For this week’s Picturing the Past we are looking back at what was being reported after the New Year in Transylvania County across a few different decades.
The big news 100 years ago in the Brevard News was that the Brevard Cotton Mill was purchased by W.H. Gray from Asheville for $100,000. Gray announced his intent to double the yarn factory’s capacity from 5,000 to 10,000 spindles. Within just two years Gray stepped away from the endeavor and sold it to Henry Erwin, who reopened it as the Sapphire Cotton Mill. Also on New Year’s Day in 1923, Justice Miner passed away. Originally from Ohio, Miner moved to Transylvania County after fighting in the Civil War. He started the county’s first weekly newspaper, The Sylvan Valley News, sometime before 1900 (there is only one known surviving copy from 1900). Miner was described as “a forceful and fearless writer, who expressed his views on all public matters freely and candidly, and without fear or favor, always doing what he thought was for the best interest of Transylvania County.”
Ninety years ago, the Transylvania Times reported there was a wolf roaming along the French Broad River valley. This caused quite a bit of excitement, and soon a posse of around 25 armed men “all with the intent of slaying the daring animal that had attempted to molest the quiet and peace of Brevardites.” Some people doubted the claim, suggesting the wolf was nothing more than a lost collie. Deputy Sheriff Kilpatrick told reporters he had shot “at” the wolf five times, but he was positive in his identification. The wolf was sighted several times in the coming weeks and was finally killed in early February. A US Biological Survey biologist was dispatched to examine the dead animal and declared it was “just a dog.”
Seventy years ago, the Echo Inn Cloggers, the national square-dancing champions, performed two televised shows in Washington DC. The Echo Inn Cloggers formed in 1950 (sponsored by the owner of the Echo Inn) and won the 1951 and 1952 Apple Festival trophies as well as several regional trophies, and they went on to win the national championship in September of 1952. They would go on to perform on the Jimmy Dean Show as well as the Grand Ole Opry.
Fifty years ago, TVA issued a prediction that Transylvania County’s population would more than double by 2020, growing from the 19,713 recorded during the 1970 census to 46,000. This turned out to be wishful thinking on TVA’s part, as our population according to the 2020 census was just under 33,000. Quite a few two- and three-bedroom homes were advertised for under $30,000, and larger tracts of land went for on average around $1,000 per acre. Finally, it was reported that (future County Commissioner) Larry Chapman had received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps shortly before Christmas.
Happy New Year from the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room at the Transylvania County Library!
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Associate Hale Durant. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.