Downtown Franklin NC


Franklin NC Facts and Figures - Macon County NC Facts & Figures

Some information courtesy of Wikipedia

Franklin NC is an incorporated town located in Franklin Township, within the Nantahala National Forest, in Macon County, North Carolina. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 3,490. It is the county seat of Macon County. The Franklin, North Carolina area is rich in gems and minerals and is known as the "Gem Capital of The World.

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                   Location of Franklin, North Carolina


Franklin is located at 35°10′52″N 83°22′54″W / 35.18111°N 83.38167°W / 35.18111; -83.38167 (35.181144, -83.381685).

Franklin is large enough to offer almost everything you need, yet small enough to offer the highest quality of life. While the area is famous for is rural beauty, it is by no means isolated. Franklin is situated along major highways US 23/441 and US 64, with easy access to major interstates I-40, I-26 and I-85. Atlanta, Georgia is just 127 miles to the south, while Knoxville, Tennessee is only 110 miles to the north and Asheville, NC is 65 miles to the east.

Nearly half of Macon County, of which Franklin is the county seat, lies within the Nantahala National Forest. Comprised of over a half-million acres of unspoiled beauty, this magnificent forest is just waiting to be explored.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,490 people, 1,627 households, and 899 families residing in the town. The population density was 911.2 people per square mile (351.8/km²). There were 1,916 housing units at an average density of 500.2/sq mi (193.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.42% White, 1.98% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.01% of the population.

There were 1,627 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 40.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 79.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $21,534, and the median income for a family was $30,426. Males had a median income of $25,066 versus $18,472 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,129. About 15.2% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.4% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.

Growth and Cost of Living

Stores in downtown Franklin NC

Franklin is experiencing a growth in its population that is 12% higher than the national average. [6] Located within the Great Smoky Mountains, Franklin is situated 1 hour from Asheville, North Carolina, 2 hours from Atlanta, Georgia, 2 hours from Knoxville, Tennessee and 2 hours from Greenville, South Carolina. Due its proximity to these urban areas and its rural feel, Franklin is fast-becoming the location of choice for those seeking retirement, recreational, permanent, or second homes. The 2008 cost of living index in Franklin: 89.1 (less than average, U.S. average is 100).


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Monthly normal and record high and low temperatures [8]
Mon. Avg.
Avg. Rec.

Jan 48 °F 24 °F 36 °F 78 °F -15 °F
Feb 53 °F 26 °F 39 °F 78 °F -5 °F
Mar 60 °F 32 °F 46 °F 85 °F -5 °F
Apr 69 °F 39 °F 54 °F 91 °F 17 °F
May 76 °F 49 °F 62 °F 91 °F 25 °F
Jun 81 °F 57 °F 69 °F 97 °F 34 °F
Jul 85 °F 62 °F 73 °F 101 °F 45 °F
Aug 83 °F 61 °F 72 °F 99 °F 40 °F
Sep 78 °F 55 °F 67 °F 98 °F 27 °F
Oct 69 °F 42 °F 56 °F 91 °F 15 °F
Nov 60 °F 33 °F 46 °F 82 °F 3 °F
Dec 50 °F 26 °F 38 °F 78 °F -8 °F


Franklin is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the lower 80's and very cold during winter when temperatures tend to dip to upper 20's.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 84.50 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 24.00 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation in Franklin is 54.47 inches and rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is March with an average rainfall of 5.76 Inches


The mountains surrounding Franklin are lined with many hiking trails including the famous Appalachian Trail. The AT runs north and south only 10 miles west of Franklin and can be accessed at many locations in the area. Some 40 miles of side trails interlace with the AT in the region as well.

Another, lesser known trail also makes its way through area. Bartram Trail, named for American Botanist William Bartram, who documented the native flora and fauna of the area in 1775. Bartram Trail climbs into the hills of the Franklin area, inviting hikers to follow the explorer's footsteps and discover for themselves the exuberant natural world in which he took such delight. Both the Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail cross over Wayah Bald, one of the best known places in the Franklin area for sightseeing.

Gem Mining

John Becker Ruby Mining in Franklin NC

The natural heritage of Franklin is not limited to mountain scenery and wildlife. The area is rich in gems and minerals and is a favorite spot for rockhounds of all ages. The famous Cowee Valley north of Franklin lures thousands each year to its mines which yield valuable stones to lucky miners annually. You'll also find other gem mines located throughout the area. Among the native stones found are ruby, sapphire and garnets just to name a few.

Franklin is home to an active Gem & Mineral Society, which operates a charming and unique museum in a 19th Century jailhouse in downtown Franklin. The museum's incredible displays include local and state specimens, Indian artifacts, fossils and more.

The interest in gems & minerals has also spawned one of the country's best known gem shows, the Macon County Gemboree. That event will celebrate its 40th anniversary this July and draws thousands annually to Franklin. In fact, the original Gemboree has grown so popular two other gem shows have been added to accommodate the interest; the Mother's Day Gemboree held in May and the Leaflooker's Gemboree in October.

Visitor's often make the mines one of their first stops in Franklin. Just be sure to wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dirty. Most of the county's gem mines open for the season in early April.


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Cullasaja Falls is a waterfall in Southwestern North Carolina. The waterfall is located on the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest and is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Cullasaja comes from a Cherokee word meaning "honey locust place." The falls is the last major waterfall on the Cullasaja river. The falls is a long cascade over the course of 0.2 miles (.3 km). The height of the falls is given as 200 ft (61 m) in Kevin Adams' book, North Carolina Waterfalls and 250 ft (77.1 m) by However, Google Earth gives a height (based on the elevation of the water at the top of the falls and the elevation of the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls) of 137 ft (42 m). It is easy to catch a glimpse of the falls as you drive by; however, getting a better view of the falls is not easy. The falls are located beside of a series of blind curves on Highway 64 with sheer rock cliffs above and below the road. There is only one small pull-off near the falls, but walking on the road puts visitors in danger of being hit by a passing vehicle.

Dry Falls, also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, is a 65-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina. Dry Falls flows on the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. It is part of a series of waterfalls on a 8.7-mile (14 km) stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry when the waterflow is low, hence its name. Visitors will get wet if the waterflow is high. The falls has been called Dry Falls for a long time, but has also gone by a few other names, including High Falls, Pitcher Falls, and Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 15.7 miles (25.3 km) southeast of Franklin, North Carolina. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park before walking the short path with stairs to the falls. The United States Forest Service is making improvements to the parking area. The public areas will be closed during this renovation.

Bridal Veil Falls is a 45-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, southeast of Franklin. With a short curve of roadway located behind the falls, it has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under. Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. The falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk behind the falls and remain dry when the waterflow is low. During periods of drought, the stream may nearly dry up, though visitors will get wet if the waterflow is moderate or high. To avoid this, stay in your vehicle and drive behind the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 16.5 miles (26.3 km) southeast of Franklin. Highway 64 originally used the curve of roadway behind the falls exclusively so that all traffic went behind them; however, this caused problems with icing of the roadway during freezing weather, and Hwy. 64 has been re-routed around the front of the falls since. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park and view the falls as well. In 2003, a massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, blocking that side of the drive-under completely. However, in July 2007, that boulder was removed by a local developer.


Cherokee Influence

Long before the first European settlers arrived to the mountains of southwestern North Carolina, they were home to the Cherokee Indian Nation. In a valley surrounded by some of the oldest mountains on earth, the Cherokee called the area that is now Franklin, "Nikwasi" or "center of activity". Nikwasi was an ancient and important Cherokee town. The remains of Nikwasi Mound are still visible in downtown Franklin, marking the location of Nikwasi's townhouse.

While the mound was probably built during the earlier Mississippian Culture, it was the spiritual center of the area. A Council House, or Town House, used for councils, religious ceremonies, and general meetings, was located on top the mound, and the ever-burning sacred fire, which the Cherokee had kept burning since the beginning of their culture, was located there. Thus the mound was a most revered site.

Macon County Veterans Memorial Park

The Veterans Memorial Board of Directors in Macon County are currently constructing a memorial at the county's recreation park in Franklin of the same name, The Macon County Veterans Memorial Park. The purpose of the memorial is to honor the veterans of Macon County that have made incredible sacrifices throughout history to preserve individual freedoms and secure the sovereignty of the United States.

Macon County Airport

The Macon County Airport is located in the Iotla Valley, just north of Franklin, and reports ASOS weather station information as "Franklin" at :00, :20, and :40 past each hour.

Simple Pleasures

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After you've taken in the scenic and natural beauty of the area, you've yet to discover Franklin's main attraction…our people. Don't be surprised to be greeted by smiles and a friendly "hello" from perfect strangers as you make your way around Franklin. As you stroll along our streets you'll discover many unique shops and restaurants.

From arts and crafts to music, you'll find our mountain heritage still being passed on today to new generations. Numerous arts & crafts shows are held annually where you can learn more about and see mountain heritage arts demonstrations.

Each year Franklin offers numerous festivals and special events including, Pickin' on the Square which features live music each Saturday night June through October in downtown. Discover our Scottish heritage during A Taste of Scotland in June. Take in the largest 4th of July celebration in western North Carolina right here in Franklin. The Macon County Fair is held each September and is one of the few remaining true agricultural fairs in the country plus many other activities throughout the year.

You can discover more about the history of the area at two museums located in downtown Franklin; the Macon County Historical Museum and the Scottish Tartans Museum, the only American extension of the Scottish Tartans Museum in Keith, Scotland.

Nature's wonders, history and heritage, make Franklin, North Carolina the ideal place for a relaxing, refreshing getaway – truly the home of mountain treasures and simple pleasures.

Links of interest:


Macon County NC Real Estate with Specialty in Franklin & Otto
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