Harnett County, North Carolina presents an oasis of tranquil rural living and pleasant small-town communities, surrounded by some of NC’s fastest growing urban regions. Harnett County lies to the south of the ever-expanding Raleigh-Durham Metropolitan Area and north of the thriving city of Fayetteville. The globally recognized Research Triangle Park, home to over one hundred research and development firms, is less than an hour’s commute.
Situated in the south-central portion of North Carolina, Harnett County’s 600 square miles lie within both the Piedmont and Coastal Plain Regions. The Cape Fear River and its many tributaries provide wonderful recreation and scenic vistas. Harnett County residents enjoy a moderate Southern climate, with temperatures averaging 78 degrees in July and 39 degrees in January. Scant amounts of snow fall here, rarely more than 3 inches per winter. Forty-eight inches of summer rainfall keep Harnett County cool and green.
Census 2000 recorded Harnett County’s population at just over 91,000. The 2004 Census Estimate showed over 101,500 residents, almost a 50% increase since the 1990 Census. The towns and municipalities within Harnett County are small, with the city of Dunn proving the largest, with just over 10,000 people. Nine other towns and municipalities call Harnett County home, all with populations less than 5,000. The remainder of the populace resides on small farms, enjoying country living at its finest.
Dunn, an All-American City, offers a stable and strong economy supported by agriculture, manufacturing, distribution and tourism. Faith plays a large part in Dunn’s society. Thirty churches thrive here, as well as Heritage Bible College and Foundations Bible College. Dunn hosts the North Carolina Cotton Festival each year, a tribute to its solid agricultural base.
Harnett’s county seat, Lillington, nestles on the banks of the picturesque Cape Fear River. This community of 3,000 prides itself on strong family values and an outstanding quality of life. Outdoor activities abound in this scenic region. The amazing Raven Rock State Park in Lillington is home to a stunning crystalline structure that rises upwards over 150 feet and extends more than a mile along the river. Known for its diversity of wonderful wildflowers, the park provides an excellent spot to fish or canoe in its many streams.
Harnett County’s town of Erwin holds just fewer than 5,000 people. In the past, Erwin claimed the title of “Denim Capital of the World”, the town forming around a vital cotton mill in 1903. Erwin celebrates the Denim Days Festival each October, honoring their heritage and showcasing local arts and crafts. The town of Angier is exhibiting a spurt of economic growth, with many new businesses discovering this tight-knit community of less than 4,000 residents. Angier literally blooms with the annual Crepe Myrtle Celebration. The yearly golf tournament held here is a huge success.
The towns of Buies Creek, Averasboro Kipling, Duncan, Coates, are tiny communities of less than 2,000 people. Averasboro was the site of a Civil War battle and is home to the Averasboro Battlefield and Museum. Kipling contains the Harnett County Indian Museum. Located in Buie’s Creek, Harnett County’s Central Carolina’s Community College owns the only laser and fiber optics laboratory in the southeast. Along with Campbell University, county residents receive excellent educations. Twelve other universities lie within an hour’s drive. Interstates 95 and 40, along with several 4-lane NC highways provide Harnett County easy and quick access to all the nearby urban amenities.
Harnett County, North Carolina offers the peace and security of small-town living. Future growth will continue as the surrounding metropolis cities expand, but the unique spirit of Harnett County’s slower pace of life is sure to endure.