Morganton, town (1990 pop. 15,085), seat of Burke co., W N.C., on the Catawba River in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mts.; founded 1784, inc. 1885. A lake resort town, it also has industries that manufacture textiles, clothing, chemicals, furniture, foam rubber, and auto and tool parts. North of the town, at a Native American mound site, archaeologists have discovered the likely remains of Fort San Juan, a Spanish fort (1567–68).