Overview of Murphy, North Carolina – The Location, Population, People, Real Estate, History, and Facts

One of the Entry Signs to Murphy NC City Limits
One of the Entry Signs to Murphy NC City Limits

Murphy is the westernmost town in North Carolina. Nestled in the Blue Ridge and Mountains, Murphy is the county seat of Cherokee County. The city limits of Murphy are actually quite small with a landmass of approximately 1,702.88 acres. On the same token, the “area” of Murphy is quite large. It comprises the entire zip code 28906.


Murphy’s downtown square is located at Longitude/Latitude N 35 05.267 W 84 02.060. It is located where the Valley River and Hiwassee River come together. Highways 64, 74, and 19/129 are the major roadways.

Directions to Murphy from internet sources such as Rand McNally and MapQuest tend to be down curvy routes.  Although the distance may be shorter, they tend not to be the best – especially coming from our South. You can get the best directions to Murphy NC here.


The city limits of Murphy have a mere 1,568 people. Albeit a small number, if you were to step back and look at the entire area referred to as Murphy (the entire zip code 28906), it has 16,454 people who call these mountains home. All of Cherokee County NC has a total population of 24,298.

The People of Murphy

When you’re looking to move to Murphy or buy an investment and/or second home property, it’s very important to know what to expect from the folks in Murphy.  Locals are some of the kindest and most generous people you’ll meet. They are open to newcomers and don’t shun people. Being in the heart of the Bible Belt, a large portion of people are religious and attend a wide variety of churches with varying denominations. The bottom line is, you’ll meet a lot of people who will become lifelong friends before you know it!


A Bird’s Eye View of Downtown Murphy, NC

Downtown Murphy has tons to offer! It’s one of the few downtowns that is walkable and full of great shops! You can easily park your car downtown and walk to every store downtown has to offer. There are many great options that include, and are certainly not limited to, a bakery, quilting shop, auto parts store, hardware and supply, shoe repair and shoe shop, antiques, sporting goods, women’s botique, coffee shop, book store, candy store, furniture store, drug store, and much more. You’ll enjoy it!


As of the census in 2000, Murphy was made up of 89.60% white, 5.48% African American, 1.28% Native American, 1.34% Asian, 1.15% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.87% of the population.

Real Estate

Real estate is one thing The POLTROCK TEAM knows well! View many of the common types of real estate for sale here. If you would like for us to search for specific property for you, let us know! You can call toll free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 or email me at JohnPoltrock@gmail.com . You are also welcome to use our online Contact Us forms.


Murphy was named for the North Carolina Politician, Archibald Murphey. Murphy originally started along the trading path known as the Unicoi Turnpike which connected the Cherokee lands east of the mountains with the “Overhill Towns” of Tennessee. Once the Indians were removed in 1836 across the Trail of Tears, the US Army built Fort Butler in what is today Murphy. Fort Butler was used as the main collection point for the Cherokee on the eastern side of the mountains. They were moved from Fort Butler, across the Unicoi Turnpike, and then to Fort Cass (which is now Charleston, Tennessee). Today, the Unicoi Turnpike is better known as Joe Brown Highway.

The site where Murphy is now located at along the Hiwassee River was known to the Cherokee Indians as Tlanusi-yi, which translates to the Leech Place. This name originated from a legend about a giant leech name Tlanusi that lived in the river.

Neat Facts

Murphy is closer to the capitals of six other states than it is its own state capital in Raleigh. The capitals of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia are all closer than Raleigh.

Eric Rudolph, the fugitive who was responsible for the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta, GA was arrested in Murphy by the Murphy Police Department after a futile, extensive FBI search. He was found behind Save-a-Lot grocery store.

Murphy, NC is rated by Forbes in the Top 10 list of up and coming vacation home markets.

There’s a rumor, albeit unsubstantiated, that President Lincoln’s Father is buried at the old Harshaw Chapel.

Mark Deweese, All-American Cross Country and Track athlete was both born and played at Murphy High School.

Carl Pickens, legendary football star, is a Murphy prodigy of years past.

Visit the Town of Murphy NC’s Official Website

Written By: John Poltrock, Certified Residential Specialistwww.MyMurphy.comJohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Call us Toll-Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496

References and Sources
Cherokee County Mapping Department
The 2000 U.S. Census