North Carolina-Swain County-November 2

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 2

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

In 1871 one of North Carolina’s last populated counties Swain was formed from Jackson and Macon County. Swain population is just about 14,000 and its county seat is Bryson City, NC. Map of Swain is shown below outlined in red.


Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary, Swain County rests in the mountains of North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee call the county their home, and the tribe’s cultural and historical influence is significant in Swain County. Tourism and the gaming industry (Harrah’s Casino) is the primary industry of the region.


Tourism has developed into Swain County’s primary industry, but during the past, agriculture remained the top income producer for the area. Forest products along with tobacco, boxwoods, Christmas trees, and livestock were the main crops grown by Swain County farmers. In addition to crops, the mining industry remains strong in the region, as minerals such as pegmatite, feldspar, pyrite, quartz, and magnetite are mined in Swain yearly.

Pyrite is often referred to as “Fool’s Gold” and is an important in the production of sulfur and sulfuric acid. Today most sulfur is obtained as a byproduct of natural gas and crude oil processing. Some sulfur continues to be produced from pyrite as a byproduct of gold production.



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