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Region: Mountains

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Joara Encyclopedia

During the late-sixteenth century, Joara was the most dominant, and possibly the largest, town in what is now modern-day Piedmont and western North Carolina.  Located in Burke County, twelve miles north of Morganton, on Upper Creek, Joara was, according to historians, “the northeastern edge of the Mississippian cultural world.” Its economic and political prominence and its location prompted Spanish explorer Juan Pardo to construct Fort San Juan near the Indian town.

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Judaculla Rock Encyclopedia

Sacred to the Cherokee, Judaculla Rock has long remained a tourist attraction, but also a mystery to archeologists and geologists. Located in Jackson County, the large soapstone exhibits intricate carvings that Cherokee believe were imprinted by the god of all Game Animals, Judaculla or Tsu’kalu. Yet, historians and archeologists have proposed different theories regarding the rock’s meaning.

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Lenoir-Rhyne University Encyclopedia

Located in Hickory, North Carolina, Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 as Highland Academy by four Lutheran ministers. Since its inception the school has grown to a student body of 1,900 students, and Lenoir-Rhyne continues its affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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Macon County (1828) Encyclopedia

A place of natural beauty and allure, Macon County is an attractive destination for naturalists and gem enthusiasts.  At one time, it was home to the Middle Cherokee. The towns of Cowee and Nikwasi were once important communities for Native Americans, and the Nikwasi Indian Mound remains in the county. Established in 1828, Macon County’s seat of government is Franklin, and the Nantahala National Forest remains the county’s most intricate natural resource.

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Madison County (1851) Encyclopedia

Madison County is located in North Carolina’s mountains along the Tennessee border. It was formed in 1851 out of Buncombe and Yancey Counties, and was named for President James Madison.  Marshall, the county seat, was incorporated in 1863.

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McDowell County (1842) Encyclopedia

Annexed from the Rutherford and Burke counties, McDowell County rests in the mountains of North Carolina. Once the gold producing center during the North Carolina gold rush, McDowell has various historic and cultural attractions throughout its forest-covered land. The Arrowhead Monument, the Carson House, and Andrew Geyser are visited annually by tourists from around the state.

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Gertrude D. McKee (1885 1948) Encyclopedia

A native of Jackson County, North Carolina, Gertrude D. McKee became the first woman to serve in the North Carolina Senate.  Her terms were from 1931-33, 1937-39, and 1943-44.  She was known as a “pioneer of welfare programs” in North Carolina that served as models for other Southern states. 

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Mitchell County (1861) Encyclopedia

Home to the prominent crafts school, the Penland School of Crafts, Mitchell County holds an important place in North Carolina mountain culture. The county was established in 1861, and its county seat is Bakersville. Mitchell County has long remained a source of over fifty precious metals and other minerals.

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Mount Mitchell Encyclopedia

The tallest peak in the eastern seaboard of the United States, Mount Mitchell towers the Black Mountain Range of North Carolina at a height of 6,684 feet. Mt. Mitchell was once inhabited by the Cherokee, but it was not until the 1830s that Mt. Mitchell was shown to be the tallest mountain in North Carolina. Its discoverer, Professor Elisha Mitchell, passed away while attempting to prove the mountain was the tallest in the state in 1857.

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Moyano's Foray (1567) Encyclopedia

The snowy winter of 1566-1567 temporarily stopped Juan Pardo’s exploration of modern-day Piedmont and western North Carolina, so he and his Spanish force built Fort San Juan near the Indian town Joara (near present-day Morganton).  When the weather permitted, Pardo continued his expedition.  But he garrisoned the fort with between twenty to thirty men under the direction of Sergeant Hernando Moyano, whose interest in locating minerals and gold more than likely prompted the only attack against Indians during the Pardo Expeditions.

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Lee S. Overman (1854 - 1930) Encyclopedia

The first popularly elected Senator of North Carolina, Lee S. Overman served in the U.S. Senate for almost thirty years. Overman, born in Salisbury, graduated from Trinity College in 1874, and later served as secretary to both Governor Vance and Jarvis. Elected to the Senate in 1903, Overman remained an ardent Democrat, supporting President Wilson during the height of World War I and supporting the creation of the Department of Labor.

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William Dudley Pelley (1885-1965) Encyclopedia

William Dudley Pelley (1885-1965) was a notorious American fascist who lived for a decade in Asheville, North Carolina. As leader of the Silver Shirts, Pelley preached a toxic brew of anti-Semitism, nationalism, and mysticism.

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Penland School of Crafts Encyclopedia

Located in Mitchell County, the Penland School of Crafts has long been heralded as a haven for young craftsmen and women from around the world. Since its inception in the late 1920s, Penland has offered courses ranging from weaving to glassworking to silversmithing. Today, 1,200 people attend the school annually, and a vibrant, local crafts culture surrounds the school.

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Pilot Mountain Encyclopedia

Known as Jomeokee, “Great Guide” or “Pilot,” to the Saura who once inhabited the region, Pilot Mountain remains a towering landmark in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Northern settlers used the mountain as a guide on their journey down the Great Wagon Road. In 1968, Pilot Mountain became the fourteenth state park of North Carolina.

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Pisgah National Forest Encyclopedia

Founded in 1915, the 500,000 acre Pisgah National Forest covers over 15 counties, and its roots originate at the construction of the Biltmore Estate. Carl A. Schench, selected by George Vanderbilt, founded the nation’s first forestry school in the region, but the school failed to stay open. Vanderbilt’s widowed wife sold the present Pisgah forest to the national government in 1915, making Pisgah the oldest national forest in North Carolina.

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