Easton (N.H.).

Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia online

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amid the cloven heights at Balcony Falls, and thence onward to the sublime per-
spectives at Clifton Forge. He who wishes thoroughly to enjoy a trip to the
Natural Bridge (which is to be made a rival of the Luray Caverns by its new owner,
Mr. Parsons), Lexington, Dagger's White Sulphur and Rock Bridge Baths, would do
well to take the Richmond and Alleghany Railroad. Nor is the scenery all. The
road claims, and with good show of reason, to be one of the first mineral roads in
the United States. Those who desire to investigate iron ores, in endless variety
and boundless in quantity, will be abundantly gratified by a tour over this new
claimant for public favor, which undoubtedly has a great destiny and that not distant.



T Franklin Junction, about forty miles from Lynchburg, begins the Franklin
Division. The country to this point is uninteresting and sadly worn by bad


tillage. Franklin Division extends a distance of thirty-seven miles to Rocky-
Mount, the seat of government of Franklin County. Along this road are numerous
deposits of iron ore, some of them of fine quahty. At Pittsville, nine miles from the
junction, magnetic ores in great quantity have been mined and shipped to Pennsyl-
vania. From these ores, mingled in due proportion with others, Bessemer steel of
excellent quality is said to be made. Crossing Pig River, the road runs up Ridder's
Creek to the southern end of Smith's Mountain, and thence by Pen Hook, Union
Hall, Glade Hill and White Rock to Rocky Mount. At various points veins of iron
and other minerals intersect the road diagonally. Barytes, limestone, manganese,
kaolin, antimony, copper, asbestos, nickel, gold and silver are found in greater or less

Franklin County formed in 1784, from Bedford and Henry counties, has the
honor of being the birthplace of General Jubal A. Early of Confederate fame. The
soil has a clay foundation, and it is well adapted to farming. Very large crops of
tobacco, corn, oats and wheat are made. Rocky Mount, the county seat, 179 miles
southeast of Richmond, had in 1 880 a population of 300, and is rapidly growing.

The scenery around the village is uncommonly fine. Bald Knob — a mighty
rock — rises in lonely grandeur almost within the corporate limits, and from its gray
summit green valleys, rounded hills, blue and misty peaks, billowy ranges of moun-
tains and a seeming plain that stretches away into the hazy distance, form a panorama
of almost unsurpassed magnificence. Easily reached on foot or on horseback, the
Knob is the centre of attraction, alike to the young and the old in the pearly morn-
ings and golden evenings when Summer brings its recurring throng of visitors.
Franklin County is, so to speak, a " brand new " county in the midst of an old State,
being but lately opened to rail ; now that it is in communication with " all the world
and the rest of mankind," Rocky Mount and Bald Knob may reckon upon a large
accession of tourists and admirers.


"piTTSYLVANIA County was formed in 1767 from the County of Halifax, and
named after the great English statesman, William Pitt, afterwards Lord Chat-
ham. It is watered by the Staunton, Banister and Dan Rivers, besides numerous
creeks and streams. It is remarkable for the variety and value of its timber and for
the superior quality of its tobacco, the land in certain parts of the county being pecu-
liarly adapted to the " bright yellow " tobacco, which has become so popular since the
war. Over and again men have cleared from a single crop of this tobacco enough
money to pay for their entire farms. An agent of the Russian government, who had
been sent out to study practically the Virginia method of growing tobacco, selected
Pittsylvania County as the best field for his experiment, bought a farm, and, after two
or three years of cultivation, was so pleased with the result of his farming that when
he went back to Russia to make his report, he expressed the wish and the purpose to
return to Virginia and make it his home for life. But his government could not spare


Chatham, the county seat, is on a branch of the Banister River, near the centre
of the county and immediately on the line of the Virginia Midland Railway. It had
in 1880 a population of five hundred, two large tobacco warehouses and several
manufactories of tobacco, stores, churches and schools. It is noted for its society
and for a hotel, which, more than any other now extant, recalls the Old Virginia
Tavern in its prime.


T^ANVILLE, the terminus of the Virginia Midland Railway, is situated on the
■'- south bank of the River Dan, 239 miles from Washington and four miles from
the North Carolina line. From the number of roads projected and in process of con-
struction to all points South, it bids fair to be one of the principal railway centres of
the Southern country. It is a rapidly growing and progressive town, with a popula-
tion in 1880 of 7,536. No town in the State has a more energetic population, and no
business men a higher reputation. It has six or eight churches, several excellent
colleges and institutions of learning for both sexes, a capital hotel, eight warehouses
for the sale of leaf tobacco, whole streets of factories for the manufacture of chewing
and smoking tobacco, foundries, flour and saw mills, fruit and tobacco box factories,
several machine shops, banks, newspapers and almost unlimited water-power for manu-
facturing of every kind. Strangers will be profoundly impressed with Danville. Those
Avho are disposed to twit Virginians for their want of enterprise will be amazed at the
push and snap of the people of this indomitable little city. Nowhere in the world do
business men work as they do in Danville, and nowhere in the South is there a town
which so forcibly recalls Lowell, Lynn, Fall River and other manufacturing centres of
the North and East. Factory after factory, built in the most substantial manner ;
swarms of black operatives and streams of wagons, laden with the bright yellow
tobacco of North Carolina and Virginia, impart to the place a life and activity seen
nowhere else in all the South, except at Atlanta. The handsome private dwellings in
modern styles, the ornamented grounds, the stately trees, the shrubbery and abundant
flowers also recall the North most vividly. In a word, Danville is the embodiment of
energ)- and progress.

Richmond and Danville Railroad.

\\rjT Danville, the Virginia Midland Railway connects with the Richmond

and Danville Railroad, which, having its eastern terminus at Richmond,
runs through the fertile counties Chesterfield, Powhatan, Amelia, Notto-
way, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Halifax and Pittsylvania in Virginia, and
Caswell, Rockingham, Guilford, Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus and Meck-
lenburg, North Carolina. At Keysville, Va., the Richmond and Meck-
lenburg Railroad leaves the Richmond and Danville for Clarkesville, on Roanoke
River, thirty miles ; the nearest railroad station to the celebrated Buffalo Lithia
Springs, beyond question one of the most remarkable springs in the United States,
if not in the world. The waters are unique, possessing properties unlike any other
water yet discovered, and effecting cures which oftentimes border upon the mar-
velous. This road opens up a new country, rich in timber and agricultural
lands. At Greensboro, the North Carolina Railroad, controlled by this Com-
pany, leaves the main line, and runs east to Goldsboro, passing through the
enterprising town of Durham and the City of Raleigh, the State capital. From
Greensboro, the main line runs in a southwesterly direction to the town of Salisbury,
where close connection is made with the Western North Carolina Railroad, for the
" Land of the Sky." Leaving Salisbury, a southerly course is followed to the flourish-
ing City of Charlotte, a town of so much importance and so well known that it is
unnecessary to describe it at length. The hotels, for which the place is celebrated,
its noble churches in beautiful grounds, the busy streets, the proximity of gold mines,
the old United States Mint (now an assay office), the Military School, and the num-
ber of handsome private residences, present an array of attractions not often found in
a Southern town. Charlotte is the centre of a large cotton trade, and an important
railway centre as well. Radiating from it are lines stretching in almost every
direction, a number of which have become incorporated in, or associated with, the
Richmond and Danville Railway system. At Charlotte the traveler has the choice of
two different routes to Asheville and Western North Carolina. He may go to Salis-
bury on the main line, or, if he prefer it, may go over the Atlantic, Tennessee and
Ohio Railroad — a division of the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad —
directly to Statesville, on the Western North Carolina Railroad, and thence to Ashe-
ville. This route presents some points of attraction — a fine agricultural country,
pretty villages, and mineral springs, which will probably soon be developed and
opened to the public.

The first point of interest on the Atlanta & Charlotte Air Line, after leaving
Charlotte, is All Healing Springs in Gaston County, North Carolina.


These springs are only two and one-half miles from All Healing Spring station
and about thirty miles from Charlotte. For fifty years the Springs have been
used for the cure of skin diseases, but of late have gained great reputation for the
cure of almost all diseases to which the human body is liable — hence their name. In
dyspepsia, the effects have been so marked that the company guarantee relief in almost
any case where the waters are given a fair trial. Marked benefit, too, has been
obtained in asthma, consumption, neuralgia, chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, sick
headache and kidney affections. In the hotels and numerous cottages, two hundred
guests can be accommodated. Great improvements in the buildings and grounds
have been made, the bathing department has been enlarged, and baths of every
description will be given at all hours. A sanitarium has been established in connec-
tion with the springs under the management of Professor Gatchell & Son and Mrs.
Gatchell, of Cincinnati. Professor Gatchell's reputation as a physician and writer is
well known.

Leaving All Healing Springs the Line passes within a short distance of the
battlefields of King's Mountain and Cowpens, fought in 1780, and forty-eight miles
distant enters the town of Spartanburg, S. C, the junction with the Asheville and
Spartanburg Railroad, which runs in a northwesterly direction through the beautiful
counties of Polk and Henderson to Hendersonville, within twenty miles of Asheville.
This country is celebrated hr and near for its beautiful and attractive scenery. The
planters of Lower Carolina were not slow to appreciate the excellencies and charms
of this region. For years before this railroad was built they had been in the habit of
coming over these mountains to this region as a summer resort. At a place called
Flat Rock in Henderson county. North Carolina, not far from this station, they made
a regular settlement.

is in fact the scattered residences of those low country planters. For several miles
around the high, undulating plateau they have built their cottages, many of them
exceedingly beautiful houses, surrounded by extensive grounds, laid off and planted
with taste and care. Fine avenues, shaded by the loveliest white pines and ever-
greens, in great variety, which this region affords, lead through the grounds. The
society here in Summer is said to be as fine as can be found in Charleston. Living,
as they do, near each other, the opportunity for social enjoyment is equally as great,
with none of the annoyances of a regular watering-place. Some of these country
houses have become the permarfent residences of the owners since the war. The
country around Flat Rock does not seem a rich one — certainly in no respect com-
parable to the valley of the French Broad or of the Swannanoa, but it has the great
advantage of unusually fine air, the best of freestone water, and a Summer climate
equal to any, for health and comfort, in the Alleghany range. The country itself— a
high plateau running back on a level almost with the top of the Blue Ridge— is com-
paratively tame and uninteresting.

From Flat Rock to Hendersonville, the county seat of Henderson County,
North Carolina, is about four or five miles. This is a pleasant little village, usually


full of visitors during the Summer months, and enjoying all the advantages of Flat
Rock in point of climate. There are here two very good hotels, which afford com-
fortable accommodations to visitors. Stage-coaches run every day from Henderson-
ville to Asheville, distant some twenty miles. The railroad will soon be completed
to this point or near it. The tourist can easily find means of making some pleasant
excursions from this place. One of the most usual and favored is to go from here on
horseback, by Chimney Rock and Bald Mountain, through Hickory Nut Gap, to
Asheville, a route which may be accomplished in two days. The Bald Mountain
here spoken of (for the name is legion in this western country) is that one of which
we have heard so much of late. The strange sounds said to have issued from this
mountain, and which caused such a panic among the neighboring people, were not
altogether imaginary. An extensive rift or chasm has appeared in one portion of the
mountain, and to all appearance is gradually widening and is of great depth. It may
be that the action of hidden streams of water may be gradually bringing about one
of those tremendous landslides which occur in all mountain regions, evidences of
which exist in many places in these mountains.

It needs neither a volcanic eruption nor an earthquake to bring about a cataclysm
of this kind; but a stream of water, percolating along the smooth side of s me
interior sloping rock-surface, may in the course of time loosen the whole clinging
mountain side and cause an earth avalanche. The Chimney Rock is a most
remarkable cliff of castellated rock, an object of great curiosity and beauty.
Hickory Nut Gap has become classic since Miss Fisher's " Land of the Sky,"
and is resorted to by all lovers of the picturesque. She says of it :

" Indeed, not only Swannanoa Gap, but everything else that we have seen is
dwarfed to comparative insignificance by the majestic beauty that surrounds us.
What was the gorge of the French Broad to these mighty mountains, which rise
more than two thousand feet over our heads, and stand not more than a quarter of a
mile apart, while far down in the green chasm below us the Broad River whirls and
foams around its countless rocks. The day has now reached its zenith, and is perfect
in splendor. Our road, on the eastern side of the gap, is well shaded, but the sunlight
falls broadly on the mass of varied foliage beneath, bringing out every vivid color
and jewel-like tint.

" Now, see what a superb mountain stands next ! It is like a castle — only no
castle was ever half so grand. And yonder is a glimpse of the Chimney Rock. We
shall see it better as we get farther down." We pause, enraptured and overwhelmed.
A castle, indeed ! What castle ever built by mortal hands would not seem a flimsy
toy beside this immense mountain, with its sides of solid rock, worn smooth by the
floods of uncounted centuries, and rising sheer and bare for more than a thousand
feet ? On one side of this the peculiar rocks, which form the Chimney, stand — so
high and so apparently toppling that it seems as if the slightest touch would send
them down the precipice which they overlook.

Another excursion, frequently taken from Hendersonville, is to Brevard, the
county seat of Transylvania County, upon the upper French Broad ; and so on to
Caesar's Head, in South Carolina.


From this point, or Flat Rock, parties can most easily and conveniently visit
Tryon mountain, from whose summit is had one of the finest views of South and
North Carolina. The traveler who enters the mountains by this route, intending to
spend two or three weeks, will go on either to Asheville or Brevard, and at either
place can find enough to fill up with joy his three weeks' holiday.

We return to Spartanburg, and take up our route southward.

Leaving Spartanburg by the Air Line, in a run of thirty-two miles we reach the
flourishing town of Greenville, the county seat of Greenville County, South Carolina.
The ride is a pleasant one through a fine country, daily developing under the influ-
ence of improved methods of cultivation, and, above all, of improved means of trans-
portation and communication. There is along the route a fine view of the mountains
to the right.

IS a considerable town. Its population in 1870 was reported at near three thousand ;
it must be now seven thousand five hundred — -more than double that number. Like
the average Souchern town, it is spread over a large space, but in this case there is a
much larger portion of the town closely built up. The evidences of advancement are
visible everywhere in the appearance of new buildings and others in process of com-
pletion. The main business street, running east and west, extends for nearly two
miles, and is well built up most of the distance. It is crossed at right angles by-
Reedy River, which furnishes very fine water-power, and upon which are visible,
from the bridge, four or five very large cotton factories and mills.

There were just here some very beautiful and romantic falls in Reedy River,
which were, among other things, a source of attraction. These falls have now been
turned to manufacturing purposes ; and what was once the resort of picnic and
pleasure parties has been applied to the baser uses of commerce. A gentleman who
was pointing out the localities to us recalled many pleasant recollections of the time
when the falls were visited by him in his younger days ; when the whole region was a
forest, and the banks of the river were clothed in all the verdure of primeval nature.

The private dwellings and their grounds are, many of them, handsome and well
cared for. The climate, like that of Charlotte, is deliciously soft and balmy. Nature
repays with lavish hand any attention bestowed, so that flowers and shrubs flourish
in unusual beauty and abundance. All the Summer fruits of the South abound in
great perfection ; figs, grapes and peaches are particularly abundant and luscious.

This place is the seat of Furman University, an institution under the patronage
of the Baptist Church, so called from the name of its founder. Quite a large sum
was left by him to endow the college ; but what with the shrinkage of the war, and
the too-extravagant plan of the buildings, the fund is not sufficient for all purposes.

The buildings make an imposing appearance from the park of green trees in
the midst of which they stand, but are as yet incomplete.

The churches are numerous and handsome. In particular, the Episcopal church
is one of the most attractive, in its architecture and surroundings, of any church in
this place or elsewhere in the State. The nucleus of the town may still be traced


around the court-house square, which still maintains its central superiority in trade
and business. The State and United States courts are held here, and, while we were
there, the latter was busily occupied in prosecuting "moonshiners."

In the western part of the city is the depot of the railroad to Columbia ; at the
opposite side of the town is the depot of the Air Line Railroad ; and the two are
connected by a street railroad, which furnishes cheap transit to passengers through
the main business parts of the city.


'OROM Greenville a large number of persons from all the low country seek the moun-
tains of South and North Carolina, making their entrance to them at Cesar's
Head, a noble spur of the Blue Ridge, about thirty-five miles distant. A public line
of hacks runs every day in the season to Cjesar's Head, which is thus reached in a
few hours by a pleasant trip through a beautiful and romantic highland district.
Ccesar's Head is on the South Carolina side, and is so called from some fancied
resemblance in its craggy top, from some points of view, to a man's profile. This
mountain, forty-four hundred feet above the sea, is on the southeastern side of the
Blue Ridge, and at a salient point jutting out from the surrounding mountains.
From its altitude, its outlying position, and other reasons, it presents from its
summit one of the grandest and most far-reaching panoramas to be found in the
AUeghanies. The view from this point presents an element not usual in the case of
mountain views, to wit : an almost unlimited prospect of the low lands, which lie
stretched out before us, dotted with farms and villages, traversed by streams stretch-
ing to the infinite in the blue distance. Of mountains, too, there is no lack, as it
embraces almost the entire system of North Carolina, from Mount Mitchell, in
Yancey county, in the north — the highest point of the Black Mountains —
to Whitesides and the Nanteahaleh, in Macon county. Under the eye are some of the
finest peaks of the Appalachian chain -Pisgah, Looking-Glass, the Great Hogback,
Table Rock — as well as those before mentioned. Towards the lowlands, the vision
ranges from King's Mountain, on the southern border of North Carolina to Currahee,
in the northern part of Georgia, 210 miles from each other in a direct line. The
point of view is about a quarter of a mile from the hotel at Ccesar's Head, from a bare
rock, down from whose edge the dizzy precipice falls to an immeasurable depth - it is
almost maddening to approach it. This noble view can, moreover, be enjoyed at
leisure and with every comfort. A most excellent and commodious hotel is built
near the summit, where every comfort and luxury can be had, from whose lawn even
the view is fine, and from which the point of view can be reached by an easy walk.
One can wait for good weather here ; can choose morning or evening, or
take in grand details at leisure and in comfort, without the disturbing thought of a
long and tedious descent to perhaps a very indifferent cabin as one's place of rest.

Caesar's Head is a place of much resort ; the house is always full in summer of per-
manent and transient visitors, which adds to the natural attractions. The air is
bracing and delicious, the water the purest and coolest freestone ; every night a
blanket is needed, and often by day a fire is pleasant, even in midsummer. There are


pleasant walks about the place and many objects of interest within a few miles.
The great attraction, however, is the fine view and the bracing air. It is claimed
that a residence here will cure hay fever, relieve pulmonary affections of all sorts,
and is especially beneficial to nervous and consumptive patients. One can well
believe that such a climate and such surroundings must do wonders for almost any of
the ills to which flesh is heir.


n^O the tourist, this place furnishes one of the most convenient points of departure for
visiting some of the finest parts of the mountains of North Carolina. From here
to Buck Forest, across the Ridge, and into North Carolina, is only six or seven miles.
At Buck Forest we are in the classic ground of the " Land of the Sky. " Here also is
an excellent hotel, and generally are to be found a good many sojourners. The
country around is mountainous and wooded, and is still fine for deer hunting. A
pack of hounds is usually kept at Buck Forest, and the accommodating landlord will
furnish a driver on almost any date, with almost a certainty of success. But the chief
attraction about this place is its vicinity to the canon of Little River, a branch of the
French Broad, which in the course of five or six miles presents the most splendid
falls and cascades to be found in this part of the mountains. Within a mile and a
half of Buck Forest are the Bridal Veil Falls, mentioned in " The Land of the Sky. "

Next below, within five miles, are two other falls of great altitude and beauty.
The height of these must be each nearly one hundred feet. Little River is quite a
large stream, and when flushed these falls must be very grand. The leap is not
unbroken in any one of them, but the rock is so nearly perpendicular, and the water
is so dashed and broken up, that it rushes down with great violence and in its course

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Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 5 of 11)