Marion City

McDowell County, North Carolina

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Marion City Hall is located at 194 North Main Street, Marion, NC 28752.
Phone: 828‑652‑3551.


Marion is named for Revolutionary War General Francis Marion.

All of the major streets in town were laid out in 1843 including Main Street, Cross Street (later Court Street), Fort Street on the north, Logan Street on the west, Garden Street on the east, and Henderson Street on the south. These form the approximate boundaries of the original town. The first courthouse, built in 1845, was located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Main and Cross (Court) Streets, in the same place as the present day courthouse. Basic services provided in the town, as the county seat, included schools, lawyers, a few merchants, doctors, and churches. These early commercial buildings were built primarily along Main Street along with a few scattered dwellings.

Commercial development in Marion, like so many other western North Carolina communities, was slow until the railroad arrived in 1870 and opened the area to expansion and growth. When the Western North Carolina (W.N.C.) Railroad (later the Southern Railroad) finally reached Marion, the town began to experience substantial growth. The population increased, and as a result, additional commercial enterprises were begun.

At the turn of the 20th century, industrial expansion was great, as was the growth in tourism and resort development. The first industry in Marion, a cotton mill, was the Marion Manufacturing Company, established in 1906. Located approximately 1-1/2 miles southeast of the courthouse, the plant and office-store were built in 1906 and began operation in 1910. A mill village was constructed around the mill. In 1914 another cotton mill with its attendant village was founded, known as the Clinchfield Manufacturing Company. Then, in 1916, yet another cotton mill was developed by the Eugene Cross, Sr. family. Located southwest of downtown, it was known as Cross Mill and was also surrounded by a mill village.

Marion was a popular stopover point for those on their way to Asheville in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Southern Railway promoted the area in its literature as a tourist haven. Marion, by 1910, had its own "hotel district" on North Main Street which included the Eagle Hotel (Hotel McDowell), the Fleming Hotel, and the Hotel Marianna. Many of the hotels provided a special dray services to meet passengers at the depot. Other hotels in town included the Dellinger Hotel, the Elliott Hotel, and the Piedmont Hotel. By the time the Charleston, Cincinnati, and Chicago Railroad (CC&O, later Clinchfield) reached Marion about 1908, there were many daily passenger trains that stopped in town. With the CC&O running north-south and the Southern running east-west, Marion had become a crossroads for travelers.

  1. Sybil Argintar Bowers, Preservation Planning Consultant, Bowers Southeastern Preservation, Historic and Architectural Resources of Downtown Marion, N.C., nomination document, 1990, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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