With county lines drawn in 1881, Vance County was formed from parts of Franklin County, Granville County, and Warren County and borders Virginia. Vance County is home to a thriving economic community and a rich tourism industry. Vance County real estate often centers on Kerr Lake, the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River and one of the state’s largest parks and tourist attractions. Kerr Lake boasts 850 miles of shoreline, surrounded by diverse wildlife and North Carolina forest land. Its largest town is Henderson, and other locations on the map include Kittrell and Middleburg.
Vance County Historic Places
Historic sites pepper the landscape of Vance County. The Kitrell Confederate Cemetery is the final resting place for many confederate soldiers from all over the South. Fifty-four Confederate soldiers from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are buried here. They died at General Hospital Number One, Kittrell Springs, in the former Kittrell Springs Hotel owned by Maj. Charles C. Blacknall and his brother.
Henderson, NC – Vance County’s largest town, county seat
Henderson, NC hosts more than 20 places or districts listed in the National Historic Register of Places. Realizing the need to preserve and restore its wonderful history, the City of Henderson sought designation as a North Carolina Main Street City and gained that status in 1986. Composing 16 square blocks and occupying approximately 46 acres, Henderson’s Central Business Historic District is a testimony to the city’s role as the largest town and seat of Vance County since 1881. This district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. The district contains 128 structures, 97 of which are contributing structures. Architectural detailing gives the district a remarkable turn-of-the-century appearance.
Education: History and Today
From its establishment in 1887 by the Freedmen’s Mission Board of the United Presbyterian Church through the beginnings of school integration in 1970, the Henderson Institute was the only secondary school open to African Americans in Vance County. This building is all that remains of an educational complex that once anchored the surrounding African American neighborhood. The present-day museum has preserved recordings of the schools and offers permanent exhibits.
Vance-Granville Community College today provides a wide range of workers training programs for new and existing businesses, plus links to business assistance resources and networks for all students.
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