By Marcy Thompson
Picturing The Past 

Tannery, Camp Opened In Early 1900s


January 23, 2017

Stone fireplace in the original lodge at Eagle's Nest Camp.

A look back at the headlines of yesteryear offers a glimpses at what was occurring in Transylvania County 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 years ago. This week Picturing the Past will focus on one news story from each of the years of 1917, 1927, and 1937.

In 1917 Joseph Silversteen opened Transylvania Tanning in Brevard. The population of Brevard was expected to nearly double due to the demand for skilled labor in operating the plant. Up to 150 men were employed just to construct the complex of buildings. The main building was a 2-story structure measuring 750 x 70 feet. It could house seven hundred 4,000 gallon vats on the main floor. It was noted that there was a need for additional housing for the workforce at Silversteen's industries in both Brevard and Rosman.

1927 saw the addition of another summer camp in Transylvania County. Eagles Nest Camp for Girls relocated to Brevard after five years in Waynesville. The camp was owned and operated by Miss Carol Oppenheimer. Located on 40 acres bordering the Little River, the camp included a swimming lake, clay tennis courts, and Hiking and riding trails. R.H. Morrow supervised construction. Buildings included a recreation hall and a dining hall surrounded by cabins within the natural setting. Eagles Nest Camp accepted girls from 5 to 15 years-old. The camp filled a need for younger campers and those who were less physically active.

In 1937 the National Youth Administration, part of Roosevelt's New Deal focusing on work and education for 16 to 25-year-olds, constructed a training and recreational building on school property on Broad St. in Brevard. The cross shaped building was 60 feet long in one direction and 70 feet long in the other and was a total of 2,600 square feet. It included an auditorium, a shop for boys, and a home economics room for girls. From the beginning the plan was to turn the building over to the school system when the NYA was discontinued.

(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] org or (828) 884-3151 ext. 242.)

The NYA building beside Brevard High was constructed of logs.


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