Wilkes County (Images of America) by Misty Bass, Christy Earp, Jennifer L. Pena
Hardy pioneers settled this area of the North Carolina backcountry in the 18th century. Perhaps best known for illegal whiskey and stock car racing, Wilkes County heritage also lies in agriculture and industry. Farmers toiled the land while industrialists and merchants built houses, businesses, railroads, and services in the county's three municipalities: Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro, and Ronda. Major corporations Lowe's and Holly Farms were born here. Americana music is a staple of local culture, with popular festivals like MerleFest drawing international acclaim to the area. The enduring folkways and down-home values of this rural community have long made Wilkes County a place where the roots of family and history run deep.