Historic Signage

Bethel Community highways contain four signs that are a part of the North Carolina Highway Historical Markers Program.  One of the oldest continuing programs of its type in the nation – since 1935 – the state program commemorates noteworthy people, places, and events that are of statewide significance. (click pictures to begin slide show.)

GARDEN CREEK:

Bethel’s earliest settlers came to the area 10,000 years ago in 8,000 B.C., according to the Garden Creek historical marker. 

Four separate archaeological digs have involved investigation of the Garden Creek Native American settlement: 1880, 1915, 1965, and 2011.

The Garden Creek site is thought to encompass three Indian mounds and two villages on twelve acres.
GARDEN CREEK:

Bethel’s earliest settlers came to the area 10,000 years ago in 8,000 B.C., according to the Garden Creek historical marker.

Four separate archaeological digs have involved investigation of the Garden Creek Native American settlement: 1880, 1915, 1965, and 2011.

The Garden Creek site is thought to encompass three Indian mounds and two villages on twelve acres.

RUTHERFORD TRACE:

The Rutherford Trace march proceeded through Bethel and beyond in 1776. General Griffith Rutherford and his more than two thousand troops conducted a scorched earth progression against thirty-six Cherokee villages in order to eradicate Cherokee resistance to white settlement in the area.  A state historic marker commemorates the historic trek on Highway #276 across Waynesville Mountain.
RUTHERFORD TRACE:

The Rutherford Trace march proceeded through Bethel and beyond in 1776. General Griffith Rutherford and his more than two thousand troops conducted a scorched earth progression against thirty-six Cherokee villages in order to eradicate Cherokee resistance to white settlement in the area. A state historic marker commemorates the historic trek on Highway #276 across Waynesville Mountain.
INMAN CHAPEL:

The first Universalist Church west of Durham, Inman Chapel, was dedicated in 1902.  Built by the Reverend James Anderson Inman, brother of Inman of "Cold Mountain" fame, the Bethel site earned a state historic marker for its first full-time female minister of a Universalist Church in the state who also started the first Universalist kindergarten, Hannah Jewett Powell.
INMAN CHAPEL:

The first Universalist Church west of Durham, Inman Chapel, was dedicated in 1902. Built by the Reverend James Anderson Inman, brother of Inman of "Cold Mountain" fame, the Bethel site earned a state historic marker for its first full-time female minister of a Universalist Church in the state who also started the first Universalist kindergarten, Hannah Jewett Powell.
SUNBURST:

Sunburst Village, a logging community that existed in the first quarter of the 20th century in Bethel was one of the largest logging operations in the region.  The state historic marker near Lake Logan commemorates the contributions of raw material from Sunburst to the World War I effort.
SUNBURST:

Sunburst Village, a logging community that existed in the first quarter of the 20th century in Bethel was one of the largest logging operations in the region. The state historic marker near Lake Logan commemorates the contributions of raw material from Sunburst to the World War I effort.

Many people, places, and events that are of local importance are not eligible for the state signage program.  To direct attention to notable local history, BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee has developed its own marker project.  To date, the organization has placed four local historic markers along roadsides in Bethel Community. (click pictures to begin slide show.)

BETHEL PRESBYTERIAN
 CHURCH:


The Reverend Jesse Stalcup, Baptist minister and millwright, built the building in 1885 as the first Presbyterian Church in Haywood County. The church is Bethel Rural Community Organization’s home base. Floor to ceiling chestnut interior in the sanctuary provides a dramatic backdrop for learning about the history of Presbyterianism in Western North Carolina. Books 1 and 5 of "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain" inform about the church’s unique past. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
BETHEL PRESBYTERIAN
CHURCH:


The Reverend Jesse Stalcup, Baptist minister and millwright, built the building in 1885 as the first Presbyterian Church in Haywood County. The church is Bethel Rural Community Organization’s home base. Floor to ceiling chestnut interior in the sanctuary provides a dramatic backdrop for learning about the history of Presbyterianism in Western North Carolina. Books 1 and 5 of "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain" inform about the church’s unique past. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
OSBORNE BOUNDRY 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 "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
OSBORNE BOUNDRY 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 "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
LENOIR'S CREEK 
 FARM:


Descending from some of North Carolina’s most prominent citizens, the Lenoir family in Haywood County claimed ancestral ties to locations named for them: Avery County and the city/county of Lenoir. Thomas and Selina Louisa Avery Lenoir settled the land in 1806 and began a farm in 1807 that continues until today.  Thomas was elected to the legislature and eventually amassed approximately 4,000 acres on the East Fork of the Pigeon River.  The Lenoir’s slave-holding grew to 35. The family returned to Lenoir, but youngest son, Thomas Isaac Lenoir, returned to continue the farm and established a herd of Red Devon cattle by the mid-1850s.  He married Mary Elizabeth Garrett, and they had three daughters and a son (died in infancy).  During the Civil War Thomas Isaac was Captain of “the Highlanders," the NC 25th Infantry Regiment, Company F. To learn more about the Lenoir family and Lenoir’s Creek Farm see "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain", Book 3.  See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
LENOIR'S CREEK
FARM:


Descending from some of North Carolina’s most prominent citizens, the Lenoir family in Haywood County claimed ancestral ties to locations named for them: Avery County and the city/county of Lenoir. Thomas and Selina Louisa Avery Lenoir settled the land in 1806 and began a farm in 1807 that continues until today. Thomas was elected to the legislature and eventually amassed approximately 4,000 acres on the East Fork of the Pigeon River. The Lenoir’s slave-holding grew to 35. The family returned to Lenoir, but youngest son, Thomas Isaac Lenoir, returned to continue the farm and established a herd of Red Devon cattle by the mid-1850s. He married Mary Elizabeth Garrett, and they had three daughters and a son (died in infancy). During the Civil War Thomas Isaac was Captain of “the Highlanders," the NC 25th Infantry Regiment, Company F. To learn more about the Lenoir family and Lenoir’s Creek Farm see "Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain", Book 3. See also "Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us" DVD and the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD.
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.  Bethel Rural Community Organization placed strategic directional signage and erected a local historic marker at the site in 2016.
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. Bethel Rural Community Organization placed strategic directional signage and erected a local historic marker at the site in 2016.
CALVIN FILMORE CHRISTOPHER


Since his death in 1940, civic minded people in Haywood County have desired to honor Calvin Filmore Christopher, Bethel resident who is generally considered to be one of North Carolina's most prolific inventors.  BRCO members are finally able to recognize the man whose genius led him to introduce mechanical inventions that have changed the ease with which society functions.  On NC Highway #110 near Max Thompson Road a marker, produced and funded by BRCO and individual members, pays homage to the almost forgotten inventor.
CALVIN FILMORE CHRISTOPHER


Since his death in 1940, civic minded people in Haywood County have desired to honor Calvin Filmore Christopher, Bethel resident who is generally considered to be one of North Carolina's most prolific inventors. BRCO members are finally able to recognize the man whose genius led him to introduce mechanical inventions that have changed the ease with which society functions. On NC Highway #110 near Max Thompson Road a marker, produced and funded by BRCO and individual members, pays homage to the almost forgotten inventor.
BETHEL RURAL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION LOGO SIGN:


Bethel Rural Community Organization focuses on preserving the rich natural heritage of the community symbolized by the sunburst, mountains, valleys, and streams, and river depicted on the sign.
BETHEL RURAL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION LOGO SIGN:


Bethel Rural Community Organization focuses on preserving the rich natural heritage of the community symbolized by the sunburst, mountains, valleys, and streams, and river depicted on the sign.
PIGEON VALLEY QUILT BLOCK:



The Pigeon Valley Quilt Block focuses on names and associations connected with Bethel: Sunburst, Sonoma (Valley of the Moon), Passenger Pigeon, Pigeon Valley, Forks of Pigeon, Pigeon River, Bethel  (House of God), Bethel Presbyterian Church, Cold Mountain and other local mountains that overlook local farms, barns, and agrarian lands.  The Pigeon Valley Quilt block places BRCO on Haywood County’s Quilt Trail.
PIGEON VALLEY QUILT BLOCK:



The Pigeon Valley Quilt Block focuses on names and associations connected with Bethel: Sunburst, Sonoma (Valley of the Moon), Passenger Pigeon, Pigeon Valley, Forks of Pigeon, Pigeon River, Bethel (House of God), Bethel Presbyterian Church, Cold Mountain and other local mountains that overlook local farms, barns, and agrarian lands. The Pigeon Valley Quilt block places BRCO on Haywood County’s Quilt Trail.
BLUE RIDGE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA HERITAGE TRAIL MARKER:


BRCO is one of 3 in Haywood County and one of 70 sites in the region to earn a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Heritage Trail marker to commemorate the community’s agriculture, Cherokee, and natural heritage.
BLUE RIDGE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA HERITAGE TRAIL MARKER:


BRCO is one of 3 in Haywood County and one of 70 sites in the region to earn a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Heritage Trail marker to commemorate the community’s agriculture, Cherokee, and natural heritage.

Other Commemorative Historic Markers. (click pictures to begin slide show.)