This year, the city of Brevard celebrates 150 years of municipal government. During the Civil War (1861-1865), according to historians, Transylvania County was pretty evenly split, as far as loyalties. When the new town was formed in 1868, it was named after Dr. Ephraim Brevard, who was described as a teacher, author, soldier and patriot. He was born in 1744 in Maryland, came to North Carolina when he was 4 and resided in the area now known as Iredell County. There is no record of Brevard travelling to western North Carolina. The city of Brevard’s forefathers decided to recognize the doctor because of his actions and life’s work, including as a Revolutionary War soldier and his part in drafting the “Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.” To celebrate the 150th anniversary, the following events have been organized:
•Sept. 1 — Honoring the Past at Founders’ Day
The Transylvania Heritage Museum will display the city’s 150th history exhibit throughout the year. The Founders’ Day event at the museum will feature the exhibit. Plans are to hold a Brevard’s Got Talent Show at this year’s event in honor of the 150th.
•Oct. 13 — Celebrating Brevard Fire Department’s
120th The Brevard Fire Department will celebrate its 120 years of service. The department will open its doors and share its history with the public. A walking tour will be conducted with Brevard firefighters. The public will also be treated to ice cream at the conclusion of the station tour. No reservations are required and more details on times will be posted on the 150th website.
•Oct. 15 — Movie Night Celebrating Diversity
“Almost Cured” is a documentary based on the historic 1963 Brevard Blue Devils’ racially integrated football team. The film is directed by Tom Dierolf, who will be at the film showing at Brevard High School. Former and current Brevard players are being invited to attend the film, which is also open to the general public.
•Nov. 10 — Veteran’s Day Celebrating Our History & Heroes
This Veteran’s Day event will be an opportunity to honor local veterans while celebrating the rich history of Brevard, including Dr. Ephraim Brevard. For more information on all events visit www.brevard150.org. To help celebrate Brevard’s 150th birthday, The Transylvania Times has created three different T-shirts, which
an be viewed online at www.transylv aniatimes.com/store. Two dollars from each birthday shirt will go to support the city’s Train Depot Restoration Project. Shirts may be purchased online or at The Transylvania Times at 37 N. Broad St. in downtown Brevard.
Editor’s note: Below are historical tidbits about Brevard that were provided by local librarian Marcy Thompson.
•DeVane Manufacturing on Railroad Avenue provided “great quantities of pick handles f
or the use of the government in the operations going on in the Panama Canal zone,” according to a tourism brochure issued by The Brevard Club around 1910.
•The Civilian Conservation Corps, a public relief program, did much of the initial construction work on the Parkway. Seen here are workers laying overpass ring stones in 1940.
•There are 469 miles of parkway. There are 216 overlooks. There are 914 roadside vistas. There are 26 tunnels. There are 176 bridges. Source: Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
•A 2-acre lake once covered much of what is today the Franklin Park and pool. It was built for guests at the Franklin Hotel around 1900. A dam was removed and the lake was drained by 1930. In 1934, the town of Brevard built a swimming pool on the upper end of the property
•Caldwell Street is named for B.C. (Braxton Caldwell) Lankford. Lankford, known as Caldwell to family and friends, was influential in the establishment of both Transylvania County and the town of Brev
rd. He h
ld various county positions and served as Brevard’s postmaster (1881-89) and mayor (1892-93).
•The three-story brick building on West Main Street in Brevard that is currently the home of The Proper Pot was built in 1912. The back of the building, which is actually only two stories, was a large auditorium used for events and entertainments, including first-class shows and moving pictures. It had a 40-foot by 20-foot stage, with space for an orchestra. There were two dressing rooms and a property room.
•The first Brevard College yearbook listed 42 members in the Class of 1935. There were also 264 freshmen, 40 members of a commercial class and 11 p
reparatory students that first year. Sports included football,basketball and baseball—all
•Through the years, there have been numerous bandstands or gazebos on the courthouse lawn. Early photographs show a round, covered raised bandstand on the west side of the building. Later there was a large rectangular, covered and raised bandstand on the west side. In May 1929, a major wind storm caused extensive damage throughout the county, including knocking down a large oak that crushed the municipal bandstand. A smaller covered bandstand replaced it.
•During the 1930s and 1940s, Brevard had two A&P grocery stores—one on South Broad Street, which was managed by Harry Sellers for many years, and the other on Main Street, operated by A.E. “Whitey” York.
•In 1947, the Ecusta Band escorted Santa as he rode into downtown Brevard on the new fire truck to open the Christmas season. Floats were added to create a full-scale Christmas parade in 1952.
•On Dec. 6, 1951, Citizens Telephone introduced rotary dial service to the county, eliminating the need for operators to place calls. Each customer was assigned a phone number beginning with the letters TU(rner). TU on a telephone dial is represented by the numbers 88, which is why many Transylvania County phone numbers begin with 88.