January 1st marks the 89th anniversary of the
official opening, in 1932, of the highway connecting Brevard and Greenville.
Then known as highway 284 in North Carolina (now U.S. Route 276, the southern
portion of which is also known as the Greenville highway), the new connection
added approximately 50 miles to the existing road, and linked Brevard to the
then-new South Carolina highway at the state line. Brevard and Greenville were
finally joined by a modern road.

Postcard of section of unpaved highway to
Greenville, S.C. Undated

If you’ve ever traveled on the southbound 276 to
Greenville, you will probably agree that even though 89 years may have passed,
the highway is still “a remarkably fine piece of engineering construction
throughout, and evidences unusual road building skill, particularly in the
manner in which it negotiates the difficult curves and grades necessary to an
ascent to the Head [Caesar’s Head]” (The Greenville News, January 2, 1932).

The achievement was greatly appreciated by all
in 1932, as residents of both Transylvania and Greenville counties rejoiced at
the fact that a trip that once “called for an all-day journey and far into the
night” could now be made in a little over one hour’s time. Transylvania farmers
and truckers were very happy, since they now had two good markets at which to
sell their goods, both within a short distance of home. The development was
also hailed by members of the Brevard and Greenville Chambers of Commerce;
these local business leaders were quite excited at the prospect of greatly
increased economic activity between the two areas, particularly tourism.
Indeed, the new stretch of highway now made it much easier for Transylvanians
to go shopping in Greenville’s larger stores, and in general to enjoy the
varied cultural offerings of a city considerably larger than Brevard. For their
part, Greenvillians could more easily access our beautiful mountains. In the
sultry summer months, Greenvillians could now quickly escape the oppressive
heat of the city and enjoy the much cooler temperatures just an hour away.

To celebrate the opening of the new road, a
splendid party was held on New Year’s Day 1932 at Caesar’s Head Hotel, the
midpoint between the two towns. Organized jointly by the two Chambers of
Commerce, the noontime gathering featured an “old fashioned turkey dinner” with
“all the trimmings” for 200 people.

By all accounts, the party was a huge success;
it was well attended by notables and residents from both towns, and the
gathering was generally seen at the time as a pivotal moment in the region’s
history. All the local Brevard and Greenville newspapers covered the event, all
of them very favorably. The following account, published in The Greenville
News, perhaps best sums up the spirit of the occasion: “Fog and lowering
clouds, together with chilly weather, made driving conditions unpleasant, but
the disagreeable conditions were forgotten before the glowing fire in the lobby
of the hotel and in the dining room, which was heated for the occasion. A
spirit of friendship marked the event, many new acquaintances between residents
at the two cities being made and old friendships renewed.” And that spirit of
friendship between the two cities can still be felt today. 

Photographs and information for
this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania
County Library. This article was written by Anne-Monique Ransdell. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room
staff at 
[email protected]
 or 828-884-1820.

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212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712