Mountain Grown Music - traditional mountain music of Haywood County North Carolina


[See also,, Smoky Mountain News, The Enterprise Mountaineer, Haywood County Arts Council]

The Mountains

Geography of Haywood County

Haywood 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.
Haywood County has an estimated population of 50,000 (46,942 according to the 1990 U.S. Census). Its county seat is Waynesville and other towns and communities in the county include Canton, Maggie Valley, Lake Junaluska, Clyde, Saunook, Hyatt Creek, Hazelwood, Hepco, Nellie, Jonathan Creek, Dellwood, Woodrow, Sunburst, Springdale, Cruso, Crabtree, Cove Creek, Mount Sterling, Fines Creek, Iron Duff, Panther Creek, Bethel, and Beaverdam.

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.


Settlement History

White 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.
The area's first gristmill was built in 1800. Haywood County was formed out of neighboring Buncombe County in 1809 and was named after the North Carolina state treasurer John Haywood.

The 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.
By the late 1800s, Waynesville had several churches, educational institutions and a health resort based on the curative waters available at the White Sulphur Springs Hotel.

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.

In 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 nearby community of Maggie Valley is named for one of the daughters of Jack Setzer, a mail carrier who in 1907 submitted the names of all three of his daughters to the postmaster general in an effort to create a new post office in the area. The United Methodists, who were deeply involved in the spread of Christianity in the region, established an assembly grounds on 1,200 acres around Lake Junaluska in 1913 and today Lake Junaluska is home to the World Methodist Assembly as well as national and international Methodists and interdenominational church conferences and retreats throughout the year.

Agriculture, Industry and Tourism

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

Music 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."
There's bluegrass music at the Maggie Valley Opry House nightly April through October. Every other Friday July 4th through August, downtown Waynesville closes off part of its Main Street to have square dancing and old-time music.

Annual 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.
-Michael Beadle

a project of the Haywood County Library System and
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