West Jefferson History

The first ownership of the valley that would become West Jefferson began in 1779 when North Carolina's Governor Richard Caswell granted three hundred twenty acres to Colonel Ben Cleveland, who battled the British at King's Mountain.

One hundred twenty years after Colonel Cleveland's land grant, the West Jefferson Land Company surveyed the new town and fixed its limits as a square one-half mile north, south, east and west of the Virginia-Carolina Depot. The North Carolina General Assembly chartered the Town of West Jefferson in 1915.

West Jefferson developed around the Virginia-Carolina Railroad depot in the early 1900s. Before the railroad and the resulting town, a few families lived in the valley known for its cherry tree orchards. The valley is located between Mount Jefferson to the east and Paddy Mountain to the west.

For many decades West Jefferson was served by the Northwestern Railroad, better known as the "Virginia Creeper". The railroad was the primary reason for the creation of West Jefferson, as the town became a major stop on the railway. The railroad carried mostly freight, which brought West Jefferson's initial commercial growth. Another prime factor in West Jefferson's early development occurred with the opening of the First National Bank of West Jefferson in 1915. West Jefferson's Town Hall occupies the bank's branch office built in 1962.


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