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West Jefferson is located in the northwest corner of North Carolina, a land once known for its cherry orchards. In 1779, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, a hero of the Battle of King’s Mountain, received a grant for 320 acres in a mountain valley in return for his service during the Revolutionary War. In 1912, the Virginia-Carolina Railroad became interested in the area’s timber, farming, and mining resources and began building a railroad into Ashe County, ending at Todd. When the railroad came, the area was already populated by farms and businesses, as it was only two miles from the county seat of Jefferson. The North Carolina General Assembly chartered the town of West Jefferson in 1915, with boundaries extending one mile in each direction from the Virginia-Carolina Railroad depot. The railroad brought commercial growth, and the First National Bank of West Jefferson was opened in 1915 as well. West Jefferson showcases the expansion of this small town with a popular rail line to a tourist destination and retail center in the North Carolina mountains.
About the Author
The Ashe County Historical Society, a nonprofit organization, has used images from within its collection as well as those contributed by community members to highlight the rich history of this town. The society’s motto is “Preserving our past for your future.”
Table of Contents
1 The Birth of a New Town 9
2 Business and Trade 17
3 Churches and Schools 43
4 Friends, Neighbors, and Homes 63
5 West Jefferson Then and Now 109