home and is the location of the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, which houses more than 40 cars commemorating some of racing’s biggest moments and paying tribute to all kinds of racing. Opened in 2002, the NASCAR Technical Institute is a 146k square foot campus where students can study a range of specialties from automotive to welding, to robotics and automation. The Mooresville Day Festival, an annual celebration of the city, was held this past weekend.

A discussion on Iredell would be incomplete without mentioning the “Cowboy Capital”: Love Valley. In 1954, a Charlotte-based general contractor named Andy Barker packed up his family and purchased 1,000 acres of land just north of Statesville in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains to build an authentic Western town. Barker brought in his contracting team and first built a church, followed by an arena to host rodeos and other western events. Though Barker died in 2011, his rule that no cars are allowed on the town’s Main Street still exists. Only horses are allowed in the town’s downtown. Visitors to Love Valley can camp on one of the many campgrounds or stay in cabins, ride horses, and experience saloons, horse-pulls and other attractions that evoke the Old West.

Iredell is a deep red county politically that has grown even more Republican in recent elections. Mitt Romney carried the county in 2012 by 30% and Donald Trump won the county by 36% in both 2016 and 2020. In 2022, Ted Budd won the county by a margin of 37%.

Geography

Elected Officials

County Data