Madison County, located 15 miles north of Asheville, North Carolina, was formed in the mid-1850s, carved from Buncombe County and the western part of neighboring Yancey County. The town of Hot Springs, known for its long-visited mineral springs of the same name is situated in Madison County, along with the towns of Marshall and Mars Hill, which grew up around the establishment of Western North Carolina’s oldest university, Mars Hill College.
Madison’s northeastern neighbor, Yancey County, has the unique distinction of being home to five of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi (including Mt. Mitchell – the highest point in Eastern America). The county shares its northwestern Appalachian Mountain Ridge with Northeast Tennessee. The county seat, Burnsville, NC, is home to Parkway Playhouse and the Toe River Arts Council, both fine examples of the influence and importance of the arts in this area.