Economics

Buster Brown Comes To Town!

Buster Brown Comes To Town!

Turning out when a celebrity visits town has always been commonplace, and when Buster Brown and his dog Tige stopped by the new Spruce Pine Store building in the 1920s, the whole town turned out to say hello. “I’m Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe. That’s my dog,...

SUMMERTIME!

SUMMERTIME!

These days our summer recreation and relaxation might involve kayaking or canoeing on the river or cooking hamburgers and hotdogs on a gas grill.  However, the 2 photos from the 1950s in this week’s Looking Back show that Mitchell County residents have long enjoyed...

Stacy Buchanan Grist Mill

Stacy Buchanan Grist Mill

Joseph Stacy Buchanan (1866-1950) ground wheat and corn for many around Mitchell County.  He caught his right arm in a belt and had to have it amputated above the elbow.  He continued to work at the mill even after he lost his arm.  Stacy Buchanan was the son of...

ROBY BUCHANAN, TIFFANY OF THE HILLS

ROBY BUCHANAN, TIFFANY OF THE HILLS

Late summer brings the annual gem festivals, so we look back at a Mitchell County gemologist who was one of the Mineral and Gen Festival’s early participants.  Roby Milton Buchanan (1903-1974) has been judged the greatest jewel craftsman of the Blue Ridge Mountains,...

Chestnut Flats Mine

Chestnut Flats Mine

Initial mining in Mitchell County, in the 1880s, was for mica, dug in a few large operations but also in small family mines which brought in extra money when men were not busy farming.  By the 20th century, however, the county was found to be rich in other minerals,...

Blacksmith Wilson Smith Jones

Blacksmith Wilson Smith Jones

Blacksmiths were once an essential element in any community, manufacturing and repairing items which couldn’t be purchased – or if they could be, were too difficult or expensive to bring into the mountains.  These skilled tradesmen produced axe heads, plowshares, pots...

Keepers of the Bees

Keepers of the Bees

Settlers in Appalachia had several types of sweetnin’ – sugar from maple or other trees, syrup from sorghum, etc., and honey from the bees brought from Europe to America in the 1600s. Many mountain families first kept bees in hollowed-out black gum trees and later in...

Red Hill

Red Hill

The Mitchell County community of Red Hill earned its name when a family over-farmed one of it’s hillsides. When heavy rains came, washing all of the topsoil away, all that was left was a “red hill”.    ...

Grazing Sheep in Mitchell County

Grazing Sheep in Mitchell County

Raising sheep has always been difficult in the mountains due to predation by wolves, to begin, and later on, dogs and coyotes.  Through the years some Mitchell County landowners have attempted to bring sheep back to Mitchell County with electric fencing and the...

Cutting Timber

Cutting Timber

Early Appalachia seemed to have limitless timber; settlers in our area were well supplied with wood for fuel and building their homes, and forests provided bountiful food.  The mountains were not easily accessible to logging enterprises, however, nor could the timber...

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