From 2005-2011 the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour (CMHT) was a one or two day event featuring living history tours of numerous historic sites throughout Haywood County, but primarily in Bethel where Cold Mountain looms in the distance. The 2008 tour was affiliated with Haywood County's Bicentennial celebration; the 2009 tour was connected to a commemoration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th Anniversary; the tour in 2010 was conducted in conjunction with the observance of the Blue Ridge Parkway's 75th Anniversary. Allowing visits to approximately ten sites per year, the CHHT required a year's planning and involved approximately one hundred volunteers per year.
Tour guides at each location led visitors on a wonderful historic journey. As a continuation of the highly-praised historical excursion, the Historic Preservation Committee has produced a Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
(Click HERE to view details of all of the tour sites of the past.) The CMHT travel CD is now available for you to take your own self-guided tour. Included are nine of the most popular sites from the original tours that are easily visited without the assistance of on-site tour guides. Additional discussions about names and sites in Bethel not mentioned previously are featured on the CD.
Original Cold Mountain Heritage Tour
The nine sites represented on this CD are as follows:
Bethel Presbyterian Church
Built in 1885, this church is the mother Presbyterian Church of Haywood County. Floor to ceiling chestnut interior provides dramatic backdrop for learning about the history of Presbyterianism in Western North Carolina. (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1 & 5).
Established in 1854, the cemetery reveals a panoramic view of Bethel Community. One of the most popular sites on the tour, the cemetery is the location of the grave of Inman of Cold Mountain fame. Visitors learn the haunting details of Inman’s demise on Big Stomp Mountain and his burial by his father. (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1 & 5).
Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD
Truss Bridge #79
Haywood County’s oldest ornamental bridge and North Carolina’s oldest metal truss bridge was built in 1891 and transferred to its current site in 1925. Bethel Rural Community Organization has been an important savior of this bridge and its history. The bridge’s unique construction and design make it significant in bridge design, both in the state and nationally. (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1 & 6).
Inman Chapel & Cemetery
This 1902 Universalist Church was built by James Anderson Inman, brother of Pinkney Inman of Cold Mountain fame. This congregation was responsible, under the direction of the Reverend Hannah Jewett Powell, for initiating many of Haywood County's first social programs. Discussions of current renovations, the history of Universalism, and stories about the Inman family as revealed by Inman descendants make this a must see site. Many graves of the Inman family and local citizens dwell in the nearby cemetery, including grandparents of Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain. Inman Chapel received an NCDOT historic marker because of its historic significance. (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 1-6).
Blanton/Reece Log Cabin
Perhaps Haywood County's oldest remaining log cabin, this English-style, single-unit-with-shed addition displays dovetail mortising, extremely rare in the mountains. Reportedly built in 1821, this 360 square feet cabin was home to ten members of the Vess and Talitha Reece family from 1925-2001. Learn how a large family can exist in comfort in such a small space. Discover how this mountain cabin demonstrates the craftsmanship and influence of three major groups that settled the area: English, German, and Scots-Irish. (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 5 and 6).
Lenoir’s Creek Farm
Location of one of Haywood County's oldest land grants and one of the county's longest continuing working farms (since 1807), the 200 acre farm was home to several generations of the Lenoir family, including Thomas Isaac Lenoir, first Captain of the Highlanders, Company F of the 25th Regiment of the North Carolina Volunteers of the Confederate Army. Thomas Isaac Lenoir brought Devon cattle to the farm by the mid-1850's, and descendants of this same line of gentle cattle are still living on the farm approximately 170 years later. (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Books 3, 4, and 6).
Built in 1928, this building ceased to exist as a school in 1966. Today, Cruso Community Club utilizes the facility as a community center to promote its many programs. The school houses a mini-library, craft co-op, and a thrift shop. The quilting club has created numerous remarkable quilts that are on display. A mural of Cold Mountain provides a backdrop to the auditorium stage to highlight the famous mountain that casts its impressive shadow upon the entire community. Cruso Community Club has maintained the school building much as it was eighty years ago. The building is open to visitors from June-October. (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 3).
Originally inhabited by Native people of the area, this lovely property is the location of the Forks of the Pigeon River where the east and west forks merge. Part of an original land grant owned by William Cathey, the site became the historic location of camp meetings after which Bethel, meaning House of God, was named. (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 1).
Osborne Boundary Oak
According to oral history, this tree is believed to have been in existence in the days before white man settled Bethel Community. General Griffith Rutherford led his troops by this tree in 1776 during the Rutherford Trace march against the Cherokee. Settler Jonathan Osborne purchased a 600 acre tract of land, and this oak tree was listed as a boundary marker in 1792. Learn the tree's interesting history, including how Osborne family and community members have saved the tree three times. (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 6).
Sunburst – among the largest logging communities in WNC's history (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 4)
The many names of Bethel
New College Community Experience - A branch of Columbia University in Cruso (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain,
Book 3, and From New College to Springdale DVD)
Colonel Joseph Cathey (See also Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, Book 3)
Calvin Filmore Christopher (See also Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD and Legends, Tales & History of Cold
Mountain, Book 2).
The County Home
Garden Creek Indian Settlement
The CD allows tourists to visit the sites included with the understanding that the tourist assumes all liability. Bethel Rural Community Organization and individual tour sites cannot be held responsible or liable for any accident or mishap that might occur while driving or on any of the properties on the tour.
Sponsor: Haywood EMC
Videographer/Editor: Douglas Chambers Productions www.dougchambers.net
Includes: written directions to and descriptions of the 9 sites, a map, and stories of the area by local people. You travel at your own pace in your own car. Please drive safely. Price - $15.00