Carroll County, occupying a gently rolling plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains, was established in 1842 with land cut from Grayson County. The county was named for Charles Carroll of Maryland, who until his death in 1832 was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. The seat of government was established near the center of the county at Hillsville, the area's most populous settlement. The predominantly rural county has a rich store of mineral resources, including iron, lead, and copper, which were mined in Iron Ridge, Sylvatus, and Ivanhoe and shipped on rail spur lines. In the 1930s, construction of modern highways reliably linked Carroll to the rail-oriented population centers of Roanoke and Pulaski. Small-scale, modernized agriculture—dairy products, vegetables, livestock, and fruit—then became one of the county's principal industries. Improved transportation routes also brought textile and apparel manufacturing to the county.
Outdoor recreation is a prime attraction of the county. Thirty-five miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway pass through its scenic mountains and valleys. For hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists, recreational routes such as the New River Trail State Park provide additional opportunities to connect with nature. The completion of I-77 in the 1970s attracted commercial development and trucking-oriented businesses to the interstate corridor.
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