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Railroad depot in Brevard.

In 1894 the
railroad arrived in Brevard bringing with it a new era.  Branson’s Business Directory lists the
population of Brevard as 350 in 1890, by 1896 it was 500.  According to the U.S. Federal Census the
population of Brevard jumped from 327 to 584 between 1890 and 1900, an increase
of 78.6%.

Transylvania Pioneer, Brevard’s first newspaper, had started on
July 22, 1887.  It was in business less
than a year.  Other short-lived newspapers followed but The Sylvan Valley News was the first
long running paper.  Begun in November
1895, The Sylvan Valley News operated for more than 20 years and is a
good source for local news of the early 20th century.

West Main Street, early 1900s. 

Davis-Walker Drug Company on left, McMinn Building on right.

Nathan McMinn
built the first brick commercial building on the northwest corner of the town
square in 1899.  Earlier that same year
McMinn had organized the Brevard Banking Company.  It moved into the front of the new building
when completed.  The McMinn Building,
currently home of Number 7 Arts, remains a cornerstone of downtown

Across the street
on the southwest corner a two-story brick commercial building was occupied by
the Davis-Walker Drug Company.  It was
later Davis-Long Drug and then just Long Drug Store.  Today it is the home of O.P. Taylor’s.

On the southeast
corner of the town square John McMinn, son of Nathan, build the Aethelwold
Hotel.  The first floor housed the hotel
lobby and various businesses.  In August
1903 Brevard Banking moved into the Aethelwold building where it remained until
March 1925.

The town square
now had prominent brick buildings on all four corners.  Soon other brick businesses lined West Main
and South Broad streets.  Others would
follow on East Main, Caldwell, Jordan, and Gaston streets as the town expanded.

In 1907 the
Brevard Post Office moved into the new Fraternity Building on South Broad next
door to the Sylvan Valley News.  The
little village was now a bustling town with a bank, hotel, newspaper, a central
post office, and numerous businesses around the town square and courthouse. 

Over the next several
week’s Picturing the Past will continue the story of Brevard’s development
through the years. 

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 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712