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.
Fines Creek is one of the first communities you come across when you cross into Haywood County, North Carolina coming from Tennessee.
In 1926 Fines Creek Township and a portion of White Oak were consolidated into a special school-taxing district. The new district gave pupils access to one of the five standard high schools in Haywood County. Districts were numbered without regard to Townships. At the same time a bond issue of $30,000.00 was voted to erect a high school in Fines Creek. It was opened in the fall of 1926.
In 1947 Mark M, Ferguson replaced Norman James and Jim McElroy replaced Herman Holder on the committee. At that time, the enrollment was 496. Of those students 114 were high school and 381 were elementary students.
There were 19 classrooms including the library, The faculty was composed of 15 teachers, ten of whom had finished high school at Fines Creek in the last ten years, graduated from college, and then came back to teach at Fines Creek.
Fines Creek High School survived until 1966 when the high school was taken to Tuscola at Lake Junaluska.
One grade at a time classes were taken to Waynesville Middle School until there were only four grades left in 1994.
A new elementary school in Crabtree serving Crabtree, Iron Duff, Fines Creek, Panther Creek and White Oak was completed.
At that time the four remaining grades in Fines Creek were moved.
The Fines Creek community now has a twenty-year lease from the Haywood County commissioners on the two school buildings and the cafeteria
When I started planning my trip to Charlotte and Greensboro a few weeks ago, naturally I started searching for abandoned or closed school buildings. I was successful in finding a few. My favorite of them all has to be the old Beaverdam School located in Canton, North Carolina.
The building was built in the early 1930s during the WPA era.
I found a couple of sources that list the closing date as 1985, but that cant be confirmed for sure. Judging by the condition of the building I would say that is a good estimate though.
It appears that the school probably recieved a substantial addition in probably the 1950s along the west side of the building.
As always, if any of my readers have any information or stories about the Beaverdam School in Canton, North Carolina, feel free to message me or comment!