Our Heritage of Colorful Characters with Fascinating Histories

The Highlands Pass area is steeped in history. In the heart of the Southern Appalachians tucked deep in the western corner of North Carolina, in the foothills of the Great Smokies, this area was part of the Cherokee Nation until 1819.

The tribes that dwelt in the mountains were known as the Otari or Overhill Cherokees. Franklin, North Carolina was called "Nikwasi" by the Cherokees, meaning "center of activity." This holds true today as Franklin is the center ofthe area's history and the mountain way of life. In the center of town is the Nikwasi Mound. This mound held the ever-burning sacred fire, and was the dwelling place of the immortal spirit-beings, the Nunnehi.

Many colorful characters have been a part of the history of this region. In 1730, Alexander Cuming, a Scottish nobleman from Britain, came into Cherokee territory. Cuming arrived at a time when the Cherokee were on the verge of allying themselves with the French and were by all accounts rather hostile towards the British. He visited many Cherokee councils and convinced them to hold a grand council at Nikwasi, where they selected a single chief to represent them with the Brithish. This unprecedented act of diplomacy was Cuming's crowning achievement. Cuming then escorted a Cherokee delegation to England where they were the first Cherokee presented in the court of King George II.

Highlands Pass is right in the center of all this history and all this incredibly beautiful country - surrounded on three sides by the Nantahala National Forest, which is the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina.

There are many more stories and fascinating characters that make up the rich history of the Highlands Pass area. Perhaps you will add your own story to the traditions and legacies of past generations and help us preserve the beautiful heritage of the landscape.


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We look forward to hearing from you as you make the decision to invest in our mountain community