The railroads opened up the mountains of Western North Carolina during the late 1800s, and forever changed the region. These days the chances of you hearing a real steam locomotive whistle are pretty slim, unless you visit the mountains of Western North Carolina. In the late 1800s, thundering locomotives hauled lumber, mica, feldspar and textiles to market from the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. They also brought the first tourists to the area to enjoy the magnificent scenery and cool summer temperatures. Today the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City and Tweetsie Railroad near Boone carry on this rich railroading tradition.
Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit DigitalHeritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCU-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.