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Highlands, North Carolina

Highlands is an incorporated town located on a 20 square mile plateau in the southern Appalachian mountains in Macon County, North Carolina. As of the 2000 census, the town had a year-round population of 909, but the population swells to 10,000-15,000 during the "season".

The town was founded in 1875 by Samuel Truman Kelsey and Clinton Carter Hutchinson who, supposedly, drew lines from Chicago to Savannah and from New Orleans to Baltimore. They felt that the intersection of these two lines, would eventually become a great trading center and commerical crossroads.

In the 1930's the town became a golfing mecca when Bobby Jones, of Atlanta, and some of his well-heeled golfing buddies founded the Highlands Country Club. Today that club is one of seven successful residential country club communities situated between Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina. Tourism in Highlands is mostly seasonal (generally March through November), with the community drawing Southerners from the oppressive heat and humidity of their flat-land Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana summers.

The town is quaintly dotted with many antique dealers, a well-known auction house, restaurants, shops, inns as well as several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.


Highlands is located at 35°3'15" North, 83°12'8" West (35.054129, -83.202351)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 16.0 km² (6.2 mi²). 15.7 km² (6.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.94% water.

The town's official elevation is 4118 feet, making it the highest altitude as well as the coolest (during the summer months) of all towns in the southern United States. The annual rainfall approaches 90 inches due to the orthographic lifting effect of storms coming from the lower elevations to the west. This rainfall and, counterintuitively, the abundant sunshine, create a lush and verdant microclimate which delights botanists.


As of the census of 2000, there are 909 people, 445 households, and 253 families residing in the community. The population density is 57.9/km² (150.0/mi²). There are 1,713 housing units at an average density of 109.1/km² (282.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the community is 98.46% White, 0.00% African American, 0.00% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 2.97% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 445 households out of which 18.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% are married couples living together, 6.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% are non-families. 36.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.04 and the average family size is 2.66.

In the town the population is spread out with 16.4% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 19.9% from 25 to 44, 33.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 51 years. For every 100 females there are 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.5 males.

The median income for a household in the community is $33,750, and the median income for a family is $46,875. Males have a median income of $31,964 versus $20,662 for females. The per capita income for the town is $24,120. 7.5% of the population and 4.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 2.2% are under the age of 18 and 13.5% are 65 or older.

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