Projects Timeline

Historic Preservation Committee's Yearly Projects


  • Consulted with Adam Griffin, Project Director for the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources (RTCAR) concerning the potential for collaboration with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI) regarding filming of Garden Creek Archaeological site in Bethel.
  • Added a painting of the second Piney Grove United Methodist Church by artist, A.E. Allen, to BRCO’s art print collection at the community center and to the website for purchase. The white clapboard chapel existed from 1900 – 1949 when the building burned. Members replaced the structure with the current brick building that exists today in Stamey Cove.
  • Met with Jack Thomson, Western Regional Director of Preservation North Carolina, to assess the potential for BRCO’s community center – the former Bethel Presbyterian Church – to receive protective covenants/easements under the auspices of PNC. Considering that the structure is the “Mother Presbyterian Church of Haywood County,” and that the facility serves as a vital assembly edifice for the community, Thomson indicated that PNC oversight of protective covenants would meet approval. An agreement would mean that the building would remain viable in a good state of repair and in its present state in perpetuity. The agreement requires BRCO approval.
  • BRCO has performed maintenance at Pigeon Gap Watering Hole atop Waynesville Mountain since 2013 when the Historic Preservation Committee performed oversight duties of a restoration project that earned Joey Rolland his Eagle Scout award in 2013. We uncovered the agreement, brokered by Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society, between the seller of the land to its current owner which permits access for maintenance. While there is no mention of access requirement for visitation, BRCO has come to an agreement with the current owner to allow visitation via a removable chain beside the gate.
  • BRCO members spent an afternoon at Pigeon Gap Watering Hole removing overgrowth of ivy and moss that covered the rock wall constructed by Community Club of Waynesville in 1924. We also cleaned the historic site signage installed by BRCO in 2016.
  • Added a fourth cemetery listing to the “Bethel Cemeteries, Churchyards, and Graveyards” section of the BRCO website: Long’s Community Cemetery. Church members established the cemetery in 1889, with additional plot availability expanded in the 1970s. Long’s Community Cemetery is located on Coffey Branch Road in Bethel.
  • Received information from Charlie Evans at Long’s United Methodist Church about the history of the church in the “Golden Memories” booklet that celebrated one hundred years (1890 – 1990).
  • Added the following writers involved with “Golden Memories” to the Bethel Writers and Media Contributors section of the BRCO website: Mrs. John Blalock, Maude Mae Blalock, Frances Denton, Carolyn Harkins, Hilda Kinsland, Lois Kinsland, Barbara Medford, Clementine Murry, Hazel Rollins, Rosa Shipman, Mrs. Harry Singleton, and Margaret Swanger.
  • Added Frances Blalock Denton’s 1994, two volume, nine-hundred-page collection, My Children’s Children: The Murry Clan, to the Bethel Writers and Media Contributors of the BRCO website.
  • Honored Hugh K. Terrell, Jr. with the Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation for his oversight of the 1978 student book, Sonoma – Valley of the Moon – Sunburst. BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee has reprinted this Foxfire-style book of interviews, photographs, and drawings that can be purchased via the BRCO website.
  • Videographer Doug Chambers continued filming of the Historic Schools of Bethel DVD that is scheduled for release in 2024. Haywood County’s first Superintendent of Public Schools, the Reverend R.A. Sentelle (Superintendent from 1881-1891 and from 1901-1921), was from Bethel. The latest Superintendent, Dr. Trevor Putnam, is from Bethel. We filmed Dr. Putnam and the new Principal, Amanda Watson, at Bethel Elementary School campus. They discussed the history of the school as well as the unique environmental components designed into the construction of the facility. We also filmed music teacher, Angela McHenry, who discussed the importance of music in early childhood education. Four kindergarten students participated by singing the “ABC Song.”


  • Art print reproduction of Blanton/Reece Log Cabin, believed to be Haywood County’s oldest standing log structure (1821), pastel painting by Janice Swanger, is available for purchase on the BRCO website.
  • Sewah Studios of Ohio created the historic marker for Truss Bridge #79, NC’s oldest metal truss bridge (Pratt through truss) and the state’s only truss bridge with decorative elements (starbursts and finials). The bridge’s unique Phoenix columns and cast-iron joining system make the bridge rare nationally. Dean & Westbrook engineers constructed the bridge in 1891, and local men moved the bridge to its current location on Lake Logan Road in the 1920s.The structure received its National Register of Historic Places designation (nomination by Carroll Jones) in 2019.
  • The committee received a generous gift for the historic preservation library from James and Linda Duncan of four of the five cemetery records books of Haywood County Cemeteries from 1980 – 1983, compiled by George Augustus Miller, Sr.   Miller published his original recording of Haywood County’s cemeteries in 1979 which includes data about known and previously unrecorded cemeteries in all communities of Haywood County.
  • Jewell Beall donated a photo and other data concerning the early 1900s hotel, known as the Idle Hour Summer Home, which existed on Evans Cove Road in Bethel.
  • Evelyn Edward Lanning donated a copy to the historic preservation library of the Bethel Methodist Church history from 1886-1996.
  • The Historic Preservation Committee held a competition with five artists participating. The committee selected Stephanie Quis-Garret to create a painting of the historic Pigeon Gap Watering Hole atop Waynesville Mountain. Weary travelers and their animals going from Bethel to Waynesville took respite from their journey at this historic location during the 1800s and early 1900s. The Community Club of Waynesville built a wall and erected signage there in 1924. In 2013, Joey Rolland cleared the debris and overgrowth and built a bridge for his Eagle Scout project. In 2016, the Historic Preservation Committee stationed a historic marker adjacent to Highway #276 to commemorate the location. BRCO maintains the site with routine mowing.
  • Ricki Rogers donated a painting by A.E. Allen of the second of three church structures of the Piney Grove United Methodist Church in Stamey Cove.
  • Videographer Doug Chambers continued the multi-year project of filming the Historic Schools of Bethel DVD with sessions by Bill Terrell (early meeting house that served as a school, Bethel’s early schools located on the site of the current Bethel Middle School, and Bethel Academy that was situated at the location of the Masonic Lodge in Bethel). Shawn Parris, Principal at Bethel Middle School, detailed the history of Bethel Middle School and its programs. Zac Guy relayed data about early education programs in Bethel at the site of Bethel’s first school, a poplar log structure that lies buried in Guy’s front pasture. Also filmed were the following: Ricki Rogers and Keith Rogers about Piney Grove United Methodist Church and school as well as eleven former students from Bethel, Cecil, and Cruso Schools. Hugh K. Terrell, Jr. was filmed regarding his oversight of the Sonoma-Valley of the Moon-Sunburst book.
  • The Historic Preservation Committee began a project of researching the twenty-two cemeteries located in Bethel. This multi-year project began in 2022 with the first cemetery listing on BRCO’s website – Bethel Community Cemetery. The committee researched and documented two other historic cemeteries in Bethel for the website: Burnette Siding (Old Spruce) Cemetery and Piney Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery. Consultation with the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources will enable exploration of the data involving two Bethel slave cemeteries: Cathey Slave Cemetery and Edmonston Slave Cemetery.
  • Added the following writers to the Bethel Writers and Media Contributors section of the website: the Reverend Kris Estep and Nick Muerdter who are Bethel natives and Gerald Ledford and Ron Sullivan who are not from Bethel, but they included a book about Sunburst in their series, If Rails Could Talk … Logging the North Carolina Great Balsams, Volume 2, Sunburst & Champion Fiber, and Lori Thompson, BRCO member who has written books about floral arrangements as well as two children’s books.
  • Diana Fulbright Berg sent photos of the Cruso Post Office and surrounding structures that existed in the early to mid-1900s, enabling a complete listing on the website about Cruso Post Office.
  • WNC Communities donated a book about the history of community organization in WNC, In Pursuit of a Greater Good, by Jay Field and Janet Moore. BRCO is one of seven community organizations in the region featured with a story in the book.
  • Consulted with Bob and Mary Noel, U.S. Forest Service archaeologists, and Carroll Jones concerning the history of Spruce Community on the West Fork of the Pigeon River.
  • The Historic Preservation Committee conducted research about the complex folklore involving Abraham Lincoln/Abraham Enloe/John C. Calhoun. We reviewed Edie Burnette’s article about the connection as well as Kin McNeil’s book: Strange Stories of Carolina.
  • NC Department of Transportation pruned, and Element Arbor treated the historic Osborne Boundary Oak, a several hundred-year-old tree that was a boundary marker in 1792. BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee has provided maintenance on the tree three times.
  • The Haywood County Board of Education approved the Historic Preservation Committee request to reprint the 1978 book produced by Hugh K. Terrell’s eighth grade class at Bethel Junior High School, Sonoma-Valley of the Moon-Sunburst. In addition, we reprinted for the second time Cheryl Haney’s eighth grade class project, the 1992 publication, Pigeon Valley. Both are for sale, with a portion of the funds donated to Bethel Middle School.
  • Presented information at the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society’s “Show and Tell” meeting about the Historic Preservation Committee’s reprinting of two student publication from Bethel Junior High School: Sonoma-Valley of the Moon-Sunburst (1978) under the supervision of Hugh K. Terrell, Jr., and Pigeon Valley, supervised by Cheryl Haney (1992).
  • The Bethel Rural Community Organization website added two historical sites: The Joseph Augustus and Mary Shook Hargrove House, currently owned by J.R. and Wendy Rogers, and the Alma Elizabeth Cathey and George Bascombe Justice House, owned by Will and Lori Thompsen. The second house and grounds are now listed with Preservation NC with a preservation easement stating the following: This property is under the protective covenants of the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Inc. Lori Thompson discussed the protective covenant process at a community meeting. The Justice House is the first house in Bethel that is listed with PNC.
  • The Historic Preservation Committee recognized Mack Ledbetter (posthumously) with the Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation. His daughter, Verda Davis, presented the September program at which she gave details about her father’s life and featured several of his craft pieces as well as his original Sunburst Logging Village map for which he is recognized.
  • A query about his family’s 1920s cabin on Little East Fork from the grandson of former Haywood County residents prompted a lengthy discussion among committee members regarding the Lesher cabin. The committee, through map and onsite searches determined that the cabin has been dismantled.
  • Participated in the Museum of NC Handicrafts at historic Shelton House’s Blue Ridge Heritage Festival. Members distributed brochures, sold CDs and DVDS, and educated the public about BRCO’s preservation and benevolence projects at the two-day event.