Cover from Brevard Board of Trade tourism brochure, circa 1912-1915.

Since the mid-1800s the mountains Western North Carolina have attracted those escaping the heat, humidity and disease of the lowlands of South Carolina and Georgia in the summer. During the winter the area offers respite from the harsh weather of northern cities.

When the railroad arrived in the late 1890s Transylvania County boomed as an ideal place to live, work and play. Seeing an opportunity, the Brevard Board of Trade and later the Chamber of Commerce promoted the town of Brevard and Transylvania County as “Nature’s Playground” and the gateway to the “Beautiful Sapphire Country.”

Folks flocked to the area, often staying several weeks or months at a time. Large hotels, including the Franklin and Aetholdwold in Brevard and Toxaway and Fairfield Inns in the Western part of the county were built to accommodate the tourists. There were also several small hotels in Brevard and Rosman.

The Brevard Club tourism brochure, circa 1912.

Tourism brochures dating from around 1907 through 1929 advertise all Transylvania County has to offer in the way of recreation, business, education, lodging, and amenities. These broch-ures identify approximately 70 boarding houses and private homes offering visitors a home-like atmosphere with fresh, wholesome meals in settings ranging from stately town homes to quiet country homes. Rates were reasonable, ranging from $5-10 per week and included meals.

Typically families would enroll their children in one of the local summer camps and then spend a leisurely season themselves playing tennis, golf or croquet; exploring the countryside on horseback or in motor cars; attending concerts, dances, card parties and afternoon teas.

The brochures and photographs of some of the boarding houses are currently on display on the second floor at the library. With the current emphasis on “branding” what Brevard and Transylvania County have to offer, it is interesting to look at the marketing of nearly 100 years ago.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the N.C. 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