The History & Heritage of Mitchell County, NC
The Mitchell County Historical Society is committed to the preservation of the history, heritage, and culture of Mitchell County, North Carolina. We hope you enjoy your visit and stop by often for updated stories, photos, and videos.
Holiday Gifts in Our Online Store
Looking for a gift for that special someone? The MCHS Online Store has ideas for you! Our Christmas Ornaments collection features scenes of Mitchell County, including the McBee Building and Dellinger Grist Mill in Bakersville, the Penland Post Office, the Kona Baptist Church (where Charlie Silver of the famous Frankie and Charlie story is buried), and the English Inn and the Railroad Depot in Spruce Pine.
We also have a great selection of books, including Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series covering our region, census records, and the coffee table book Voices of the Valley, celebrating Mitchell County’s Sesquicentennial.
Your purchases through our store help fund MCHS programs and services dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of Mitchell County. We ship products nationwide and you can buy and pay online using PayPal.
Stop in and visit our online store today!
Want to learn more about what is taking place with the Historical Society? We release a quarterly newsletter with information on programs, events, updates on projects, and much, much more. MCHS members receive the newsletter as part of their membership early each quarter.
What’s New on the Site
Here are our latest posts about Mitchell County’s history. We welcome suggestions for topics to add. Please use our contact page to submit your ideas to us!
Locations with interesting stories
Our ancestors here wove flax and wool to make their clothing and coverlets; they used bellows and fire to weld a fire box, make shoes for their horses and mules. They shaped and fired clay pots to store drink and food. There were those who painted portraits of their...read more
Shortly after Judge Heriot Clarkson established the resort community of Little Switzerland in 1910, others came with their vision of establishing summer camps in the beautiful mountain community. In 1914, a Charleston, SC resident, Miss Marie Gaillard Dwight, started...read more
Significant people in Mitchell County
Three generations of Pates have carried the mail along the roads of Tipton Hill, beginning in 1917 with Uriah Pate. Mr. Pate first rode a horse and sometimes a mule to deliver mail. One cold winter day, his mule slipped on the ice and pinned him to the ground. He was...read more
Happenings of note
No one knows for sure when the original part of the English Inn was built, but we do know that it has set, for at least two centuries, as the anchor of our community. The Inn was originally built by the Rowe family, at the busy crossing point of the Marion to...read more
In September and October of 1780, Overmountain Patriots made their way through the Toe River Valley to quash a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson. Hundreds of families had settled “over the mountains” in what is now Western North Carolina, East Tennessee, and...read more
These define Mitchell County
Ford Motor Company produced 15 million Model T automobiles from October 1, 1908 through May 26, 1927. They were sometimes referred to as “Tin Lizzies” or a “flivvers.” Ford Model T’s relied on a removable hand crank in the front of the vehicle until 1920, when the...read more
The Belk store was a large part of the Spruce Pine community for nearly 75 years. Initially opening in 1928 in a building next to today’s Dellinger’s Christian Book Store, it was operated like many other Belk enterprises: the Charlotte-based company joined with...read more
Making a living in Mitchell County
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,...read more
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...read more
Check out the upcoming events from the Mitchell County Historical Society. Click or tap on a date that is highlighted for information on what’s happening.
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