Easton (N.H.).

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

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in Eastern North Carolina will sound the knell of departing day far beyond the lofty
mountain peaks, and the shriek of the whistles will startle the dreamers in the cities
of Tennessee.

The Western North Carolina Railroad passing directly over the great Appala-
chian range at Swannanoa Gap, and down the French Broad to Paint Rock, with its
Western Division diverging at Asheville and reaching the Pigeon Valley ; thence over
the dark recesses of the towering Balsam, and gently dropping again to the romantic
valleys of the Tuckaseege and the Tennessee rivers ; then bounding upwards along
the tumbling waters of the Nantehaleh to Marble Gap, and descending the sloping
sides of the mountain by the little streams that gather their waters into the plain
below and form the Valley river, so appropriately named, and on through the wide
and fertile lands that lie on its banks, to the confluence of the Hiwassee, where the
Httle town of Murphy nestles between those crj-stal streams, is one of the most inter-
esting and important of the several roads that constitute this route from the sea to the
" mighty river."

It offers to the tourist, the artist, and the poet the most charming scenes of
nature ; to the sick and weary, rest and health ; to the capitalist, investment and
profit ; while there is no region which affords more numerous and splendid varieties


of flowers to captivate the eye of the botanist. The mineralo^st and geologist may
here find a primitive earth, almost unexplored, undeveloped and unknow^n, whose sur-
face invites the genius of man to penetrate the earth and gather its hidden treasures.

The forests of mammoth walnut, the sturdy oaks, the lofty pines, the towering
and graceful hemlocks, the beautiful cherry, the locust that never decays, the dog-wood
for shuttles and pins, the fantastic rhododendrons, the maples of infinite variety and
unequaled beauty, and the stately poplar in\ate the manufacturer, the builder and
the lumberman to visit this new land, now just opened for travel and trade.

The rich verdure of the valleys, the grass sodden slopes and the natural pastures of
the mountain sides offer to those fond of pastoral life a rich and profitable field. The
water-falls on the unfailing streams that come roaring down the mountain furnish
motive power sufficient to turn every wheel in the Union, and make their machinery
buzz and whir with activity and life.

Let the traveler forget his cares and the country behind him and join us in a tour
over the road, to see what we can find to interest and please us, or perchance to give
us back our health, or make an honest profit on a fortunate venture. The Richmond
and Danville Railroad system begins north at Alexandria and Washington City,
where comfortable coaches. Buffet cars and Pullman sleepers are attached to its
trains. Leaving Washington, after breakfast in the morning, we arrive at Salisbury
at about 1 1 o'clock p. M. The sleeper goes on the same night, forming through con-
nection to Knoxville, Louisville, Chicago and all Western points, but if we travel to
see and be seen, we should stop over at Salisbury a day, and view the ancient town,
one of the oldest in the State, and rich in historic interests. Here was one of the
Confederate prisons for Union soldiers during the " late unpleasantness," and the
federal government has erected a granite monument to the memory of the men who
died for the cause they embraced. The base of the monument is constructed of large
blocks of granite, surmounted by a die of the same material, beautifully adorned with
appropriate symbols ; resting upon this is an obelisk, about thirty feet in height. The
cemetery around is dotted with graves marked by headstones, and the sward is
adorned with flowers and shade trees ; the whole is kept smooth and neat by the
officer in charge, and constitutes an attractive spot to the visitor.

From Salisbury we start west and travel twenty-six miles to Statesville, a
flourishing town of three thousand inhabitants, the county seat of Iredell County.
The Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad from Augusta, Ga., intersects the
Western North Carolina Railroad at this place, and daily contributes its quota of
travelers from Charleston, Augusta and other southern cities, who come by through
connection and in comfortable coaches and sleepers to this point. It will pay the
tourist or botanist to stop over a day at this place and visit the large medical herbar-
ium of Wallace Bros.

During the late war the Confederate Government established a laboratory at
this point for the manufacture of medicines from native roots, herbs and seeds, and
put it in charge of an accomplished herbist named Hyams, who discovered many new
and efficacious medical remedies, and contributed very much, by his scientific knowl-


edge, to the alleviation of the suffering soldiers. After the war the Messrs. Wallace
Brothers, who are enterprising and successful merchants, continued the business,
and, in 1876, made an exhibition, at the Philadelphia Centennial, of medical herbs,
roots, seeds, leaves and barks, which attracted the attention of botanists and physi-
cians, and gave an impetus to the trade in these commodities which has greatly
exceeded the expectations of its proprietors.

The Statesville Female College, formerly built by the Presbyterian Church, but
now owned by a joint stock company, is located in this pretty little city, and receives
a liberal patronage from the surrounding country. It is situated on a beautiful
eminence, which commands a fine view of the mountains, and the fresh air which
sweeps over it gives vigor and health to the pupils. Its corps of teachers is very com-
petent and the school is the pride and ornament of the town.

Statesville is rapidly becoming a good tobacco market ; within the last few years
the growth of this product has greatly increased in the counties lying north and west
of it, and this being the nearest railroad market it finds sale through the dealers in
this city. Several fine warehouses and a number of manufactories indicate a healthy
and increasing trade in this commodity. Between SaHsbury and Statesville is a grain
country, and in the autumn, when the seeds of the rag-weed have ripened in the
stubble fields, the


is fine and plentiful. There are several kennels in this vicinity where bird dogs are
trained for the sport, and the sportsman can bag his score or more of birds every

The English snipe also abounds along the streams, with an occasional woodcock
to add to the variety. The weather is mild until the 15th of December.

Leaving Statesville, a few miles from town, we pass over a magnificent arched
bridge, made of stone and brick, which spans a large creek, then through a pleasant
country to the Catawba river, thence up its banks and fertile valley several miles,
with picturesque farms on either side, and on till we cross the stream and stop a
little way beyond at Catawba Station. In this vicinity, though not in sight, are two
large cotton factories, run by water power, which make fine yarn, cotton plaids and
plain shirtings. The investment in these mills is said to yield large profits. Near here
is a good quality of white marble. The block placed by North Carolina in the
Washington monument was procured by Dr. D. W. Schenck, of Lincolnton, N. C,
the agent for the State, in 1846, from a quarry of this marble. Valuable geld deposits
and rich veins of this precious metal have been worked on Mountain creek, a few
miles south of this station. About the year 1850, Henry Causler took from one
pocket, in a few hours, 1,950 pennyweights of pure gold, and the next day 770 penny-
weights. Lime in great abundance is found near here, and the State at one time
granted a charter for a branch of the Western North Carolina Railroad to run to it.
This whole region is one of interest to the immigrant, the capitalist and the manu-


Some fifteen miles west of this station we reach Newton, the county seat of
Catawba county, a thriving, growing, busy town, with several fine merchant mills, a
large cotton factory, near the depot, run by steam, and a hat manufactory. The
county of Catawba was originally settled by Protestant Germans, and is now the most
flourishing and best farmed of any county in Western Carolina. Its lands are rich,
all modern agricultural implements are used, and it has good schools and numerous

At Newton there is a flourishing high school, owned, controlled, and patronized
by the German Reformed Church.

At Conover, the next station, a few miles west of Newton, there is another high
school, which belongs to the Lutheran Church, and is well patronized by this large and
influential denomination.

From Conover a few minutes' ride brings us to Hickory, a town of 1,500 inhabi-
tants, which has grown up since the war, and ov/es its prosperity chiefly to the
tobacco business. Large quantities of " the weed " are manufactured into cigars,
cigarettes, plugs, and snuff, and a great deal of the leaf is sent to other markets. The
cultivation of this profitable crop is increasing every year. The town is a considerable
summer resort.

In six miles of this place are the


situated among the foothills of the Brushy Mountain range.

There are two large and comfortable main buildings, situated on the summit of
high hills, and a number of comfortable cottages for families, that afford room for two
hundred guests.

A handsome elevated stand, where a good band discourses sweet music every
evening, and a spacious ball room, and other attractions make the place pleasant and

The chief attraction is Sulphur Springs. There is also a chalybeate spring of
excellent quality on the grounds. Lying as this place does in a rolling country and
at an altitude of i ,000 feet, the scenery around is charming, and the air pure, cool and

It is well patronized every year and the visitor should not pass without seeing
and enjoying it a few days at least. The Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Rail-
road, belonging to the Richmond and Danville system, which runs from Lancaster,
South Carolina, via Chester and Yorkville in that State, and Dallas, Lincolnton, and
Newton, North Carolina, intersects the Western North Carolina Railroad at Hickory,
and continues twenty miles northwest to its terminus at Lenoir, in Caldwell county.
By means of this route travelers from the South find easy connection to the main
route over the mountains. At Icard or Connellys, ten miles beyond Hickory, is found
a chalybeate spring, with a tracing of arsenic, which Dr. Whitehead, a distinguished
physician, pronounces to be wonderfully efficacious in skin diseases and kidney


The hotel is new, but the accommodations limited. The invalid may find here
what is dearer to him than luxury and wealth — that restoration to health and vigor
which he may have vainly sought elsewhere.

The base of the Blue Ridge is reached at Morganton and the glorious panorama
of mountain scenery begins to unfold itself to the delighted vision. The Table Rock,
a giant boulder of granite stretching up 4,000 feet, v.ith its flat surface of twenty
acres and its perpendicular sides reaching into the dark valleys below, presents a
most striking outline against the blue sky beyond it, and in juxta-position is the
Hawk's Bill, a lonely, barren rock over 4,000 feet high, which seems to have been
cleft by some mighty convulsion of nature from the Table Rock, and to have been
placed on the other side of the Linville river as a sentinel on its banks. One view of
this pinnacle presents the profile of a hawk's head and beak, and the name is derived
from this peculiar contour of its face. The hotels in this village are well kept. The
Western Insane Asylum, erected by the State, overlooks the town. It is a palatial
building, with wings, towers, gables, slate roofs, observatories, and every appendage
of modern architecture to adorn and beautify it. The cost was half a million of
dollars. The cool, salubrious atmosphere of the mountains, and the fresh, cold, free-
stone water with which it is abundantly supplied, have been found almost as effica-
cious to the patients as the scientific knowledge of the learned physicians who have
these unfortunate inmates under their charge. From the outlook of the highest
observatory over the main building the whole range of the Blue Ridge for a sweep of
hundreds of miles can be distinctly seen ; and it will afford pleasure to the hospitable
citizens of the town or the officers in charge of the asylum, to point out the different
peaks and pinnacles, that rise in such apparent confusion around. The Black Mount-
ain, Mitchell's Peak, the Roan and other notable peaks, are in full view.

If the traveler has time, he can visit from here, with profit to his health and
delight, the Linville Falls and the Piedmont, and Glen Alpine Springs.


about twenty-five miles distant, is where the Linville River bursts through the solid
rock of the mountain, forming perpendicular walls on either side of five hundred feet
in height, beautifully painted by the corrodmg fingers of time with the red oxides
which are contained in the rocks, and then plunges one hundred and thirty feet into
the abyss below, breaking into fleecy sprays before it reaches the bottom of the gulf.
The roaring of this terrific cataract can be heard for miles before we reach its base.
A few years ago there was a step in the fall, at the depth of thirty feet, where the
maddened waters dashed against the shelving rock and were arrested before they
took another leap ; but this adamantine obstruction at last gave way, under the con-
stant pressure of the stream, and the water now goes plunging down unobstructed.
The region around these falls is wild and almost impenetrable to the foot of man,
and the



entices the keen sportsman to seek this fleet and cunning game in this vicinity.

The style of hunting is different, however, from this sport in other localities.
Here the hunter is placed at a stand, on the banks of this crystal stream, M^here the
water is ponded back a little way by some opposing ledge of rock, by which it
is made still and deep, and being overhung with the hemlock and the rhododendrons,
forms a secluded spot for refuge and concealment. The " driver," accompanied by
the hounds, ascends the steep mountain sides and " starts " the deer among the
crags, where they " herd " during the day, and after some hours' chase, growing
weary and hot, they invariably descend the ridges to the streams below, where they
can lave themselves in the dark pools and escape from the keen scent of the pursuing
dogs. At these resorts the hunter stands, with watchful eye and bated breath, waiting
with ready gun in hand for the appearance of these graceful denizens of the forest.
The hounds are far away over some cliff, scenting their slow but unerring way along
the retreating trail, and their deep bay never reaches the silent listener below ; but as
the sun ascends the morning sky and the dew ceases its droppings from the foliage
above, and he grows impatient and lonely, he is startled by a rolling rock which tum-
bles from the ridge overhead ; listening a moment he hears the crackling noise of the
broken sticks which have given way under an advancing footstep; his heart beats
like a fever was upon him ; another moment and the green branches of the laurel are
disturbed by something which is passing under them ; the gaze of the hunter is more
intense and his eyes are stretched to their utmost ; there is an open space between
him and the forest, which the old "driver " has pointed out as the place where the game
must pass before it can approach the pool it wearily seeks ; into this area the noble
game emerges and the sound of the gun is reverberated for miles up and down the
stream. If the hunter has been cool, cautious and steady, the whoop of triumph
sends his glad tidings of success to the " stander " below, and the winding horn
swells the joyful notes to the mountain top, where the jolly old " driver " returns his
shrill echo back with triumph gladness in its tones, and the mountain resounds with
the notes of victory on every hand. The hunters concentrate at the spot where the
gun was heard and each narrates what he saw or did in the chase, and congratula-
tions are showered on the lucky companion who has slain the game. But if he don't
kill it ! No ! we will not paint that unlucky picture.

In Burke County, where Morganton is situated, are found precious metals of
various kinds. Gold has been found so plentifully, to the south of the village, on the
headwaters of the Broad river, that it is known as the " Golden Valley ; " not so
enchanting as the " Happy Valley" of Rasselas, perhaps, but oftener sought and more
coveted. The mines are worked principally by sluicing. The fountains of the streams
are tapped by piping, which conducts the water to the deposits, and is let upon the
ground with great force, separating the gold, which sinks to the bottom in troughs,
and is collected by quicksilver.

Moving westward from Morganton we pass up and along the fertile valley of
the Catawba, with the mountains rising on either side, until we reach Marion, in

cata\vi;a falls.


McDowell County. This is the point to stop, if one desires to visit the Falls of
Catawba and


which lies about thirty miles north. It can be easily reached in a day's travel. Hire
a carriage in Marion, pass through the picturesque farms in Turkey Cove, and over
Gillespie's Gap to the little Swiss-looking village of Bakersville, which lies on both
sides of the limpid w^aters of Caney creek.

After an hour's rest and a hearty meal, you ride nine miles up to the top of the
Roan. It is 6,306 feet high, and the summit is a green sward of matted blue grass,
with here and there a cluster of trees or bushes. The " Cloudland Hotel " is built on
its summit, and affords a comfortable resting-place for visitors.

The view is unbroken, and limited only by the powers of vision ; when these fail,
add field-glasses, and take in Tennessee and Virginia and the Cumberland Gap, until
the eye is weary, then sit behind the large telescope at the hotel and peer into the
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia ; look down on the lofty Pilot and bring near the
moving trains on the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad ; then follow the
tributaries of the Holston, the French Broad and the Kanawha rivers, as they wind
their pearly ways out from among the " everlasting hills." A feeling of awe and
wonder will impress you, and not till you have turned to the south and seen the
rugged grandeur of the " Black " towering above will you realize that there are yet
other steeps to climb.

The level and bald plateau of the Roan, and its great altitude, offers a wider, grander
and more extended view than any other peak east of the Rocky Mountains. It is too
cold for vegetation, except some hardy shrubs ; the air is so rarefied that water boils
before it is hot enough to cook food, and the springs on its summit are so cold that
their waters have to be drunk with caution.

The "Avery Spring" is 48^* F., or 12° below the best spring waters of the
valley. It is seldom that good well water falls to 61'^.

The Roan Mountain isi n North Carolina ; the Tennessee line passing along
the northern edge of its summit.

It is in the Counties of Mitchell and Yancey, lying immediately on the north of
the Western North Carolina Railroad, and in easy access that the


are found, from which nine-tenths of the world's supply of this useful mineral is
obtained. It was first discovered m Mitchell County about the year 1867, and new
developments and discoveries have been made, until many thousands of dollars' worth
of this commodity is shipped every year to the great cities, and fortunes have been
made by the workers of these mines, and dealers in their products.

If the tourist desires to get a definite idea of this extensive business let him call
on G. D. Ray, of Burnsville, in Yancey County, who now owns mines that are said to
yield him a rental of $10,000 per year. These mines were once worked to a
limited extent by some prehistoric race who lived in the stone age. Here and there


are found excavations on the surface from ten to twenty feet deep, which have been
sunk until the miners came in contact with the hard felspar and their stone imple-
ments being too soft to penetrate further, they would abandon that spot for one where
the mica was more easily reached. Mr. Ray, after many failures, had ceased to mine.
But one snowy day two strangers from New Hampshire visited one of these prehis-
toric excavations and assured Mr. Ray that the outcrop was the same as the mica
mines in their State, and if he would blast through the granite formation he would
strike the long sought treasure. Encouraged by these assurances he risked every-
thing he had on the venture and began to drill and blast. After going twenty feet
into solid rock he touched off a blast, but instead of making the usual upheaval of
stone, a dull sound was heard and a puff of smoke ascended from the hole where the
drill had been driven. Several other efforts terminated with a like result, until, at last,
an inclined hole was drilled and a blast inserted ; this time the crust of granite was
broken and fell with a thud into the hollow cavity below. This proved to be in
shape like a hollow globe, ten feet in diameter, and was filled with large blocks of
almost pure mica. Blasting forty feet further through the same granite formation
he struck the rich vein of shining isinglass, which glittered like gold and is worth
from one to five dollars per pound. He is now at ease, so far as this world's goods
can make him so.

This mine is on the northern slope of the " Black."

The mica is found in blocks of various sizes, from six inches to two feet square,
and of var^'ing thickness. Mr. Ray's collection of minerals is well worth seeing, and
from them a correct idea of the wealth of this region can be formed. Beryl, in some
of its most beautiful forms, is found among the mica.

The Aqua Marine Crystals, found here, are almost equal m lustre to the dia-
mond, and are often mistaken for that precious gem when cut and mounted into

Most beautiful specimens of opalescent chalcedony have also been found, almost
equal in color and preciousness to the costly opal.

Garnet, in great abundance, is found in Burke County, close by, and much of it
is shipped in its crude state to lapidaries and others who use it for abrasive purposes.
Pockets of it have been found containing twenty bushels or more of these hexagonal
crystals. They are corroded on the outside, but when broken they present the rich-
est, red faces of pure crystal. The smaller ones seem to be denser and richer in color,
and, when without fracture, make beautiful settings for rings and other jewelry. A
week may be profitably and pleasantly spent in this vicinity, and then the tourist is
inclined to climb still higher and search for more wonders.

Moving out of Marion, the engine goes puffing along the valleys and over the
smaller ridges, twelve miles, until it reaches the foot of the mountain at Old Fort.


11 ERE is a picture worthy of the painter's brush and the artist's pencil. Major

James W. Wilson, Chief Enginer of the road, has just erected at this station a

most charming and comfortable summer hotel. It is five stories high, including


basement ; is painted artistically, with every side presenting an ornamental front.
The dining-room is spacious and adorned with pretty frescoes ; billiard rooms, par-
lors, halls and wide passages afford ample space for the amusement and convenience
of the guests ; water, cold and pure, is supplied in great abundance ; the bed-rooms
are furnished comfortably and neatly, and Mr. Sprague, the landlord, has a reputation,
far and near, for his delicious train breakfasts and suppers which he has been serving
heretofore to the traveler at Henry Station. In the rear of this splendid hotel, the
railroad company has constructed a large artificial lake, by damming up " Silver
Creek," which runs through the valley below, and from the smooth surface a fountain
throws up a stream 268 feet high, which is said to be six feet higher than any other
jet of water in the world. This lake is to be amply stocked with fountain trout,

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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 7 of 11)