15th Annual Jan Wyatt Mountain Symposium: Rails and Tales

Arts & Entertainment
Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM

Venue: Lonesome Valley's Canyon Kitchen

Come out to Lonesome Valley and join the Cashiers Historical Society as we discuss the history and impact of the railroads in Western North Carolina. Guest speakers such as Ray Rapp, Dean Emeritas at Mars Hill University and former Co-Chair of the joint US House-Senate Committee on Improving and Expanding Rail Service in NC will lead off the symposium with his session titledTrains and the Transformation of Western North Carolina.

Jerry Ledford, a descendant of the Carr Lumber Company founders, will provide a deep dive into the lumber industry in the region, focusing on Jackson and Transylvania counties.

Finishing the morning of presentations will be Mac McConnel, a retired physician and rail road buff, will describe the epic competition to scale the mountains: The Old Fort Loops and the Saluda Grade, one of the steepest railroad grades in the country.

Following lunch at the Canyon Kitchen will be two special experiences, CHS' own Jim Hodges will be sharing his model railroad layout that captures the operation of modern railroads in great detail. In addition, there will be a guided exhibition in Col. John's Cabin on the CHS campus on the technological developments that enabled the railroads to not only reach our region, but to aid in developing its economy. This exhibit features railroad memorabilia and artifacts on loan from Western Carolina University's Archives.

Cashiers own Ralph Hicks will show a working model railroad for the young and young at heart in the cabin on weekends and after the Symposium.

Symposium tickets start at $50 to go to the 1 day lecture series and lunch, while different level sponsorships include a ticket to the opening preview reception picnic at Mountain Top Farm on June 19th, and a ticket to the symposium on the 20th.

Sponsorships are listed as follows:

Firemen-Individuals can sponsor the symposium for $150, couples and become Firemen for $250. Firemen sponsors gain 1 ticket to the opening night reception picnic and 1 ticket to the Symposium. (Couples 2 tickets to both).

Conductors- Individuals, couples and businesses are welcome to become Conductor sponsors with a contribution of $500. This provides Conductor sponsors with 4 tickets to the opening night reception picnic and Symposium.

Engineers- Individuals, couples and businesses can become Engineer sponsors with a contribution of $1,000. Engineer sponsors will receive 8 for the Mountain Top picnic as well as for the Symposium.

All sponsors will be listed in the Symposium program and will be acknowledged at the Symposium. Business sponsors' logos will be featured as well.


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Ticket Price(s)
50, 150, 250, 500, 100 depending on level chosen


All Dates

  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM


Cashiers411.com is a comprehensive online community calendar for events in the Cashiers Area mountain communities of Cashiers, Glenville, Highlands, Sapphire and Lake Toxaway and nearby western North Carolina towns of Cherokee, Cullowhee, Dillsboro, Franklin, and Sylva. The calendar is hosted and maintained by the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce as an Information Source for the community.

The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce represents the business, economic and community development efforts of the Western North Carolina communities of Cashiers, Glenville, Sapphire and Lake Toxaway.

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