Little Switzerland is located in Mitchell and McDowell Counties in Western North Carolina just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The elevation is around 3,200 feet.
The immediate area was settled in 1909 and Little Switzerland was founded in 1909. In 1927 the first Post Office was built.
As an avid urban explorer and back roads traveler often times I come across buildings and signs that appear to be much older than they really are. Until last weekend I honestly hadnt explored Asheville or the area beyond driving through the town on interstate 40 and Interstate 26. When I came across this building with the perfectly visible ghost sign of Blueridge Savings Bank I just knew I had found a gem with all kinds of neat history and stories to share. Boy was I wrong. In fact, the Blue Ridge Savings Bank wasnt even much older than myself. The bank itself is located in the Jackson Building, the first skyscraper built in Western North Carolina. The 140 foot, 15 story building was completed in 1924.
In 1978, a group of more than 50 stockholders opened Blue Ridge Savings and Loan on Smoky Park Highway, the present location of the West Asheville Branch office. These stockholders were a diverse group of local business owners, merchants, farmers, developers, and others who took pride in encouraging savings.
In October 2011 the bank became the 78th bank to fail as a result of the great recession and financial crisis of 2008. At the time of closing by the state of North Carolina regulators the bank had 10 branches. All of these branches reopened as Bank of North Carolina except for the main office pictured above.
Lover’s Leap is located about 10 miles west of Stuart Virginia in Patrick County on US 58.
I never realized how many Lover’s Leaps there are in the United States until I started writing this blog. I counted at least 27 just that I found alone in the few minutes I was researching and trying to find the one located in Patrick County.
The original story, shared with lots of places known by the same name, has been lost over time. There is a version that tells of two young Indians that were forbidden to marry because they were from warring tribes who leaped together to their deaths. Another version tells of a settler and an Indian maiden, separated by prejudices, and still another claims that the doomed couple were from feuding mountain families.
Regardless of the legend…..the view is spectacular and one of the best in the entire area, albeit, US 58 is as crooked as a cats hind leg, winding and curving its way up to Lovers Leap between Stuart and Meadows of Dan.