This special NORTH CAROLINA magazine community profile supplement features Stanly County. Although the county is generally rural, with farms, mountains, streams, and small towns, urban amenities are less than an hour away in Charlotte. The county has nine incorporated towns, with Albemarle as the county seat. Textiles brought prosperity to the county in the late 1890s, and today the textile industry remains the third largest private employer. Retail sale increased over the last five years, and the county is developing as a regional shopping area. The county school system had the state's highest K-12 test scores in 2005. The county has boundless tourism opportunities, including Morrow Mountain State Park.