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Boone was established as a town in 1791, and is the second oldest municipality in North Carolina. It became the county seat of Watauga County when it was formed from parts of Washington and Rutherford counties in 1799. The first settlers arrived that same year, led by General Samuel Ashe (1725–1813), for whom nearby Mount Mitchell is named. The courthouse on Main Street has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974; Boone itself was added to the register during 1985-86 as a historic district with an additional listing later added for its downtown commercial area during 2008-09.