Balsam on the route

Motoring through the Mountains - 1930s: Balsam

Jackson County, N.C.
Altitude: 3,348 feet

As in earlier commentaries on Balsam Gap, the 1939 travel guide North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State mentioned that it was the highest standard gauge railroad crossing in the eastern United States, although in this context the gap was referenced in connection to the highway that traversed it. In coming years Balsam Gap would also be an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, then under construction to link Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Parkway, while planned in the 1930s, would be put on hold with the outbreak of World War II, and it would not be until two decades later that the scenic highway would reach Balsam and provide new motor access to the area’s panoramas.

Balsam in the 1890s  |  Balsam in the 1910s

To the West: Willits


To the East: Hazelwood

Return to the Map for the 1930s

Sources & Readings

  • Federal Writers’ Project of the Federal Works Agency, Works Projects Administration. North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1939.
  • “4-Mile Section of Blue Ridge Parkway Open to Traffic West of Soco.” Sylva Herald (Sylva, N.C.), September 27, 1951.
  • Hall, Karen J. Building the Blue Ridge Parkway. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
  • Hall, Karen J. The Blue Ridge Parkway. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2005.
  • Jolley, Harley E. The Blue Ridge Parkway. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969.
  • “Travelers See `From Here to Yonder’ at Watterrock Overlook.” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, N.C.), June 24, 1962.
  • Whisnant, Anne Mitchell. Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
  • Williams, Max R., ed. The History of Jackson County. Sesquicentennial ed. Sylva, NC: Jackson County Historical Association, 2001.