McDowell County administrative offices are located at 60 East Court Street, Marion, NC 28752; phone: 828-652-7121.
McDowell County was founded in 1842, and Marion was laid out as a planned town in 1843. John L. Carson gave 50 acres for the town and deeded another 13 acres to the county commissioners. Colonel Carson is said to have come to the Pleasant Gardens section of McDowell County about 1769, where he married Rachel McDowell. Together they built the Carson House about 1810. Colonel Carson served as a state legislator and was also very active in county government. He was a major landholder in the county, owning at one time over 80,000 acres.