The Transylvania Times -

Picturing The Past: Pennsylvania Businessmen Created Toxaway Co.


July 10, 2017

Courtesy photo

A bus waits for passengers on Broad Street beside Macfie Drug Store.

One of the larger document collections in the Rowell Bosse North Caro-lina Room at the Transylva-nia County Library consists of Toxaway Company land records.

In the late 1800s, northern investors saw opportunities to purchase land for mining, timber and development in Western North Carolina. A group of prosperous Pennsylvania businessmen created the Toxaway Company to buy thousands of acres in the Sapphire Valley region of Transylvania and Jackson counties. The company title was granted on Jan. 4, 1896.

They quickly saw that the true value of the property was in creating luxurious mountain resorts for the wealthy tourists drawn to the area for its pure air and water, mild climate, scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures. In 1896, they built the Fairfield Inn on Fairfield Lake. A year later they constructed Sapphire Inn. Both inns were built on lakes on property purchased from the Sapphire Valley Mining Company.

In 1902, an agreement was made by the Toxaway Company for development in the Toxaway River Basin. The plan included timber manufacturing, mining large deposits of corundum, and constructing a man-made lake and modern hotel. The five-story Toxaway Inn opened on Lake Toxaway in August 1903.

The Toxaway Company Land Records Collection consists of legal documents related to land acquisition and efforts to verify land ownership; so the Toxaway Company could purchase property. Documents include land grants, deeds and supporting documentation from at least 73 families, Fairfield Mining, Sapphire Valley Mining Company, and the Western North Carolina Mining and Improvement Company. There are also numerous correspondences and information on court cases. The earliest material dates to George Lattimer's 1796 land grant from the State of North Carolina.

Courtesy photo

WWII draftees waiting to board a bus.

"Ticket to Toxaway" by Jan Plemmons provides additional information on the Toxaway Company and the development of the Lake Toxaway area.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Lib-rary. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about local history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy Thompson at [email protected] or (828) 884-1820.)


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