Bethel Rural Community Organization Releases Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD

By Evelyn M. Coltman | Jun 04, 2013
Photo by: Ted Carr Blanton-Reece Log Cabin - One of the Sites on the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD

Bethel Rural Community Organization (BRCO) is releasing its long-awaited CD of the Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour. The CD provides a guided journey to nine of the most popular historic sites in the Cold Mountain region of Bethel Community, location of the oldest human settlement and the oldest white settlement in Haywood County.  These sites were selected from twenty-six that were featured in the seven popular guided tours produced by BRCO from 2005 - 2011. BRCO is noted statewide for its farmland and historic preservation efforts.  Historic Preservation Committee members have earned two history awards from the NC Society of Historians for the six books in the Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain series and for the DVD, Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us.  The Cold Mountain Heritage Tour CD is the same high quality historic collection as the books and DVD.  Sites on the tour include the following:

  1. Bethel Presbyterian Church – Mother Presbyterian Church of Haywood County
  2. Bethel Cemetery –  1854 cemetery that is the burial site of Inman of Cold Mountain fame
  3. Truss Bridge #79 –  Constructed in 1891, the oldest working truss bridge in North Carolina with the only decorative elements on an NC truss bridge
  4. Inman Chapel & Cemetery – This 1902 chapel, the oldest Universalist church west of Durham, was built by the Reverend James Anderson Inman, brother of Inman of Cold Mountain fame
  5. Blanton/Reece Log Cabin – With its unique corner mortise, this structure is one of the oldest log cabins in Haywood County, blending  German, English, and Scots-Irish architectural influences
  6. Lenoir’s Creek Devon – This 1807 farm is the oldest continuing farm in Haywood County with the longest continuing herd of cattle
  7. Cruso School – This delightfully decorated 1928 school housing  Cruso Community Center is a step back in time to Depression-era schools in which each grade was contained in one classroom
  8. Riverhouse Acres – Site of the Forks of the Pigeon River and mid-1800s camp meetings from which other nearby historic locations and people are discussed
  9. Osborne Boundary Oak – Witness tree, dating to the Native American era, which served as a boundary marker in 1792 before Haywood County was established


Concise details about each site are available on the organization’s website.  In addition, the CD contains comprehensive information about each location that is not available on the web site. Besides the nine site locations, the CD provides narrations about topics, sites, and people who have been prominent in Bethel’s history:  the many names of Bethel, Sunburst (early 1900s logging community), New College Community Experience branch of Columbia University (unique education system in Cruso Community), Colonel Joseph Cathey (mid 1800s legislator and renowned mercantile owner), Calvin Filmore Christopher (NC’s most prolific inventor), and Max Thompson (World War II hero).


By plugging into a vehicle’s CD player, and carrying a portable player if desired, a traveler (or several travelers in a single vehicle) may use the written driving instructions, the map, site photos, and narrations to enjoy a several hour excursion into local history.  The Cold Mountain Heritage Driving Tour CD permits travelers to take the tour in one day or on multiple days.  Doug Chambers produced the CD, and Haywood EMC sponsored the production.  The CD is for sale at Blue Ridge Books and on BRCO’s website: