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What a great community meeting we had Monday evening at the Cedar Mountain Community Center. The center was packed for this very special fact-filled program called “Where Are We Now?". Four strong individuals spent many months, following Transylvania County’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, traveling the original road running from the state line all the way to Brevard. The four were Charles Burden, Patty Stahl, Doug Pace and Brenda Wiley. Brenda brought her GPS along and with several great old renderings from the DOT the four traversed what was called the old Johnstone Turnpike. The main road now, Hwy. 276 (Greenville Hwy.), which was built between 1925 – 1930 runs parallel at times, and at times overlaps, though the original road followed where the creeks wouldn't flood and the terrain was easier for animals then early settlers. Animal tracks were of bison, elk, deer, bear, bob cats and cougars in the early days.

Charles Burden began the program talking about these facts, and explained that a "turnpike" was a toll road, whereas a fee was charged when one used the road and in return was assured the road would be kept operational. "Turnpikes were avenues of commerce" Charles stated, and so very important for trade, travel and communication. Many fabulous photos were hung on the walls of the community center showing where the Johnstone Turnpike was in relation to where Hwy. 276 is now. In introducing speaker Patty Stahl, Charles said that Patty has everything possible electronically and in notes about their collective exploration of the old Johnstone Turnpike. "She may have to add a room or two to her house to store everything!" And so Patty begins:

From the Cedar Mountain Community Center go about 1-1/2 miles to the NC/SC state line on Hwy. 276. Then about 200 yards further to Jones Gap pivot and head back toward Cedar Mountain.. This is where their story begins. Johnstone Turnpike first crosses the old O. P. Mills house (built in 1885) as a slide presentation showed the old house along with a caretakers house also built by the Mills (caretakers were the McCrary's) which was on the same property. The O. P. Mills house is still standing! These houses were built close to the road, and many owners grew corn beside the road to sell to the "drover's" who would lead their livestock through the area. There were not as many trees then, as there was more farming. Plus, when a house was deserted instead of leaving it to stand it was usually taken apart and the wood used on another's house.

Now the turnpike crosses over to where the "Line House" still stands. This house is built half in North Carolina and half in South Carolina, hence the name. The story goes that Wiley Bishop built this house. He was a Magistrate and would marry folks at his house, either in SC or NC as they preferred. Bishop was also a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

This house still stands where the current Solomon Jones Road starts, which goes to Camp Greenville and the popular "Pretty Place" Symmes Chapel. However, this was not the access to Solomon Jones Road then. Instead you would travel on the Johnstone Turnpike to where the Black Forest Campground entrance is now, where another turnpike ("Green River Turnpike") veered off to the right, which took you to Solomon Jones Road. In this same area was "Camp Comfort" for girls, in the 1920's, and a photo was shown of this camp, along with a photo of a nearby spring house

Hwy. 276 where it was said the "Girls of Home Demonstration"(1920's)operated a Tea House. There is a big loop that wanders away from the current highway, which traveled behind where the old fire department which turns and crosses back over where Dennis Bishop now lives, then on to the old Caper's Chapel. Reverend Caper preached at Rocky Hill Baptist Church and others in our area but was encouraged to build this chapel for their little colony of folks. Replacing the Caper's Chapel the Faith Memorial Chapel was formed, reportedly using some of the same materials from the Caper Chapel. Faith Memorial Chapel is an open-sided chapel on Stones Lake Road, and is currently open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

There is so much history that couldn't be covered in one night, along with so many great old photos! Crossing Little Creek, now at Haskell Jones Road, Patty showed a photo of the old "Woodsmen of the World" house now belonging to Joe and Jane Vanhook. Beside their house was a store, built by Judge Bishop, which also was at times a post office, a home and a "haunted house" as some say.

Across the road from Judge Bishop's house was a grand hotel called The DeGower Hotel, which boasted of having one of the "finest ball rooms around"! A great photo was shown of the DeGower Hotel which included local folks, workers and visitors. Rates for visitors were $1.50/night or $9.00 week, and half price for kids and servants. The DeGower Hotel was built in 1884-85 but burned down in 1891.

Now the Johnstone Turnpike crosses over and goes behind Hi-Bunyun store, which was not built yet, then in front of the Rocky Hill Baptist Church, which was first built in 1875, then later in 1896. A side road went up from the turnpike to the old Cedar Mountain School, built in 1914; torn down in the mid 1940's. This school was located on a hill above Rocky Hill Baptist church. A great photo was shown of a spring house, across from Rocky Hill church and used by the church, and also used by the DeGower Hotel.

Now we come to the Little River Bridge, which was re-routed prior to Hwy. 276 being built. We are now just past the Giving Tree Cabinet shop, near the current Cedar Mountain Fire Department. A photo was shown of the old Cedar Mountain Bridge dated 1921 which crossed the river and photos of several baptisms being held in this area were shown as well. "Tolls were collected here." Patty stated Howard Kisemore lives on this land now, the first house on the right of Reasonover Road.

The Johnstone Turnpike ran behind the Cedar Mountain Cafe and our community center, both of which were not yet built. And so we stop for now. There is much more to come and another segment will be covered in a few months, the date reported right here in your Cedar Mountain News column! You won't want to miss it!

So this evening we only got as far as the Cedar Mountain Community Center. Many thanks to Charles, Patty, Doug and Brenda for preserving our rich heritage and their many long and sometimes strenuous work in gathering this important piece of history; and where we are now!

BLOOD DRIVE THIS SATURDAY The Cedar Mountain Fire Department and the Red Cross will have a Blood Drive this Saturday June 18th at the fire department, from 8:30am to 12:30pm. Please, come give your blood; after all we do live in Transylvania!


Bring the family to sing some cheery, simple ditties for Dad’s day at historic (1872) McGaha Chapel. Sing 100 year old songs about work, love, traveling, and heartbreak, but you know, happy heartbreak. T’would be a pity to let these old favorites disappear. Come to McGaha Chapel in Cedar Mountain at 2 p.m. sharp on Sunday afternoon, June 19th, and sing for 45 minutes, and then enjoy some freshly sliced watermelon outside the Chapel.

The Chapel is along U.S. 276 South across from Sherwood Forest’s north entrance. Signs will mark the spot. Shuttle service is available from parking to Chapel. Sponsored by the Greater Cedar Mountain Community and the Transylvania County Historical Society. Questions? Contact Charles Burden, 884-8728.


Help support the homeless in our community Saturday June 25th from 11 am – 2pm.

Cedar Mountain House (assisted living) is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Haven of Transylvania County. They will be serving two meal options for $7.00 each with $5.00 going to support the Haven. Meals will be a choice of homemade lasagna with Caesar salad, garlic bread and a brownie or you can have Swedish meatballs in a mushroom sauce with creamed spinach, brown rice and cheesecake.

Please call Holly Long at 828-884-9510 by Wednesday June 22nd to reserve your meals.

Cedar Mountain House is located at 11 Sherwood Ridge Road at the intersection of Greenville Hwy (276) and Sherwood Ridge Road.

COMMUNITY TALENT SHOW JULY 11TH Call Christine Pace quickly to have your talent placed on the schedule for the monthly Cedar Mountain Community Center program on Monday July 11th. This annual talent show showcases our local talents and produces an evening of fun and laughter! As we get nearer the date I will announce herein the variety of talent you can expect to see and hear.

Plan to bring your neighbors and/or family and a covered-dish to share. Being well fed before the” show" makes for great belly laughs! Call me at (828)885-2103 or email at I promise NOT to play my harmonica this year if we get over a dozen performers!


June 13th - Low Gross, front 9 - Georgia Osterc - 35; Low Net - Joan Gerardi - 25


HAPPY FATHER'S DAY THIS SUNDAY! I want to wish all fathers a very Happy Father's Day this coming Sunday, June 19th. Megan Bishop Raines is going to be adding a second child to their family soon so her hubby Shawn will get cards from his daughter Sara (age 3+) and his yet-to-be-born son Jackson in 2017. Megan will be attending her baby shower this Saturday for Jackson. Lenoir Bishop of the singing "Bishop Brother's" and choir leader at Rocky Hill Baptist Church is the proud grandpa. My father has long passed but was more special to me in his later years than ever. Still, I am married to a great father (Joe), and know so many others that will be celebrated this Sunday!


I was really proud that my 47 year old freezer was still working perfectly. I retired it last fall and got quite a surprise phone call from Duke Power the other day. I pay a monthly fee and was thrilled to learn that my bill was going down by $43.00 per a month. That old freezer was costing me a bundle.

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