Geography of Haywood County
County is bordered on the east by Buncombe and Madison counties, to
the west by Jackson and Swain counties, to the south by Transylvania
County and to the north by Cocke County, Tennessee. [See map below!]
Haywood County is about a 3-hour drive north from Atlanta, Georgia;
a one-and-a-half hour drive east from Knoxville, Tennessee; and a 3-hour
drive west from Charlotte, North Carolina. Primary highways into the
county are Interstate 40, U.S. 276, U.S. 19, U.S. 23/74, and N.C. 215.
The Blue Ridge Parkway also runs along the western and southern line
of Haywood County.
A southeastern portion of the county includes the Pisgah National Forest. The northern part of the county is designated as part of the Pisgah National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
settlers began to occupy territory above Hemphill Creek after the Treaty
of Hopewell was signed with the Cherokee in 1795. Scottish, Irish and
German settlers found fertile soil and thick forests.
county seat, which was originally known as Mount Prospect, was renamed
Waynesville in 1809 after the Revolutionary War hero, "Mad"
Anthony Wayne, who had served under General George Washington.
Waynesville figured prominently at the end of the Civil War as the site where Gen. James G. Martin surrendered the Army of Western North Carolina, the last Confederate force in the state, to Union soldiers on May 6, 1865. The railroad came to Waynesville in 1882 boosting the area's growth. By the 1920s, Waynesville was an acclaimed golf resort and had become a center for the production and marketing of mountain crafts.
1905, the Champion Fibre Company harnessed the power of the county's
Pigeon River and a began production of paper at a pulp and paper mill
in Canton a few years later. Champion grew to become one of the largest
employers in Western North Carolina.
The county's farms produce burley tobacco, corn, hay and cattle. Champion International, which operated a paper mill in Canton and a smaller mill in Waynesville, remained the largest employer in the county. In 1999, Champion sold the plants as part of a worker buyout plan. The Haywood County operations were later renamed Blue Ridge Paper Products.
With the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1930s, the completion of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and local craft artists, traditional mountain musicians and Southern Appalachian clogging dancers, tourism has flourished in Haywood County.
Some of the attractions include Folkmoot USA, an annual international folk dance and music festival held each summer; United Methodist Assembly at Lake Junaluska; the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts at the Historic Shelton House in Waynesville; the Performing Arts Center in Waynesville, home of the Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre and other arts events held throughout the year; Ghost Town in the Sky, a sky-high amusement park in Maggie Valley; the Canton Area Historical Museum in Canton; Cataloochee Valley, the remains of a pioneer village outside Maggie Valley; Cataloochee Ranch, a horseback riding and winter skiing ranch with lodging located near Maggie Valley; the Old Pressley Sapphire Mine in Canton; and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most-visited national park in the United States and home to a wide variety of vegetation and wild animals as well as a recreation attraction for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping and picnicking.
Music Events and Venues for Traditional Mountain Music and Dance
events have helped bring area performers together to celebrate traditional
mountain music. In Canton, there's "Pickin' in the Park,"
held outdoors each Friday night at the Canton Recreation Park from May
through September. In Maggie Valley, from April through October, each
night Tuesday through Saturday, there's music and dance at the Stompin'
Ground, known as the "Clogging Capital of the World."
traditional music events include the Smoky Mountain Folk Festival
at Lake Junaluska, Singing on the Mountain in Fines Creek, Raymond
Fairchild Day with the Maggie Valley Banjo Picking Contest,
the Canton Labor Day Celebration, Christian Harmony Shaped-Note
Singing at Morning Star United Methodist Church near Canton, the
Fines Creek Bluegrass Jam Sessions at the Fines Creek Community
Center, America's Clogging Hall of Fame Workshop and Competition
in Maggie Valley, the Church Street Arts and Crafts Show in Waynesville,
the Haywood County Fair in Lake Junaluska and the Fourth of July
celebrations in Waynesville, Canton and Maggie Valley.