June 16, 2014
Historical Treasure Found in Sapphire Valley
Wishing Well Project Reveals an historic ‘Stone Basin’
Sapphire Valley, NC June 9, 2014: The Sapphire Valley Historical Society’s efforts to excavate and refurbish the ‘Wishing Well’ at the old Historic Fairfield Inn site have revealed a real treasure – an Indian Stone Basin – possibly over 200 years old.
In addition to the Well walls and seating being in really good shape, the floor of the well contains a perfectly carved bowl directly in the granite.
“Although the builders of the old Fairfield Inn may have used this as a 'healing spring' amenity, we are pretty sure they did not build it. They built the Inn, the lake and later a few golf holes around the Inn, but why this?” questions Rick Stargel, President of the Sapphire Valley Historical Society.
Ms. Gayle Eby, Chairman of Board of the Cashiers Historical Society, recently met with the SVHS and visited the Stone Basin site and suggested this may have a Indian background.
Our research tell us this: Other Native American stone basins have been found around the country, one most notably in Fredericksburg Virginia (See http://rrhthistory.umwblogs.org/indian-punch-bowl/) see images below. Web searches reveal many other stone basins in the US that resemble the Sapphire Valley Basin. Prior to 1830, Native Americans occupied much of western North Carolina. The Sapphire Valley Stone Basin is believed to have been created prior to 1800 [based on the amount of erosion out of the basin and the amount of forest growth around it] and used for ceremonial activities..
December 2014 Update: Additional research shows the erosion on the granite channel in the tunnel may have taken 500-700 years to occur. We have also learned the Creek Indians and the Cherokee Indians were in this area and based on other, area archeological finds, this may be a pre-Creek Indian artifact.
The Sapphire Valley Stone Basin is carved in the bedrock next to a year round spring head and supplies the basin with pure mountain water even to this day. The exit channel for the water points true north and just cannot be a coincidence.
Sapphire Valley’s Stone Basin
Fredericksburg Stone Basin (Indian Punch Bowl)
The Sapphire Valley Historical Society’s goal for this project is simply restore this Stone Basin to its original beauty and along with the help of Camp Merrie Woode, create a historic photographic venue for visitors to Fairfield Lake and those that use the old Inn site for weddings, concerts and parties.