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  • Founding of the Historical Society
  • The Historic Village
  • Board of Directors
  • Archivists
  • Board of Advisers
  • Docent
  • Highlands Historic Village, photo by Randolph Shaffner Historical Documents
    Highlands Heritage Trail Guide
    List of Historic Structures
    List of Green Spaces
    Joe Webb Cabins
    Greenway Trail Guide

    founding of the highlands historical society

        On June 22, 1979, a small group of Highlands residents began to meet because they shared a concern for the history of the town. The area was changing rapidly and historic structures were disappearing. These concerned citizens formed the Highlands Historical Preservation Society, Inc., a non-profit organization, intent on performing a survey of historic structures in Highlands. When an inventory of 173 homes was completed in 1981, the Society fell into inactivity.
        On April 7, 1999, a small group of similarly concerned residents formed the Highlands Historical Society, Inc., a reactivation of the former Society, for the same reasons it was originally formed. By 2000 the new society had appropriately bought for its home the oldest house still standing in Highlands, known today on the National Register as the Elizabeth Wright Prince House. In 2002 the organization was honored by the North Carolina Society of Historians for its progress over three short years—from when it had no building to call its own, no funds in the treasury, and no archives to speak of—to what it stands for today: an active society intent on preserving and promoting the heritage of Highlands.

    creation of the historic village

    House-Trapier-Wright Home, photo by Randolph ShaffnerThe Highlands Historical Society's Historic Village is located at 524 N. 4th Street in Highlands, North Carolina. It is composed of (1) the Prince House, (2) the Highlands Historical Museum and Archives, and (3) the Highlands Sanatorium Tent or Bug Hill Cottage. The Elizabeth Wright Prince House is the oldest existing house in Highlands, built in 1877 by millwright Arthur House, and serves as a living history museum. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 2017. See inside tour here.

    Highlands Historical Museum & Archives, photo by Randolph Shaffner The Highlands Historical Museum and Archives was originally constructed in 1915 on Main Street to house the Hudson Library, one of the oldest libraries in the State, and was moved in 2002 to the south side of the Village to serve the community as a state-of-the-art museum and archives.

    Bug Hill Cottage, photo by Randolph ShaffnerThe Highlands Sanatorium Tent was one of 60 open-air cubicles built in 1908 at today's Recreation Park for patients under the care of Dr. Mary E. Lapham, whose TB sanatorium was one of the first in North Carolina. Although moved to Chestnut Street when the sanatorium ("Bug Hill") burned in 1918, it was returned to its original site in 2006 to memorialize Dr. Lapham's role as a devoted savior of many Highlanders from the most virulent and dreaded disease of early twentieth-century America.




    Memorial Weekend at the end of May - end of October
    Fridays & Saturdays

    1:00 pm
    10:00 am

    4:00 pm
    4:00 pm

    The Highlands Historical Society is a (501)(C)(3) organization.

    board of directors

    Obie Oakley, President
    Bob Trevathan, Vice President
    Martha Sutherland-Wright, Treasurer
    Christy Kelly, Recording Secretary
    Sally Caffery   Hillary Cone   Kim Daugherty
    Linda David   Dennis DeWolf   Fran Leftwich
    Eric Nielsen   Tommy Thompson
    Randolph Shaffner, ex-officio

    Sandra Carlton, Corresponding Secretary


    Randolph Shaffner - Archivist
    Carolyn Patton - Associate Archivist

    board of advisers

    Glenda Bell   Mary Berry   Martha Betz   Nina Burke   Isabel Chambers   Jeannie Chambers  
    Tommy Chambers   Leila Chapman  Geri Crowe   Dennis DeWolf   Donnie Edwards
    Joyce Franklin   Mary Ann Hardman   Ginny Harris   Betty Holt  LaDonna Keener
    Dennis Leftwich   Tammy Lowe   Alan Marsh   Raya McArthur   Gladys McDowell
    Kitty Moore   Carolyn Patton   Terry Potts   Tony Potts   Beverly Quin   Ran Shaffner  
    Wiley Sloan   Ann Sullivan   Ed Talley   Derek Taylor   Mike Thompson
    Sandie Trevathan   Allen "Buck" Trott   Luther Turner   Ronnie Waller
    Elaine Whitehurst   Jim Whitehurst   Dennis Wilson   Kathleen Wilson
    Wade Wilson   Walter Wingfield   Mary Lou Worley


    Tammy Lowe

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    This website is constantly under construction. For more information about the Highlands Historical Society, please
    contact us; phone us at (828) 787-1050; or write us at 524 N. 4th Street, P. O. Box 670, Highlands, NC 28741-0670.
    Last modified on July 17, 2019.