Projects Timeline


  • Western Carolina University awarded BRCO’s Rural Preservation and Historic Preservation Committees the prestigious Mountain Heritage Award for the group’s dedication to preserving and interpreting Southern Appalachian culture and history.
  • Initiated the Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation as a yearly recognition of individuals in Bethel who have contributed to the safeguarding of local history - BRCO granted Charles Cathey with the first award.
  • Supervised an Eagle Scout project by Joey Rolland to clear the area and build a bridge to the Pigeon Gap Watering Hole atop Waynesville Mountain
  • BRCO’s ten art prints were featured at Haywood County Arts Council’s Studio 86 during the studio’s Appalachian Heritage Month. This display featured our prints at the Art after Dark event, Appalachian Lifestyles Festival, and the month-long Mountain-Made series. In addition, the Arts Council featured our slide-show featuring historic sites and people.
  • Catch the Spirit of Appalachia conducted two interviews with the Historic Preservation Committee chair about BRCO’s historic and rural preservation programs. The interviews are in Western Carolina University’s archival collection.


  • BRCO submitted research about the agricultural, Cherokee, and natural heritage of Bethel to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) for heritage evaluation.
  • Collected/reproduced three art prints of historic sites in Bethel from the Henson, Sorrells, and Lackey families (Pingree Plott House, Bethel School in the 1920s, and the Blaylock House)
  • Collaborated with the Haywood County Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Committee to conduct a cemetery tour of graves of Civil War veterans during the “Last Shot Commemoration"
  • Produced a Cold Mountain Scenic Tour brochure for distribution
  • Awarded Norman Long the Pigeon Valley Award for his restoration of the historic Chinquapin Grove School
  • Filmed segments for the Sunburst DVD


  • BRNHA awarded BRCO site status on the BRNHA Heritage Trail. BRCO’s historic marker is one of three in Haywood County and one of seventy in the western region of the state.
  • Interfaced with individuals, arborists, and DAR to conduct an aerial inspection/pruning of the historic Osborne Boundary Oak tree. Lake Logan Fire Department agreed to water the tree during drought conditions.
  • Collaborated with Steve Sorrells and Cold Mountain Nursery to collect and distribute seedlings of the Osborne Boundary Oak to individuals and organizations that have been important to the tree’s preservation
  • Installed the fourth local historic marker at Pigeon Gap Watering Hole, a location dating to the early 1800s that was used by local residents and their animals as they crossed into Waynesville
  • The NC Society of Historians awarded BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee, individual members, the videographer, and Dick Alexander the Multi-Media Award for From New College to Springdale DVD.
  • Nick De Paolo made a water-color painting of the three historic school buildings of Bethel School.
  • The Ledbetter family donated a copy of Mack Ledbetter’s colored map of Sunburst for BRCO’s art print collection.
  • Established a library file of BRCO’s historic data
  • Awarded Dick Alexander the Pigeon Valley Award for his New College to Springdale interview that netted a state history award for him and BRCO
  • Filmed segments for the Sunburst DVD


  • Selected Gary Woolard to create an acrylic painting of Truss Bridge #79. NC's oldest metal truss bridge
  • Submitted an application for National Register of Historic Places status for Truss Bridge #79
  • Filmed segments for the Sunburst Logging Community DVD
  • Filmed Possum on a Whale music group to provide background music for the Sunburst DVD
  • Filmed and created a CD titled “Sunburst Sessions” of 13 traditional old-time music songs by Possum on a Whale
  • Raised funds for/installed our fifth local historic marker, designed by the Historic Preservation Committee, that commemorates local inventor, Calvin Filmore Christopher
  • Collected a 1930s photograph of Osborne Farm (donated by Robert Cathey and Bill Holbrook)
  • Collected a painting of the 1867 Pingree Priestly and Charity Haseltine Plott House and family (donated by Bill and Carolyn Nettles)
  • Selected by the overseers of the Plott estate as the organization that directs disposition of some of the James Henry and Flora Kinsland Plott documents, papers, memorabilia, and artifacts
  • Gave the Pigeon Valley Award (posthumously) to Ted Darrell Inman
Multimedia Award
  • Collaborated with Canton Area Historical Museum and Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society representatives to determine destination of Plott House collection
  • Completed filming and began editing the Sunburst and Other Logging Operations In the Bethel/Cold Mountain Region DVD for anticipated release by fall of 2018
  • The Possum on a Whale CD, Sunburst Sessions, developed by the HP Committee, is now available through our website and at Blue Ridge Books and Shelton House Gift Shop.
  • Discovered a long-lost Hargrove family diary from the Civil War era among the Plott artifacts
  • Collected a painting of the 1867 Pingree Priestly and Charity Haseltine Osborne Plott House painted by Jason Hawkins (donated by Yvonne Hawkins)
  • Consulted with the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society and NCDOT regarding the future of the second of two historic truss bridges in Bethel: Truss Bridge #248
  • Conducted a survey of the Historic Preservation Committee concerning the location of a 19th century cemetery adjacent to the County Home near Silver Bluff Nursing Home
  • The Plott collection received front-page coverage in Vicinitus twice in 2018.
  • Collected pictures relating to Bethel School history from Maude Shephard
  • Organized/expanded library files of Bethel historical documents
  • Awarded the fifth Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation to Charles and Martha Trantham for their stewardship of the Lenoir's Creek Farm and the historic herd of Red Devon cattle
  • Conducted a "Bed Turning" event hosted by textile specialist, Suzanne McDowell, that featured the six Plott House quilts
  • BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee completed our five-year-in-the-making project, Sunburst and Other Logging Operations in the Bethel & Cold Mountain Region DVD. The DVD, completed just before Christmas, sold well enough that the supply ran out within two weeks.
  • Consulted with Western Carolina University’s Heritage Center representatives and Suzanne McDowell, textile specialist, to analyze artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, letters, post cards, quilts, store ledger, historic diary, art prints, and other collections from the James Henry and Flora Kinsland Plott House