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 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 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.
High Hampton Inn
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.
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; you can look around 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.
For more information on the rich history of Cashiers, North Carolina and the surrounding areas on the Plateau, readers can visit the Cashiers Historical Society to continue learning.
In 2004, Landmark opened its first office in the heart of Cashiers, NC on Frank Allen Road. With five offices now, three of those in Cashiers, and one of those being our Vacation Rentals office, Landmark has had the fortunate 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, NC 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.