Mills River is among the oldest communities in Henderson County with its first landholder receiving a deed from the State of North Carolina in 1787.  Mills River was considered the seat of public education in Henderson County, and was once a thriving agricultural community, often called the “fertile crescent”.

Dairy farming was a large part of the local economy for many years, and though the area still remains true to its agriculture roots, it is more diverse with traditional crops as well as ornamental plants, sod, and herbs.  Organic farms and horse farms are also becoming more prevalent in the community.

Many families living here today are direct descendants of the early settlers of the Mills River area and Henderson County, and continue to own land that has been in their families since the 1700’s.  Jesse Rickman, William Mills, and other early settlers fought in the Revolutionary War. 




Mills River remains proud of its heritage, but we are no longer just a rural farming community.  We are a Town of some 7,068 persons.  There is a 5-lane highway that splits the Town in two, making easy access to a major interstate and a regional airport, and Pisgah National Forest forms one of our boundaries.  All of these things contribute to Mills River being one of the fastest growing areas in Western North Carolina.  It is our desire to maintain the balance of our community, to protect our natural, historical and cultural resources and manage the growth of Mills River.