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  • Hours of Operation
  • Founding of the Historical Society
  • The Historic Village
  • Board of Directors
  • Archivists
  • Board of Advisers
  • Docents
  • Highlands Historic Village, photo by Randolph Shaffner Historical Documents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
    Highlands on the National Register
    In 2010 the Highlands Historical Society was honored
    by the Society of North Carolina Historians with its Society Award.

    For the article, see 2002 Society Award.

    And in 2019 Ran Shaffner was honored
    by the Society of North Carolina Historians with its highest award.

    For the article, see 2019 Historian of the Year Award.

    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 with its mission expanded to promote all of Highlands history. 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
    Sherry Holt, Treasurer
    Tammy Lowe , Recording Secretary
    Hillary Cone   Kim Daugherty   Dennis DeWolf
    Fran Leftwich   Eric Nielsen   Phil Potts
    Tommy Thompson   Anna Wilson
    Stuart Ferguson, ex-officio

    Elizabeth Swift, Corresponding Secretary


    Stuart Ferguson - Archivist
    Phil Potts - Associate Archivist
    Ran Shaffner - Archivist Emeritus

    board of advisers

    Glenda Bell   Mary Berry   Martha Betz   Nina Burke   Sally Caffrey   Isabel Chambers   Jeannie Chambers  
    Tommy Chambers   Leila Chapman  Geri Crowe   Linda David   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
    Ginny Harris

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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 November 27, 2020.