Osborne Boundary Oak
Oral history dates the tree to the Native American settlement era when a buffalo and Indian trail as well as a trading post flanked the tree’s border. The tree’s first defined date is 1792 when it was massive enough to be used as a boundary marker for the Adlia Osborne land grant. The tree is considered to be a "witness tree" by the Daughters of the American Revolution because the tree witnessed General Griffith Rutherford and his troops as they passed by the tree during the Rutherford Trace march against the Cherokee in 1776. The legendary black oak has witnessed hundreds of years of history in Bethel Community and has been saved from destruction in the 1970s when community citizens and organizations united to save the tree from widening of Highway #110 and again in 2010 when citizens and organizations assessed the tree’s health and doctored the aging tree with appropriate arborist treatments in 2013 and 2016 under the direction of BRCO. BRCO placed its first local historic marker at the tree. For more information about the Osborne Boundary Oak’s history see Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 6. See also Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
Donated by Robert Cathey and Bill Holbrook, this mid-19th century photograph of the Osborne Farm on Highway #110 reveals a portrait of one of Haywood County's most prominent dairy farms. Under the oversight of Arthur Osborne and his two sisters, Mary Louisa and Florence, the farm's dairy and livestock interests were rated among the highest in the state. In this photograph, the farm encompassed space on either side of the unpaved highway. Today's farm, known as the Triple R farm (named for Reeves, Rudy, and Richard Reeves) by their father, occupies only one side of the highway, and houses beef cattle.
Pigeon Gap Watering Hole
Under the auspices of Bethel Rural Community Organization, Joey Rolland, Eagle Scout, restored a historic watering site atop Waynesville Mountain between Bethel and Waynesville that was once used as a rest stop for weary travelers and their animals, dating as far back as the early 1800s. Rolland cleared the site of over growth, uncovered the 1924 plaque placed by the Community Club of Waynesville, and erected a bridge at the Pigeon Gap Watering Hole. Bethel Rural Community Organization placed strategic directional signage and erected its fourth local historic marker at the site in 2016.
James Henry and Flora Plott House
James Henry Plott was the fourth child of Pingree Priestly and Charity Haseltine Osborne Plott. His 1900 marriage to Flora Kinsland, the daughter of state legislator, Marion DeKalb Kinsland, united two prominent family lines in Haywood County. On land inherited from James Henry’s mother, Charity, in what was called “Garden Farm” or “Flowery Garden,” the couple hired builder, George Smathers, to construct a Colonial Revival/Queen Anne style house in 1904. They reared six children there. The house stood on an original 260 acres that included the Garden Creek Native American settlement that dates to 8,000 B.C. as well as on the site of the first white settlement in Haywood County in 1785. Bethel Rural Community Organization assisted the family with disbursement of Plott artifacts and memorabilia that were gifted to six museums when the house was sold in 2018.