Historic Preservation Projects and Partners

Historic Preservtion Project Partners

  • Completed documentation and designed markers that enabled the selection of our facility to be on the Haywood County Quilt Trail and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Heritage Trail.
  • Our documentation of the natural and cultural history of our area resulted in Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Award
  • Received 6 NC Society of Historians Awards for our Legends books, our 3 DVDs, and our historic art collection. The art collection received one of the top five awards – the Lighthouse Award (2020).
  • Our art prints have been featured in four art shows: Mountain Made, Appalachian Lifestyles, Art After Dark, and Pink Dog Studio’s IMPACT.
  • Nomination of Francis Mill received the Gertrude S. Carraway Award from Preservation NC.
  • Received two National Register of Historic Places designations: Francis Mill and Truss Bridge #79, NC’s oldest metal truss bridge.

Historic Preservation Recognition

  • Established a Historic Preservation Committee devoted totally to the goal of researching, documenting, and educating about local history via awards, art prints, books, CDs, DVDs, historic markers, and website information.
  • Preservation NC assessed twenty-two historic locations in Bethel to determine salvation, preservation, and National Register suitability.
  • Because of our unique location to Cold Mountain, the popularity of Charles Frazier’s book and movie enabled us to create a Cold Mountain Heritage Tour of ten historic sites each year for seven years. We documented twenty-five sites in all, including architecture, families, and verified and oral history.
  • Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1 – 6 , researched and written by committee members, relayed verified and oral accounts that had not been previously recorded of the sites on the tour. Books are available for purchase online.
  • Reproduced the 1992 Pigeon Valley book created by Cheryl Inman Haney’s eighth grade history class at Bethel Junior High.
  • Seven years of the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour convinced us to create a self-guided Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
  • Produced 3 DVDs about local historical sites: Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us featured eighteen oral history interviews. From New College to Springdale gave voice to the unique history of a college and school program that existed in Cruso in the 1930s that is unlike any other in the US. Sunburst and Other Logging Operations in the Bethel & Cold Mountain Region DVD featured accounts of a 100-year-old logging village, Sunburst, which ceased to exist in the 1920s. It also documented for the first time the stories of other logging and wood products industries in Bethel - a five-year project. As part of that DVD, we recorded a local traditional Appalachian music group and produced a CD of their songs: Possum on a Whale’s Sunburst Sessions CD. We sell our CDs and DVDs. We are currently working on another DVD: Historic Schools of Bethel.
  • Collected paintings, drawings, and photographs of historic sites and documents, most of which date to the 1800s – the mid-1900s. We have also commissioned paintings of historic sites and subjects. All are framed and decorate our dining hall. We also sell copies of our art prints.
  • Since state historic markers are difficult to obtain, we have erected six local historic markers that do not have to meet the rigid state criteria.
  • We collected, documented, and dispersed to six museums thousands of photographs, deeds, documents, records, Native American artifacts, and relics including quilts and kitchen items from a local historic house, the James Henry and Flora Kinsland Plott House - a two-year project.
  • Established the annual Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation to honor local people who have contributed to the preservation of Bethel history.
  • We have documented Bethel’s historic post offices, writers and media people, the many names of Bethel, the cannery, the Idle Hour Hotel, churches, farms, individuals, families and homes, grist and sawmills, and events that are a part of Bethel history. Our website relays this information: www.bethelrural.org. We are currently working on documentation of Bethel/Cruso schools and cemeteries.

Appalachian Women's Museum: PO Box 245 Dillsboro, NC 28725; 100 W. Hometown Pl, Dillsboro, NC 28725; 828-482-5860; friends@appwomen.org; Sharon Sullivan (President). Preserving the Stories of Ordinary Women Leading Extraordinary Lives.

·     Depository of Plott family artifact (quilt) (2019)

Blue Ridge Books: 452 Hazelwood Avenue, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-456-6000; blueridgebooks@ymail.com; Jo and Allison (Owners) Female owned business located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.  The most popular sections in the store contain local books, mystery/thrillers, fiction, and, literally, a vault full of gorgeous children's books. We also carry magazines and newspapers for those people who need a quick reading fix.

·     Sold BRCO's art prints, books, CDs, and DVDs

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA):195 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, NC 28803; 828-298-5330; info@blueridgeheritage.com; Angie Chandler (Executive Director). Regional steward of living Appalachian traditions of agriculture, craft, music, Native American, and natural heritage.

·     Received a grant to oversee Francis Mill National Register application (2011)

·     One of seventy sites on the BRNHA Heritage Trail as a result of our documentation of the agriculture, Cherokee, and natural heritage of Bethel (2016)

Canton Area Historical Museum: 36 Park Street, Canton, NC 28716; 828-646-3412; http://www.cantonnc.com; Carolyn Ponton (Curator). Contains artifacts and photographs that depict the history of the towns of Canton, Bethel, and Cruso.

·     Depository for Plott family artifacts (military memorabilia and family documents) (2018-2019)

·     Depository for Calvin Filmore Christopher artifacts, perhaps NC's most prolific inventor, who was from Bethel (since Christopher's death in 1940)

Douglas Chambers Videography: www.dougchambers.net; douglas.m.chambers@gmail.com.

·     Videographer/Director – From New College to Springdale DVD (2015)

·     Videographer/Director – Sunburst and Other Logging Operations in the Bethel & Cold Mountain Region DVD (2014-2018)

·     Videographer/Director – Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD (2012)

·     Audio – Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD (2011)

·     Audio – Possum on a Whale's Sunburst Sessions CD (2017)

·     Presently filming the Historic Schools of Bethel DVD

Francis Mill Preservation Society: 14 Hugh Massie Road, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-456-6307; tannatimbes@gmail.com; Tanna Timbes (Owner and Director); Francis Grist Mill was built in 1887 to grind corn and wheat. A beautiful piece of history, the mill still stands after years of wear, tear, and age. Francis Grist Mill has been restored and is being preserved and maintained by the Francis Mill Preservation Society (FMPS).

·     Partnered with Francis Mill Preservation Society with the first and fourth Cold Mountain Heritage Tours (2005 and 2008)

·     Featured Francis Mill in two articles in Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1 and 4 (2005 and 2008)

·     Granted funds to FMPS for the Bethel Elementary School history education day (2009)

·     Wrote the successful nominated of Francis Mill Preservation Society and Tanna Timbes to receive the Gertrude S. Caraway Award for Historic Preservation

      from Preservation NC (2010)

·     Partnered with FMPS and Tanna Timbes to record the history of Francis Mill in the Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD

·     Secured a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area grant to fund the National Register of Historic Places application (2011)

·     Secured the National Register of Historic Places for Francis Grist Mill ( 2013) in partnership with FMPS, Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society, and                     Mast General Store

Haywood County Arts Council: 36 North Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-452-0593; www.haywoodarts.org; Leigh Forrester (Executive Director). Promotes artists, art education, and innovation in art in a community involved in the arts

·     Exhibit of historic art prints at 3 art forums: Appalachian Lifestyles, Mountain Made, and Art After Dark (2014)

Hugh Rogers Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), Lake Junaluska, North Carolina (this chapter covers Haywood County): Constance Daly (Chapter Regent – constancedaly@hotmail.com; Susan Brown (Registrar – rubble62@spectrum.net).  Engages in community services in addition to state and national activities to meet the NSDAR goals of education, patriotism, and historic preservation.

·     Presented a program to DAR about Bethel history

·     Collaborated with DAR on a program about the Osborne Boundary Oak

·     Partnered with DAR in supporting the Osborne Boundary Oak historic documentation project and seed project

Haywood County Historical and Genealogical Society: PO Box 444, Waynesville, NC 28786, located in the Shook-Smathers House, 178 Morgan Street, Clyde, NC 28721; 828-564-1044; Jeff Childers (President – jdchilders79@gmail.com); Oldest free-standing frame-built house in WNC – the Historic Pride of Clyde. Home of the Museum of Haywood County History.

·     Shook-Smathers House on the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour

·     Shook-Smathers House historical documentation in Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 4

·     Supporter of the BRCO Osborne Boundary Oak historic documentation project and seed project

·     HCHGS assisted BRCO's Historic Preservation (HP) Committee in reviewing and assessing Plott materials and made recommendations about where materials                     should reside; HP Committee donated Plott materials to the museum.  

·     Sponsor with BRCO of the Francis Mill National Register project

·     Depository of Plott artifacts

·     Presented two programs to HCHGS membership

·     Member of Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society

Haywood County Quilt Trail (Project of Haywood County Tourism Development Authority): 1110 Soco Road, Maggie Valley, NC 28751; 828-944-9761; info@visitncsmokies.com; Lynn Collins (Executive Director, TDA). Engage the community by providing yet another reason to explore Haywood County

and the surrounding beauty.

·     BRCO is one of dozens of quilt block locations in Haywood County (2013)

·     BRCO was featured in a month-long window-front display at TDA (2012)

Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts in Shelton House: 49 Shelton Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-452-1551; dannehl@sheltonhouse.org; Dannehl Strautz (Museum Director). History, Heritage, and Crafts of NC.

·     Depository for Plott family artifacts (quilts and kitchen items) (2019)

·     Participated in the museum's Blue Ridge Heritage Festival

·     Sales outlet for BRCO CDs, DVDs, and art prints

North Carolina Society of Historians: PO Box 93, Sherrills Ford, NC 28673-0093; ncsh@earthlink.net. Keepers of NC History since 1941 recognizes historical documentation annually.

·     State history award for Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1-6 (2010)

·     State history award for Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD (2012)

·     State history award for From New College to Springdale DVD (2016)

·     State history award for Sunburst and Other Logging Operations in the Bethel & Cold Mountain Region DVD (2019)

·     State history award for our historic art print collection (2020)

·     Recipient of one of the top five awards for the art collection: Lighthouse Award (2020)

North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources Western Office: 176 Riceville Road, Asheville, NC 28805; 828-296-7230; Jennifer Cathey (jennifer.cathey@ncdcr.gov - Restoration Specialist); Linda Hall (linda.hall@ncdcr.gov - Staff Archaeologist); Annie McDonald (Annie.McDonald@ncdcr.gov - National Register of Historic Places Consultant); Heather South (Heather.South@ncdcr.gov - Lead Archivist). A service branch of the Office of Archives and History in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources that offers professional expertise in historic resource management.

·     National Register for Francis Mill (2013)

·     National Register for Truss Bridge #79 – NCs oldest metal truss bridge (2019)

·     Assessment of four sites in Bethel concerning National Register suitability (2009)

·     Assistance with Cold Mountain Heritage Tour in assessing architecture of tour sites (2005-2011)

·     Assistance with preservation of BRCO community center's historic sanctuary (2016)

·     Depository of Native American artifacts from Garden Creek mounds (2019)

·     Assessment of the County Home (Pigeon Valley Rest Home) for National Register status (2021)

·     Attended a variety of seminars, workshops, and webinars.

Pink Dog Gallery: 342-348 Depot Street, Asheville, NC 28801; www.pinkdog-creative.com/artists; Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer (Co-founders); Stephanie Grimes (IMPACT Art Show Director artisteff@yahoo.com). Pink Dog raises funds and awareness for people and organizations working to make our communities more equitable and just.

·     Passenger pigeon scratchboard featured in IMPACT environmental awareness art show (2019)

Preservation NC: PO Box 27644, Raleigh, NC 27611-7644; 919-832-3652; info@presnc.org; Western Regional Office: PO Box 2, Shelby, NC 28151-0002; 704-482-3531. Through PNC's nationally recognized and award-winning Endangered Properties Program they have rescued over eight hundred old, interesting, historic, sometimes abandoned, but always important properties. There is a story behind each one and we are committed to telling it.

·     PNC conducted a tour to assess historic locations in Bethel. Ted Alexander with PNC toured twenty-two sites to determine salvation, restoration, and National                  Register potential. (2006)

·     BRCO's successful nomination of Francis Mill Preservation Society and Tanna Timbes for the Gertrude S. Caraway Award for Historic Preservation for restoring the                1887 grist mill. (2010)  

·     Member of Preservation NC       

Village Framer: 56 North Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; 818-452-0823; ncjeannie@live.com. Opened in 1985 by Claudia Ogden who built the business into a preeminent custom framing operation in which exemplary customer service continues under current owner, Jeannie.  The shop has hosted art openings and other receptions for members of the Waynesville community.  Besides frames, there are local arts and crafts and artwork by local and regional artists.

·     Framed all BRCO art prints

·     Featured BRCO's first commissioned paintings in art display

Western Carolina University's Mountain Heritage Center: 176 Central Drive, 2F, Hunter Library, #240, WCU, Cullowhee, NC 28723-8935; 828-227-7129; www.mountainheritagecenter.com; Pam Meister – Director; Peter Koch – Education Associate. Liz Harper – Special & Digital Collections Librarian. Regional resource for education and research

·     Mountain Heritage Award for documentation of the natural and cultural heritage of Bethel. (2014)

·     Assisted with assessment of thousands of artifacts donated to BRCO by the James Henry & Flora Kinsland Plott family (2018-2019)

·     Depository of Plott family artifacts (quilts, photographs, documents) (2019)

·     Depository of interviews of “Catch the Spirit of Appalachia” about Bethel history (2014)

·     Attended seminars, webinars, and workshops

WLOS-TV: 110 Technology Drive, Asheville, NC 28803; 828-684-1340; https://wlos.com

·     Segment about Osborne Boundary Oak (historic tree in Bethel)

·     Segment about Truss Bridge #79

National Public Radio (NPR): Blue Ridge Public Radio, 73 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC 28801; 828-253-6875; https://www.bpr.org.

·     Interview about Sunburst DVD

News Organizations: Published articles submitted by BRCO.

·     Smoky Mountain News: PO Box 629, 144 Montgomery Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-452-4251; www.smokymountainnews.com; Scott McLeod – Publisher.

·     The Mountaineer: 220 N Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; 828-452-0661; www.themountaineer.com; Vicki Hyatt - Editor  Positively Haywood: 828-476-6055;                www.vicinitus.com; Carol Adams – Editor/Publisher caroladams@vicinitus.com. caroladam