Dillsboro on the route

Taking the Train: Dillsboro

Jackson County
Altitude: 1,988 feet
Population: 277

Text excerpted from The Western North Carolina Section at a Glance, 1912 (pp. 41-42):

"Extensive lumbering and mining operations are conducted near Dillsboro, which is rapidly developing into an important place. Talc and marble abound in the forest-covered slopes near the village, and quantities of high-grade kaolin are mined here and shipped to potteries throughout the country. Throughout Jackson County, in fact, kaolin is being taken out in immense amounts, the county being famous for its extensive and profitable kaolin workings. In addition to its noteworthy industrial features, Dillsboro is a health and pleasure resort. It is located in a sublimely beautiful wilderness and has been said to be 'an elysium for the health seeker, a paradise for the sportsman.'

"Ample accommodations for visitors are provided by an excellent mountain hotel and several boarding houses.

"Out of Dillsboro a stage line makes a daily trip of twenty miles to Franklin, in Macon County, and good inns and boarding houses are found en route. Towering into the sky only a few miles from the town is Cowee Old Bald, 5,085 feet high."

The Jarrett Springs Hotel was already twenty-five years old when this postcard view, postmarked 1910, was mailed. The Southern Railway’s tour guide Summer in “The Land of the Sky”: Resorts Along the Southern Railway (1915) indicated that Jarrett Springs Hotel had a capacity of 40 guests, with average rates of $2.00 daily, $8.00 and up weekly, and $30.00 and up monthly.

Having emerged as a thriving stop along the Murphy Branch of Southern Railway in the 1890s, Dillsboro continued to prosper in the early 20th century. It benefited from being the home of the Harris Clay Company offices and the Blue Ridge Locust Pin Company, the latter manufacturing wooden pins for such uses as securing glass insulators to utility lines. The town was the location for the dam on the Tuckasegee River built for the Dillsboro & Sylva Electric Company, which was in operation by 1911 and began furnishing electricity to the public. A July 25, 1913, Supplement to the Jackson County Journal (Sylva, N.C.) newspaper noted that:

“Dillsboro is headquarters for T.H. Hastings, who buys telephone poles by the thousands, furnishing the Western Union, the Southern Power Company and other large users. More than 175 cars of these poles were shipped from Dillsboro during the first half of 1913.”

The Jackson County Journal in its July 9, 1909 issue noted in an article headlined “Dillsboro on Steady
Boom” that a new, “first class drug store,” The Dillsboro Pharmacy, had opened, capable of handling even “difficult prescriptions” and boasting a Soda Fountain “of the latest design and equipped with every modern convenience thus enabling them to serve the best of ice drinks and creams.” In addition, J. Dixon Watkins had opened a new store to “handle a line of Staple and Fancy Groceries. Later he may add vegetables and fresh meats.”

Dillsboro in the 1890s

To the West: Wilmot directions To the East: Sylva

Dillsboro 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

  • Gray, Minnie Dills. A History of Dillsboro, North Carolina. Asheville, NC: Stephens Press, 1959.
  • 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.
  • Page, Stephen Leon. “Mining and Mineral Production in Jackson County, North Carolina.” M.A. thesis, Western Carolina University, 1973.
  • Southern Railway. Summer in “The Land of the Sky”: Resorts Along the Southern Railway, Premier Carrier of the South. Chicago, Ill.: Poole, 1915.
  • Williams, Max R., ed. The History of Jackson County. Sesquicentennial ed. Sylva, NC: Jackson County Historical Association, 2001.