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The CityThe guide was updated:Banner Elk takes its name from the explorer Martin L. Banner, who first established a western settlement near river Elk in 1848. However, this area, also known as "High Country" was first inhabited by Cherokee Indians, who possessed a strong foothold along the crest of Blue Ridge Mountain and used this rich land for hunting and agriculture. In 1825, white settlers began to inhabit the area, emigrating from other regions of the United States, as well as from Europe.
The town was officially incorporated in 1911 by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the area became primarily comprised of agriculture. Known as the “Christmas tree capital of the world," Banner Elk ´s economy is partly based on this small business, due to the strong presence of fir-forests in the hills surrounding the town. After World War II, tourism slowly began to change the face of this tiny mountain area, when vacationers discovered the wealth natural attractions such as Watauga Lake or spectacular slopes like Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain.