Altitude: 2,655 feet
"As a pleasure resort, and in population, commerce, and industrial pursuits, Waynesville is one of the most important little cities in western North Carolina. Its location is beautiful and picturesque. The climate is delightful throughout the year; fine accommodations for visitors are provided by several excellent hotels and numerous boarding houses, and the scenery in the surrounding county is wonderfully attractive. The town was one of the first white settlements in this section and was named in honor of General Anthony Wayne, of Revolutionary War fame. It is the seat of Haywood County and, in all respects, is prosperous and progressive. Light and power are furnished by a complete and modern electrical power plant; the buildings, both public and private, are well constructed and handsome; the streets are paved and admirably maintained; three banks furnish adequate commercial facilities; and every line of business is represented by substantial men. Quite deservedly, the town frequently is referred to as 'Waynesville, the Beautiful.'
"In the surrounding county extensive lumbering operations are being carried on, some of the finest hard woods in the Southern Appalachians being found here. In the rich farming section by which the town is environed, particular attention is being devoted to fruit growing and stock raising. Both of these special agricultural industries are developing rapidly, as the soil, climate and general conditions render them very profitable.
"In the vicinity of the county seat are several interesting and beautiful resorts, including Haywood White Sulphur Springs, Eagles’ Nest on Junalaska Mountain, Lickston Mountain, Mount Olivet and Oak Park. About eight miles distant towards the South is Wessner Bald, a fine view of which may be had from the Southern Railway trains. This rugged peak may be reached by a rough trail from Waynesville, but once at its summit the tramper will be amply repaid for his trouble by the magnificent view to be obtained of the town and its surroundings and of the exquisitely beautiful valley of Wauteska."
"The Southern Railroad runs through the central southern or best agricultural portion of the county, through the Pigeon River and Richland Creek valleys, and affords good transportation facilities. A narrow gauge railroad, used by the Champion Fiber Company to get pulp wood in their plant, runs up Allen Creek a distance of about eight miles. This company has graded a railroad from Clyde to Sunburst, and expects to put it in operation soon. About 50 miles of macadam roads have been built in different directions from Waynesville. The dirt roads in the valleys are in good shape, but the rougher mountain roads are in bad shape."
- J.S. Holmes, Forest Conditions in Western North Carolina (1911), p. 43
"Within an easy ten-mile horse-back-ride of Waynesville is the beautiful Caney Fork Bald, 5,926 feet high; and three miles further along on the same trail is the highest summit of Richland Balsams---the Great Divide, with an altitude of 6,540 feet. This is the highest peak between the Great Smoky Mountains on the West and the Black Mountains on the East. The view from the summit of the Great Divide is unobstructed in every direction and is one of the most beautiful in the world. The crest of the Great Divide may be reached by trail from Waynesville through Mica Mine and Pigeon Deep Gap. By this route, one passes Cold Spring Knob, whence an excellent view of Cold Mountain to the East may be obtained. This long, round-backed ridge rises to a height of more than 6,000 feet. It looms against the azure of the sky as sharp-crested and Alp-like as does the famous Grandfather Mountain, far away to the Northward. South of Waynesville the mountains tower one above another until the most majestic is reached in Rough Butt Bald, 6,010 feet above sea-level. An excellent driveway extends via West Pigeon Fork and the Tuckasegee River to Lake Toxaway and the lovely Sapphire Country."
An advertisement for Eagle’s Nest and White Sulphur Springs, two of the premier hotels in the Waynesville area, appeared in Information to Visitors Concerning Greater Western North Carolina (1913). The Eagle's Nest was situated dramatically on Mount Junaluska, at an elevation of 5,000 feet, while the White Sulphur Springs Hotel, with its noted spring water, was near the center of town. Both hotels were listed in the Southern Railway’s guide Summer in “The Land of the Sky”: Resorts Along the Southern Railway (1915), which noted that White Sulphur Springs had a capacity of 200 guests and charged from $2.50 day to $12.50 a week and up, and that the 80 guests who could be accommodated at the Eagle's Nest should make application for rates.
A writer in The 1916 Pictorial Story of Haywood County described his trip to Eagles Nest, noting that the “journey . . . was made in the hotel’s regular `transfer,’ that accommodates twelve passengers – a modern, western type of stage . . .” and that “our trip of five miles took nearly three hours, but not a moment of it was dull.”
In 1918 both hotels befell different fates. The April 4, 1918, issue of the Carolina Mountaineer and Waynesville Courier (Waynesville, N.C.) reported on the acquisition of the White Sulphur Springs Hotel by the United States military as a recuperative center for personnel suffering from respiratory problems resulting from World War I. On April 25, 1918, the Carolina Mountaineer and Waynesville Courier reported that a fire of unknown origin had destroyed Eagles Nest three days earlier, bemoaning the loss of a hotel “so different from anything else in that line in our beautiful mountain section."
This image of the Waynesville Auto Repair Company from the 1916 Road Maps and Tour Book of Western North Carolina features a company advertisement that illustrates the emergent automobile age in western North Carolina. In The 1916 Pictorial Story of Haywood County, the company is described as:
“A High-Class Garage Made of Brick – This Company Handles Buick and Ford Automobiles and parts, and Does Repairing.
“The garage is about 100 by 50 feet in size, and has one of the best REPAIR departments in this section of the State, with a competent force of mechanics available at all times. They do vulcanizing of a superior quality. FREE AIR is furnished to any one desiring it; to get this, it is not necessary even to be a patron – just roll your car in and ask for the service. The garage is open day and night.
“We not only have the men who know how to fix nearly all the various car troubles, but also the tools and equipment with which they can do it.”
|To the West: Hazelwood||To the East: Tuscola|
Text excerpted from 1912 travel guide, The Western North Carolina Section at a Glance. Issued by the Passenger Traffic Department, Southern Railway, Premier Carrier of the South, Washington, D.C., 1912.
Sources & Readings