West Jefferson, North Carolinaby Senator Richard Burr
Posted on 2015-02-09
BURR. Mr. President, I wish to pay tribute to the town of West
Jefferson, NC. Today, February 9 is the 100th anniversary of the
charter of this historical town that has become a vibrant community
attracting tourists, artists, entrepreneurs, retirees and young
Development of rural farmland into a town resulted from extending a railroad line into it. Construction of roadbeds and trestles for the steel rails took place in 1914, and depots were created as loading spots. When people of this area learned that the railroad was coming, speculators made investments in villages that would be affected. A new village was also created. The West Jefferson Land Company mapped a farming area in a valley between two mountains and sold lots for commercial and residential uses. Developers and their purchasers were ready when the first train arrived. The West Jefferson depot was central and most prominent. As part of its official recognition by the State Legislature in 1915, the town acquired for its governance a mayor and aldermen.
Passenger service was added by the railroad company and enjoyed by many. Then, as the years went by, personal automobiles, paved roads, freight trucks and passenger buses created new transportation options. There were no more large tracts of virgin timber to be harvested. Railroad operation declined in profitability and the end came in 1977. The rails were taken up and trains became a romantic memory for the people of West Jefferson. Trains remain today as images which we see in the local history museum diorama and in some of the beautiful murals on downtown buildings. Murals, galleries, studios and dynamic programs now identify West Jefferson as an arts community, enhancing its image as a desirable place in which to live.
The town of West Jefferson has received many accolades for its business and family-friendly environment, low cost of living, lively rebirth of its downtown district, and many other aspects. I join the fine people of West Jefferson as its citizens and leaders celebrate this historic 100th anniversary.