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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.



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#RapMonsterRadio Will Interview You On Our Hip Hop Rap Radio Station

Get interviewed by Lil Dee of Rap Monster Radio.  Rap Monster Radio is an online hip hop radio station with more than 60,000 listeners a month in over 180 countries.We will interview and provide you with an mp3 copy of the interview.Get the worldwide exposure you deserve.…See More
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A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 21, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm, join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her "Taking the Stage" workshop participants, for an enchanting evening of storytelling in picturesque Black Mountain, NC. You'll enjoy a variety of stories and storytelling styles featuring tellers Jane O Cunningham from Rome, GA; Gabriele Marewski from Black Mountain, NC; Christine Phillips Westfeldt - Fairview,…See More
Mar 21
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Writers Circle around the Table

We are located in Hayesville, NC. In April we begin our new season with outstanding Poet Mike James. Mike will read at Writers' Night Out in Blairsville, GA on Friday evening April 13. On Saturday, April 14, he will teach a class at my studio.Formally SpeakingThis class will focus on different types of traditional poetic forms such as the sonnet, the villanelle, and the sestina, and will also include other verse forms such as erasures, found poems, prose poems, and last poems.Contact Glenda…See More
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Rachel Carson, Silent Spring Chautauqua History Alive at UNC Asheville, OLLI Reuters Center, Manheimer Room

April 15, 2018 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Step inside the revolutionary book, Silent Spring as its author Rachel Carson reveals the reckless destruction of our living world. Written more than 55 years ago Silent Spring inspired the Environmental Movement and has never been out of print. And now you have a chance to ask the author, Rachel Carson, how this came to be. But these aren’t just performances. They’re a chance to step into Living History – to ask questions and go one on one with a women whose books shaped our country and our…See More
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Mom in Her Writing Nook ...

She was working on the "About the Authors" section of "Echoes Across the Blue Ridge" when I captured this one morning. Though you can't see it, her coffee cup was within gentle reach that morning. Roxie is at her feet.
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Latest non-fiction book

In 1945 Indiana prohibited marriage between a white person and anyone with more than one-eighth "Negro blood." Yet Daniel (black) and Anna (white) gave up family, friends, and eventually even country to create a life together. Their 42-year marriage…
Feb 5
Nancy Werking Poling replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Bent Creek, the 4-part story
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Feb 5

Sunburst, a logging village, harbored a community

by Rob Neufeld


            Benjamin Blaylock, age fourteen, was working in a field two miles south of Canton on a June day in 1907 when a flying rock hit him in the head and killed him.

            The rock had come from a blasting operation of the Pigeon River Railway. 

            Two years earlier, Champion Coated Paper Company president Peter Thomson had engaged local attorney George Smathers to buy timber tracts along the Upper Pigeon.  Log transport, it was determined, could not be accomplished by wagon or water.

            A road bed had to be carved through the mountains with dynamite.  Reuben Robertson, Thomson’s son-in-law, went with Smathers to get right-of-ways from property owners. 

            Captain Terrrell in Bethel demanded a fair price for lost property.  Captain Ledbetter, a corn distributor, feared losing his market, and refused to yield.  In his “Memories of Champion Fibre Company,” Robertson recalls having to use “the railroad right of eminent domain in order to cross (Ledbetter’s) property.”

            Difficulties in buying tracts in the Balsam Mountains led Champion to move Sunburst, its logging community, four miles downriver to a new location, called “bastard Sunburst” by some locals.  Here, for a dozen years, a model village served as the home for five hundred residents and the gathering place for workers coming from logging camps in the region.

            Author Charles Frazier’s grandfather, Andrew Frazier, left South Carolina to work at Sunburst, which had gone into full operation after the railroad had reached it in 1913.  Getting his mail at the Lavinia Post Office one day, he spotted the postmistress’ daughter, Jessie Inman.  “He decided right away he was going to marry her,” recounts Phyllis Inman Barnett in her book, At the Foot of Cold Mountain.

            The post office, one mile north of Sunburst, was near Inman’s Chapel, established by Jessie’s grandfather, James Anderson Inman, a Universalist preacher.

            Homes in the backwoods logging camps were modules moved around by trains.  In Sunburst, the buildings were permanent, and had indoor plumbing and electricity.

            Barnett’s mother and aunt were born in Sunburst.

            Dr. Sam Stringfield served Sunburst and the camps, pumping a speeder—a bicycle that ran on the rails—to get to injured loggers at any time of the night or day.

           Joe Gaddy gave bootleggers rides to a moonshining factory in Canada, Jackson County by driving a locomotive to Camp 19.

            Mrs. Georgie MacAfee, an African American resident of Sunburst, slept in the kitchen of her parents’ house, and got up at 6 a.m. to make way for the workers boarding upstairs, who wanted breakfast.

           Tink Gibson, a mentally disabled man, went around with a hammer in his pocket, and would hit you if he felt you insulted him.  He was afraid of water, and you could scare him away with a glass of it.  He made deliveries of mail and moonshine on request, and froze to death one night on a trip to Canada.

           The schoolhouse became so popular, Mrs. Frank Battles had to move her first grade class to a room under the town jail.  She kept an eye on her children in the yard to make sure they didn’t get run over by nearby train cars.

           Activity in Sunburst ceased after the clear-cutting of the mountains and a bad fire.  Champion flooded the abandoned buildings by building a dam to control water flow for its downriver mill.  The dam created Lake Logan, now the site of the Lake Logan Episcopal Center.



The information for this article was derived from At the Foot of Cold Mountain by Phyllis Inman Barnett (2008); Sonoma—Valley of the Moon: Sunburst by Hugh K. Terrell’s eight grade class, Bethel Junior High School (1978); and Past, Present, Future: How the Lake Logan Episcopal Center Came to Be.



Homes and buildings surround the log pond at the Sunburst mill and village in Haywood County, c. 1915.

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