Native Americans, Europeans and Northerners expanding and looking for land all met in the hills of Western North Carolina including the Highlands - Cashiers - Sapphire Valley plateau.
Pioneers began carving out a life in the Sapphire Valley area and finding and using all the natural resources around them.
Gold, found in North Carolina in the early 1800s, changed the area forever.
The Cherokee Indians were pushed out in 1830 by The Indian Removal Act of 1830.
The resulting years are chronicled in The Trail of Tears historically accurate tell of the relocation of the entire Cherokee Nation.
Historical records show gold was being mined in Sapphire Valley as early as 1844. The mine, called Georgetown, was located at the base of Bald Rock Mountain on what today is Camp Merrie Woode.
Gold was mined up until approximately 1900. In 1888, three men discovered about 50 pounds of sapphire gems in the valley...hence the name!!
After this, stories tell that the mine was also used for gem mining and companies like Tiffany’s out of New York set up operations and exported precious stones out of the area.
The Civil War era divided many families in the area. Men had to leave to fight in the war and the economy of the Cashiers - Sapphire Valley stood still until the late 1880s.