Learning about the rich history of Highlands, N.C. begins right across the street from The Park On Main Hotel® on the Highlands Heritage Trail. This trail is an informative walking tour which takes visitors back in time to discover the people who shaped Highlands, NC and the places that formed the town.
The Highlands Heritage Trail is an effort organized by the Highlands Historical Society featuring 51 local historic sites. The trail is divided into two walking tours:
- The 3-Block Walk is largely clustered along Main Street
- The 20-Block Walk encompasses sites in other sections of town
Visitors to Highlands can download a color-coded map of the Highlands Heritage Trail as a guide for either the short 3-block tour or to set out on the 20-block tour. There is a wealth of information on either trail which offers a great way to sightsee at your own pace.
Each site listed on the trail includes a historical sketch written by Randolph Shaffner, author of “Heart of the Blue Ridge: Highlands, North Carolina” published in 2001.
A Stroll Down Main Street
A few points of interest along the Highlands Heritage Trail include site No. 50, listed as the Methodist-Baptist Church, the first church built in Highlands by a denomination in 1888. Today, the site, located directly across from The Park On Main Hotel®, is the First Baptist Church.
Then, on the opposite end of the block from our hotel was Root’s Gift Shop and Tea Room, site No. 44, on the trail. The building, circa 1926, is now the home of Reeves/Ace Hardware.
The Highlands Heritage Trail includes a number of sites which no longer exist today. These sites are noted on the map by an asterisk. One such location is No. 51 which is the former Hunt-Etsy Cottage, circa 1883, known as the White Oak House. The site, across from The Park On Main Hotel®, was torn down in 2001.
The Highlands Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Center currently occupies the Partridge-Rice Home, which is the first listing on the trail on Main Street.
More Historical Highlights
The trail includes mostly sites of residential homes and business locations along with many places of worship. One church of note is the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, site No. 19, built in 1896 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The trail includes several other locations also listed on the National Register.
On the northern rim of the Highlands Heritage Trail, along Fourth Street, is the Historic Village which is maintained by the Highlands Historical Society. The village includes site No.11, known as the House-Boynton-Trapier-Wright (Prince) House. The house is noted as the oldest existing home in Highlands. Then, adjacentto this is site No. 12, known as Bug Hill, built in 1908 and later moved to this location. The house was built by Dr. Mary Lapham, a pioneer in the treatment and cure of tuberculosis.
Both the House-Boynton-Trapier-Wright (Prince) House and Bug Hill were purchased and preserved by the Highlands Historical Society. The group also purchased the Old Hudson Library Building which initially housed one of North Carolina’s oldest library collections. After the town’s newer library was constructed, the historical society obtained the building to house the Highlands Historical Museum and Archives.
Stay With Us And Explore Highlands
There is much more to discover about Highland’s historical past along the Heritage Trail. Our staff at The Park On Main Hotel® can assist guests with information about the Highlands Heritage Trail and help point out a few must-see stops along the way. Highlands, N.C. is a great destination for tourists to enjoy the beautiful and lush mountain ranges and adventure with a mix a culture and fun. And, as you can see, the hotel is within close proximity to much of what Highlands has to offer. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to get updates about what’s going on in the area! We love to stay in touch with our past, present and future guests.
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