Land and Sky Relay – The History Along The Route (Part 2-Haywood County)

Land And Sky Relay Blog

Part two of our series about the history along the Land and Sky Relay race route features Haywood County, which is where our runners will run their second legs of the relay. Be sure to read part one of the series which features the Buncombe County section of the race.

Part 2 – Haywood County (Legs 5-8)

Land And Sky Relay - Haywood County, NCLeg 5 enters Haywood County in East Canton before going into the Town of Clyde. Canton has had four names since its founding in 1889. It started as Buford, then Vinson, then Pigeon Ford before settling on Canton in 1893 after the city in Ohio, which provided the steel for the bridge over the Pigeon River. Canton is home to Evergreen Packaging, which makes paper products at its vast mill along the Pigeon River. Runners on Leg 5 (and those before or after) might notice a smell resembling rotten eggs. This comes from their sulfate process used to pulp wood chips.*(1)

Clyde was formed in 1877 and, like Canton, also started with a different name – Lower Pigeon. Why it is called Clyde is up for some debate. The official town website lists three possibilities:

  • A man who lived on the Clyde River in Scotland settled there
  • The foreman for the railroad that brought it through Clyde was named Clyde
  • The iron for the bridge across the Pigeon River came from Clyde, Ohio and that name was stamped all over the bridge (*2)

Runners on Leg 5 won’t travel through its downtown but will see the beautiful new park along the Pigeon River where Transfer Point 5 is located.

Lake Junaluska was named after Mount Junaluska (now called North Eaglesnest Mountain), which was named after the Cherokee Chief, Junaluska, who fought along side Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. The area is dominated by the 200-acre, man-made lake, which is also the home of the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center – the conference center of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. Runners on Leg 6 will run by the historic Stuart Auditorium, opened in 1913, before reaching Transfer Point 6 on the western edge of the campus.

Junaluska is Cherokee for “one who tries but fails.” (*3) Don’t let that be you!

This quaint vacation town of Maggie Valley was named after the daughter of the founder of the post office in 1904. Jack Setzer submitted the names of his three daughters as possible names of the town and the Postal Service chose Maggie from Maggie Mae, which later became Maggie Valley.

Land And Sky Relay - Ghost Town In The SkyThe town was a magnet for tourists from across the country that flocked to the Western themed amusement park, Ghost Town in the Sky, from the early 60’s to the early 80’s. Runners on Leg 7 can look to their right at the end of the sidewalk of the leg and see the remains of the chair lift that took visitors to the top of the mountain.

Now home to Cataloochee Ski Area, the town attracts thousands of winter visitors each year for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. (*4)


(*1)-Asheville Citizen-Times (John Boyle)
(*2)-www.clyde.us/gallery
(*3)-Wilkepedia and Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center
(*4)-www.maggievalleylife.com


About Glory Hound Events

Glory Hound Events was started in 2006, initially managing the historic Bele Chere 5K. Shortly after that first year the Lake Logan Triathlon was introduced and eventually became a part of the Lake Logan Multisport Festival. Glory Hound Events is now the largest endurance event management company in the Western North Carolina region, producing an average of twelve events annually. In addition to producing its own events and those for a variety of clients, Glory Hound Events offers consulting services for events outside of Western North Carolina looking to take theirs to the next level.