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The Burnsville Town Center Photo Quilt
The Reason We Live in Yancey County


Town Center Quilt main

Summer

Fall

History

Winter

Spring

Making of
History

The history section contains 219 pictures. The July 4 wagon train, the Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair, Old Timey Days celebration, the Farmerís Market, and many of the businesses of our community are included in this section. The black and white historical photos are in the shape of Yancey County and include our founding fathers and mothers and others who played a significant role in our county: Bartlett Yancey, Otway Burns, Brigadier-General John McElroy, and big Tom Wilson, among others. The Mt. Mitchell tower is included, and is rapidly becoming history as it is torn down and replaced with a lower one. 

Children can find many animals in the history section, including cows, sheep, a goat, salamander, llama, horses, deer, a groundhog, bears, a hog, tadpoles, and a snake. Also found in the history section are ginseng, galax, tobacco and the Cane river which runs across the bottom of the quilt. Tobacco processing, including planting, cutting and hanging is also depicted. Many historic structures are included: the restored Buck house, the McPeters Mansion on Possum Trot, the Nu Wray Inn, the old craft school at Higgins, the Yancey County Courthouse (now the Town Hall) the McElroy house (now the Rush Wray Museum of Yancey History), and Ogle Meadow Inn. There are many more in the quilt. 

Some of the trains that appear were used as passenger trains, and others to haul logs out of the mountains. Lumbering was a major source of income for a lot of the county. Massive American Chestnuts, known as the redwoods of the east, used to blanket our mountains. When they bloomed in the spring, the mountains appeared to be covered with snow. Tragically, a blight killed all the mature chestnuts in the 1930s. However, in the ever-resourceful spirit of Yancey County, Yancey families were still able to profit by salvaging the downed trees for their prized lumber. 

What is not found in the quilt are photos of todayís churches. I left them out intentionally because there was no way I could include them all and I didnít want anyone to feel that I was somehow favoring one over another. I did include historical photos of churches, as they play a huge part in our community and many baptisms have taken place in our rivers. Some of our original schools were church-sponsored. 

The W.P.A.-constructed schools are included in the quilt - Bee Log, Clearmont, Micaville and Bald Creek. Also included is Mountain Heritage High School and the new Yancey Campus of Mayland Community College.

Some of our famous residents, and not-so-famous, but significant, residents can be found in the quilt - Lili Kraus, world famous concert pianist, lived here with her daughter, Ruth Pope and served as honorary chair for Music in the Mountains. David Boone, whose famous family and personal reputation for fine woodcarving brings honor to the county can be seen in this section. Joe Hollis, whose knowledge of medicinal native and Chinese plants is legend, can also be seen here. You will find others you may recognize. I am sure I have left out many who deserve to be in the quilt and while making the quilt I would suddenly think of something or someone else who should be in the quilt and race to find the pictures needed and get them printed and search for a place to tuck them into the quilt. My apologies to all for not including everyone and everything that each would have me include. I am sure I will be embarrassed to death when I learn of yet someone else I have left out. I finally just had to stop.

I couldnít resist including a few of the entertaining roadsigns found in the county and wish I could have included a lot more. But perhaps the few that are here will encourage visitors who see them to start looking at other roadsigns in the county. I especially wanted to photograph Snake Bite Holler but never had my camera with me when I was passing it, or it was raining, or I couldnít stop.

The weather is changing noticeably now and the trees and fruit bearing canes are blooming earlier and earlier as winter is fading sooner. Somewhere in the quilt though, is a picture of the mountain slopes in the late spring of 2005. That was the year we had a late frost that killed all the fruit crops and browned the leaves on all the tulip poplars and other hardwoods which had leafed out early. Spring that year was a disturbing brown and it took the trees a long time to recover. 

The industrial looking spinning machinery is from the Burnsville Sock Factory, one of our countyís best kept secrets.

I would have liked to have included a lot more barns, and someday I hope to make a barn quilt so I can do just that. We have some mighty fine barns in this county, a testament to the industriousness of our citizens.

The mountain seen across the top of the History section is Bald Mountain with spring snow on it, seen from McKinney Gap.

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website and images copyright 2006 Barbara Webster. All rights reserved.
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No reproduction, in any form, may be used without the prior written consent of Barbara Webster.
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