Old Fort History

Mountain Culture

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Davidson's Fort built in 1775 to protect settlers from the Cherokee!

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Old Fort train depot in the center of town next to the arrowhead.

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Re-enactors staging fights outside of the fort.

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A proud history since the 1700's

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Davidson's Fort

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Old Fort History

A Revolutionary War History

Just over the railroad tracks in Old Fort, N.C., is the town square defined by a 30 foot tall arrowhead hand chiseled in granite' The landmark was unveiled to a crowd of more than 6,000 people on  July 27 1930 by Marie Nesbitt  as a symbol of the peace achieved in an earlier century between pioneers and Native Americans. Travelers may go to this town expecting to see remnants of an old fort. The name suggests a fort once stood here at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place where some of the earliest settlers and pioneers took refuge.

The first Spanish explorer probably arrived in the 1500s, followed in the early 1700s by pioneers who established a fort. By the mid 1700s, the settlement around the stockade had become the westernmost outpost of Colonial civilization. George Davidson owned old Fort Plantation the area where the fort stood. By 1869, the railroad reached as far as the Old Fort Plantation and a hotel and depot were built. In 1871 a wealthy union soldier Sanborn Worthen bought the Old Fort Plantation hoping the railroad would build the yards there and make him rich. He named the 2200-acre plantation Catawba Ville. But as fortune would have it the railroad yards were built 100 miles to the east and he lost his investment. The State General Assembly changed the town's name to Old Fort shortly afterwards.

In 1875 work continued on the railroad to extend it to Asheville, and in March 1879 the rail entered Buncombe County through the Swannanoa Tunnel. The busy little town of Old Fort became the home of a resort hotel and a geyser, a manmade tourist attraction powered by a nearby spring. The hotel, built in 1879 a little too close to the railroad, burned in 1903. A few years later in 1911, a wealthy New Yorker rescued the geyser, he bought the land around it, moved it across the street, redesigned it and named it in honor of Col. A.B. Andrews, an engineer and the first president of the Western North Carolina Railroad. Today, the geyser is in the middle of a five-sided concrete pool and belongs to the town. The large green space around it offers shade and tables for picnicking.


Civil War History

US-70 Civil War Trails

44. CARSON HOUSE, McDOWELL COUNTY

Trails sign on US 70, a half mile west of Marion town limits – An element

of Union Gen. George Stoneman's cavalry raiders skirmished briefly with

home guards here April 19, 1865; then "were swarming in and around

the house." After plundering the home and scaring the family, Stoneman

moved on toward Asheville.

45. SWANNANOA GAP, McDOWELL COUNTY

Trails sign in Andrews Geyser Park on Mill Creek Road off Old US

Highway 70, 4 miles west of the Old Fort Visitor Center and Railroad

Museum – Confederates consolidated here April 19, 1865, after Union

raiders left the Carson House and easily turned back the Northern

advance.

FLOODS RAVAGE THE AREA

 

 

 

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