Cashiers, NC (pronounced CASH-ERZ for those unfamiliar) is a small mountain community tucked into the western corner of the North Carolina mountains, and just a stone’s throw away from the South Carolina border.
Since Cashiers’ inception in the early-mid 1800s, the village has grown and evolved drastically. Cashiers’ transition from small mountain town to a luxury vacation destination and second home real estate market is a remarkable one. Below you’ll find an overview of the interesting history of Cashiers, North Carolina. This guide to the history of Cashiers will talk about how Cashiers, NC got its name, what Cashiers is known for, historical hot spots like the High Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn and more.
Cashiers, NC is one of the most popular vacation destinations in North Carolina. It’s in Jackson County and enjoys easy access to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll love being surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks in the heart of the Nantahala National Forest. This charming town is known for its southern hospitality, local shops and boutiques, unique restaurants and for being one of the most sought after luxury vacation destinations in the country. Cashiers is a popular place to visit during the summer and early fall because of its cool temps and abundance of nature activities and because its natural surroundings are second to none.
Some things Cashiers is known for:
This is a tricky question because different people will argue the legend behind Cashiers name! Some people say that Cashiers’ “claim to fame” was originally being a vacation spot of Civil War general, Wade Hampton and the name of the town came from General Hampton’s bull; but this has been disputed as the timeline of General Hampton’s settlement and when Cashiers was named doesn’t quite add up. Some people say it was after a donkey named Cash and his “ears” (hence Cashiers) but that seems more like a fun folktale.
According to research done by the Laurel Magazine, apparently Cashiers, NC gets its name from a boarding house/general store opened up by the Zachary family in the 1830s. The business also doubled as somewhat of a “bank” as it allowed for locals to barter, and exchange gold for cash. Early locals referred to the visit to the valley as going to the “Cashers” and eventually, the spelling evolved into the proper word Cashiers. The name has stuck ever since.
Camp Merrie-Woode was established in 1919 under the name Lake Fairfield Camp as a retreat for young girls all across the southeast to come and learn and enjoy outdoor activities and develop outdoor living skills. A few years later in 1922, Mabel Pye Day purchased the camp and re-named it Camp Merrie-Woode. Over the course of the next several decades, the camp changed ownership a few times, but the traditions and activities have stayed constant. For over 100 years, Camp Merrie-Woode has fostered summer programs that help young girls develop new skills and a sense of community while maintaining the integrity of a classic summer camp experience. For example, to this day, the camp remains an “unplugged” camp. No iPods or phones are allowed. Parents and their girls are allowed to write to one another and send packages. Camp Merrie-Woode has brought families to Cashiers, NC that may have never come here otherwise to fall in love with Cashiers Valley. For that reason, it’s made a huge impact on the history of Cashiers, NC.
Remember the Civil War General mentioned earlier, Wade Hampton? Yes, this is where him and his family come in! Originally, the Hampton family owned 450 acres in Cashiers Valley. Their home was originally called Hampton Place and as it was passed down eventually to Caroline Hampton Halsted and her husband, they dubbed the summer house “High Hampton.” During their tenure of ownership, Dr. William Halsted expanded High Hampton to 2,200 acres. After the couple passed away, with no heirs, it was put on the market and bought by the McKee family, locals to Jackson County in 1922. Under the McKee family’s ownership, many of the original buildings burned down in a fire in 1932, and what we know as the present-day High Hampton Inn was built in 1933 where it has remained a big part of the history of Cashiers, NC ever since. Over the years, a golf course among other amenities were added to make High Hampton a place for visitors to flock and beat the summer heat. Today, High Hampton is still open, but is now surrounded by a residential community of people who loved the area so much they wanted to stay!
Built in 1896, this historic inn is located in Sapphire, NC, and sits on Fairfield Lake; a neighbor to Camp Merrie-Woode! The Fairfield was able to have a front row seat to a handful of historic events. In the 1960s, in preparation for the Vietnam War, US Army Rangers actually began training in Sapphire Valley and had access to Fairfield Lake. In this special way, Fairfield Inn was home to a unique time in the history of Cashiers, NC. Fast forward to 1986; the Inn caught on fire, which revealed that it was not in as good condition as previously thought. So the original Fairfield Inn was sadly torn down and then rebuilt to it’s current glory. Today, Fairfield Inn is still up and running.
The Zachary-Tolbert House is also known as the Mordecai Zachary house. The family who built it were some of the first people to settle in Cashiers Valley. The restored pre-Civil War home was built sometime between 1950 and 1952. It’s owned by the Cashiers Historical Society and is operated as a historic museum. Attendees will love knowing that the furniture, made by Zachary, is considered the largest collection of Plain Style furniture crafted by a solo maker. When the house was finished, Zachary gave it to his wife, Elvira Keener, as a wedding gift. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the home has been a true part of the history of Cashiers, North Carolina.
Today, Cashiers, NC is home to a full-time population of approximately 150 within the “village limits.” However, thousands of people own homes or condos in the Cashiers area, and even more people than that travel from all over to visit the area, the majority of which coming from the deeper, more humid parts of the Southeast. As you enter Cashiers, you’ll find yourself at the crossroads of Highways 107 and 64, and in each direction you can find fine dining and unique shopping unlike any other place in the country. The aesthetic of Cashiers is true to its mountain heritage and there are so many things to do in Cashiers, NC. You can look around anywhere you go and take in the rustic charm. Even the Subway restaurant is required to maintain the same rustic look as the village.
What started out as a small village that economically thrived with the timber industry, evolved into a vacation destination of the highest caliber as the secret about the beauty and tranquility of the area got out.
In 2004, Landmark opened its first office in the heart of Cashiers, NC on Frank Allen Road. There are now five offices. Three of them are in Cashiers, and one of those is our Vacation Rentals office. Landmark has had the opportunity to watch Cashiers continue to grow and change over the past 16 years. We are excited that we’ve gotten the chance to grow our company to mirror the growth of Cashiers and the surrounding areas. While we are grateful to be a part of the history, we are even more excited to be a part of the future of Cashiers in a meaningful way. If you are thinking about laying down roots in Cashiers, and making it a part of your family’s story, get in touch with us today.
We offer a variety of vacation rentals in Cashiers and in the surrounding areas. Discover this charming mountain town and embrace the history. There is so much to learn and discover! If you’re up for learning even more about the area, study the history of Highlands and stop by the Cashiers Historical Society to learn more!
If you have any questions about the area, staying in Western North Carolina, or would like help finding the perfect North Carolina vacation rental, we’re happy to help. Give us a call today and see how easy it is to start planning your next mountain vacation!