May 19, 2019
By far, the best birthday present I’ve ever had was a week-long trip to western North Carolina in the month of May. The skies were blue, the mountains were green and the sun was warm (and golden yellow).
We’ll start in the town of Sylva (population 2,000 or so), county seat of Jackson County, North Carolina, named for President Andrew Jackson.
Nestled in a deep Appalachian valley, Sylva has two parallel main streets, an upper one and a lower one. The upper main street, actually called Main Street, holds a number of shops, cafes and galleries. The lower main street, called Mill Street, seems like its storefronts are actually the back doors of the stores on the upper main street.
The old Jackson County Courthouse rises above the west end of Main Street, high up on a hill, towering over the town below.
A statue of a Confederate soldier stands watch at the summit of some thirty or forty concrete steps rising above Main Street. In all my travels this is one of the best locations for a courthouse I’ve ever seen.
As you might imagine, the view from the top of the steps is spectacular.
Just makes you want to sit for a spell, doesn’t it?
Old Confederate statues generally honor the soldiers who served in that war while being silent of the war’s causes. As a born and bred Pennsylvanian I have no problem with such monuments, they are an important part of our history. If you want to tear them down I suggest you instead erect your own memorial as you deem appropriate — and leave others’ memories alone.
The new county Justice Center and Administration Building is a mile out of town. It must have been cramped in that old courthouse since the new one the county built is a sprawling two-story structure with plenty of parking spaces around it.
Western Carolina University is located here in Sylva. I suppose it could be called “Western North Carolina University” but since North Carolina is larger and more populous than South Carolina, the North Carolinians apparently feel free to usurp the singular “Carolina” to use in their names. I copied that style for the title of this post.
Because that trip was just so memorable, I decided to added a few photos from the western Carolina mountains and countryside.
As if Great Smoky Mountains National Park didn’t have enough natural beauty, western Carolina is home to numerous waterfalls outside the park. Looking Glass Falls are one of the most photogenic of these cascades:
Here are two closeup shots from the base of the falls:
A convention of Monarch butterflies congregate near the base of the falls:
All photos taken by the author. Photos were taken between May 19-23, 2008.
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.