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.
Help Renovate & Enhance The McBee Museum
MCHS is undertaking work to renovate and enhance the McBee Museum, one of the oldest buildings in Bakersville. We have worked with structural specialists and museum archivists to develop a plan that will protect the building and enhance its displays. Won’t you help us? Learn more about the project.
MCHS Membership & Newsletter
Please consider becoming a member of the Mitchell County Historical Society.
Discounts on merchandise purchased from the MCHS store are but one of the many goodies for members of MCHS. Here is a preview of the newsletter members receive, the Quarterly Review. Download a copy (PDF file – opens with the free Adobe Reader software) and see what members will be receiving beginning in the new year. Plus, you will get advance notice (and input) on our presentation series, opportunities to volunteer to help preserve our history, and access to online resources to research topics and genealogy in our office located in the Historic Mitchell County Courthouse.
Not a member? Join today!
Watch The Presentation:
In the Shadow of the Roan
Allen Cooke, Mitchell County Manager and noted author, gave a presentation on his new book to start the 2022 MCHS programs.
Shop Our Online Store
The MCHS Online Store offers a variety of gift ideas for that special someone, or for yourself! Plus, all proceeds from sales go to support our mission of preserving the history and heritage of Mitchell County.
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What’s New on the Site
Here are our latest posts about Mitchell County’s history. We welcome suggestions for topics. Please contact us to submit your ideas!
Clarissa Baker Buchanan – The Epitome of A Strong, Courageous, Mountain Woman
Driving up Cane Creek Road in eastern Mitchell County there is a community called Clarissa. (Most people may pronounce it “Claircey”.) The story of how the name of this...
The First Electric Lights for Bakersville and Toecane
Bill Masters is credited with bringing the first electric lights to Toecane and Bakersville from energy generated by his water wheel in a 3-story mill in Toecane. According to...
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...
POLLY WRIGHT STEWART SAW FIVE GENERATIONS
Mary Wright was born about 1836 according to her death certificate, but most census records show her as being a few years younger, born perhaps about 1839. Her parents, Solomon...
Mitchell County’s Mica Mine Murders
Waightstill Avery Anderson was a Mitchell County revenue officer. Anderson married Nora Bowman, the daughter of J.W. Bowman and Mary Garland. Anderson had the reputation as a man...
J.J. Britt: Defender of Freedom
On 19 October 1899, J.J. Britt, presiding over the North Carolina Republican Party meeting in Statesville opposing the suffrage amendment, the Campaign for Freedom In North...
Happenings of note
Our Earliest Highway: Bright’s Trace and the Yellow Mountain Road
Most of us journey up US Highway 19E to Avery County not realizing we’re traveling over millions of hoofprints, footprints, wagon tracks, and finally automobile tracks that have...
The Bakersville Riot: The Greatest Battle In America since the Massacre of Little Big Horn
In 1893, an event known as the Bakersville Riot launched Bakersville across the front pages of newspapers worldwide.The events leading up to the riot occurred eleven years...
A Very Special Six Months in Buladean
For many years, churches in our community served dual roles as centers of religious and social activity on Sundays, and also during the week,as schools for students of all ages....
Unique locales in Mitchell County
Magnetic City and Wilder’s Forge were the original names of this community on Big Rock Creek in northern Mitchell County. The name Magnetic City comes from the story that when...
This community on Snow Creek, was named for Professor Charles Hallet Wing who settled in the area in 1887. Professor Wing had taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...
The simple name of this community on Pigeon Roost Creek in northern Mitchell County, comes from the large number of carrier pigeons, now extinct, that once roosted in the area.
These define Mitchell County
Honoring Mitchell County’s WWII Heroes: Arthur Ray Buchanan
Speaking of Ray Buchanan, folks will say admiringly with a shudder, “Oh, yes, he was a survivor of that awful Bataan Death March.” This does not come close to what 17-year-old...
Brad Ragan ~ Spruce Pine’s “hard-driving, cigar-chomping businessman.”
Bradley Eugene Ragan was born 14 May 1915 in Coleman, Georgia, the son of W.E. and Lillian Brown Ragan. Ragan was the founder and Chairman of the Board of Brad Ragan, Inc.,...
“One of our most cherished teachers” ~ James B. Blevins
The 1963 Senior Class of Bowman High School dedicated their annual to “one of our most cherished teachers, James B. Blevins.” Until his untimely death at 37 from complications of...
Making a living in Mitchell County
Toecane ~ The Commercial Center of Mitchell County
Indigenous people came through the area where Cane Creek meets the Toe River at least four thousand years ago on their way to their hunting camp up Cane Creek near Sandy Branch....
“Can you hear me now?” Upgrading Spruce Pine’s Phone System
Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company opened a new exchange building on Walnut Avenue in Spruce Pine in May 1953. This new, larger structure replaced the old telephone...
Robert B. Phillips – Educational Giant and Farmer
Robert Blalock Phillips was born 10/30/1902 in the Snow Hill community of Mitchell County. He was the son of W.S. (Woodfin Squibb) Phillips (1874-1952) and Sophia Blalock...
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.
Events in May 2023
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