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In 1792, when Transylvania County was part of Buncombe County, Lambert Clayton’s militia was ordered to lay out a road from the Catawba Trail in Flat Rock to the Davidson River. The Western half of this road ran through the Little River valley and became known as Crab Creek Road.

Although the course of the road has shifted here and there through the years, it still follows a similar route for much of the way along Kanuga and Crab Creek Roads. Today, traveling North on Crab Creek, you cross the French Broad River and end at the foot of Fodderstack Mountain where Crab Creek meets Highway 64.

The area from the river on up the eastern side of Fodderstack was owned by Evan Talley and later his descendants. It is in this area that the community of Penrose developed. In the early and mid 1900’s when the trains still stopped in Penrose, Talley’s Store was the hub of the community. The post office operated out of the store with Mrs. Ina Talley Rustin as postmistress.

Three generations of Talley’s farmed the land. Carl Talley had a saw mill. And for a short time Everett Talley ran a cheese factory. He won first prize at the state livestock show for cream cheese in 1918 just a few months after starting his cheese factory.

The Talleys also took in summer boarders at Carl Talley’s “Keep Cool Cabins” and Luther and Lou Talley’s “Talley-Ho” home.

And, on the south side of Fodderstack Mountain, there was the quarry. In Bud Talley’s memoir, “Where’s Penrose,” his reminiscences of growing up in Penrose in the 1940s and ’50s include descriptions of blasting times at the quarry when hunks of granite would crash down or even fly through air.

In 1956 the Department of Transportation re-routed Highway 64 from Brevard to the Henderson County Line. The “new” highway joined with Highway 280 (the Asheville Highway) to the intersection near the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest. It then continued southeast for about 3 ½ miles, North of the old highway through Penrose and Blantyre to the county line.

E.J. Whitmire set up a portable crushing plant at the quarry to provide the rock for the new highway. Once the highway was completed, Whitmire saw the continued need for stone and the Penrose Quarry grew from there. Whitmire, and later his son, ran the quarry until 2006 when Vulcan Materials Company leased it from Steve Whitmire.

Today Penrose is home to the quarry, a gas station/convenience store, the post office and Carolina Mountain Credit Union, as well as the nearby Transylvania Community Airport and Anchor Baptist School, Church and Ministries (formerly Penrose School).

First Photo: Shuford’s bridge crossed the French Broad near Penrose. It was the only covered bridge in Transylvania County. 

Second Photo: During heavy rains a waterfall is created at the quarry. (Photo courtesy of a Transylvania County Library patron.)

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions, contact Marcy at [email protected] or (828) 884-3151 ext. 242.)

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712