Willits on the route

Taking the Train: Willits

Jackson County, N.C.
Altitude: 2,625 feet

Text excerpted from The Western North Carolina Section at a Glance, 1912 (p. 43):

"One of the typical small stations of this region, established by the Southern Railway largely for development purposes. While of little importance at present, the large china-clay deposits nearby, which already are being worked, and the rich soil of the surrounding plateau, promise to make the town of some note in the near future.

For a quarter of a century, S. Jerome Phillips (1880-1965) taught at the
Willets (also spelled Willits) Graded School and became its principal. A 1909
issue of the Jackson County Journal (Sylva, N.C.) newspaper touted that:
“The Willetts [sic] Graded School is progressing nicely under the management
of the efficient teachers, Mr. Jerome Phillips and Miss Marie Dillard. The
Enrollment has reached ninety-four and we predict a very promising term of

"From this point, the Railway begins a sharp ascent of the mountains, the altitude increasing more than 700 feet within four miles. Dark River, which dashes torrentially down the mountains through gloomy and precipitous gorges, is crossed twice within the space of one mile. Just beyond the second bridge spanning Dark River lies the picturesque town of Balsam, N.C."

Willits in the 1890s

To the West: Addie directions To the East: Balsam

Willits in the 1930s

Return to the Southern Railway Map for the 1910s

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

  • Jackson County Genealogical Society. Jackson County Heritage, North Carolina, 1992. Cullowhee, NC: JCGS, 1992 (Volume 1) and 2000 (Volume 2).
  • McRorie, J.D. Knowing Jackson County: People, Places, and Earlier Days. Sylva, N.C.: Jackson County Historical Association, 2000.
  • Madison, Robert L., manuscript collection, Hunter Library, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C.
  • North Carolina Education Association, Jackson County Unit, Historical Committee. Jackson County Public Schools. [S.l.: s.n.], 1954.
  • Williams, Max R., ed. The History of Jackson County. Sesquicentennial ed. Sylva, NC: Jackson County Historical Association, 2001.