About Mitchell County

Estatoe

This Mitchell County community in southern Mitchell County lies along Brushy Creek. The name comes from an Indian Princess who fell in love with a brave from a rival tribe. Because their love would never be accepted by either’s families, they jumped from a precipice...

Roan Mountain

Mitchell County’s most famous mountain straddles the Tennessee border at an elevation of 6,200 feet above sea level. It was probably named for its roan color when seen from a distance when the rhododendron are in bloom. Legend, however has it, that it was named for...

Penland

Penland

This world-renown community in southern Mitchell County, is famous for it’s School of Handicrafts. At an elevation of 2,462 feet, it was named for Milton Penland, pioneer settler and businessman. The Penland School of Crafts was founded in 1910 by Miss Lucy Morgan.

Fox Hunters on the Roan

Fox Hunters on the Roan

The July 21, 1955 edition of the Tri-County News featured this photo taken in 1905 at Roan Mountain in front of the bowling alley of the old Cloudland Hotel. These fox hunters are posing with their dogs. They are (left to right): Reverend Molt Buchanan, Bergin Gouge,...

Decoration at Old Town Cemetery in Bakersville

Decoration at Old Town Cemetery in Bakersville

Soon after the Civil War, Decoration Day began to be observed in many cemeteries around the Mountain South.  Southerners often claim the custom was copied in the North and became our national holiday, Memorial Day.  Generally held in the summer, Decoration Day...

Roby Buchanan: Beyond Tiffany of the Hills

Roby Buchanan: Beyond Tiffany of the Hills

In the June 1958 issue of National Geographic, he was given the title of “Tiffany of the Hills.” Tiffany and Company began and continues as a fine jewelry distribution business in New York City. The real story, as you will see, makes that label a shallow substitute...

The Doctor is on Call – Dr. Kimberly Comes to Bakersville

The Doctor is on Call – Dr. Kimberly Comes to Bakersville

In March 1960, I was in the last quarter of general practice training at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.  Dr. Arthur E. Gouge came to Baptist Hospital as a patient and also as a recruiter.  He was about 80 years old and had been “doctoring” in...

Kilmichael Tower and Little Switzerland

Kilmichael Tower and Little Switzerland

Judge Heriot Clarkson of Charlotte and his family were the developers of the resort community of Little Switzerland in 1910. The community between Grassy Mountain and Chestnut Ridge had been settled by several generations of hardy pioneers by the time Clarkson arrived...

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,...

The Glen Ayre Rambler – Wayne Ledford

The Glen Ayre Rambler – Wayne Ledford

This article courtesy of Blue Ridge Natural Heritage Area  www.blueridgeheritage.com/traditional-artist-directory/wayne-ledford Wayne Ledford was born into a musical family in the Little Rock Creek community of Mitchell County, and he has been playing for more than 75...

The Cherokee Wars

The Cherokee Wars

When the French and Indian War ended in 1763, territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi was ceded to Britain by France. Native Americans living in the area looked to the Crown to protect them from incursions of land-hungry settlers, but the Proclamation of 1763...

The “Burleson” of “Burleson Hill”

The “Burleson” of “Burleson Hill”

  J.E. Burleson operated this mica house atop Burleson Hill, the location of the current Spruce Pine Town Cemetery. Burleson began opening mica mines in 1894 and ground mica beginning in the 1900s. He was the largest individual mica operator in the region. His...

The Little Boxes before the Big Boxes

The Little Boxes before the Big Boxes

Before the days of the “big box” chain stores, Spruce Pine had many “mom and pop” grocery stores that served the area. There were also many smaller stores in almost every community. There was even a branch of the Dixie Home Store on Lower Street for several years that...

Little Switzerland

Little Switzerland

This exotic European name was penned by Judge Heriot Clarkson of Charlotte who established this resort community near the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1910. The resemblance of the area to the mountains of Switzerland gave rise to the name. At an altitude of 3,500 feet above...

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