Huey & Ann Gibson
Huey & Ann Gibson
Silas McDowell
Silas McDowell
Alfred Hawkins
Alfred Hawkins
Harlan Kelsey
Harlan Kelsey
Miss Ida Henry
Miss Ida Henry
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HIGHLANDS HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S
WALK IN THE PARK IN 2006

    In September of 2000 the Historical Society staged its first Walk in the Park. This fundraiser evolved into a very popular annual event until 2011, where community actors and actresses portrayed historic Highlands characters near their graves in Memorial Park.

Bobby Jones, portrayed by Tony PottsDr. Mary Lapham, portrayed by Becky Schilling

Over eleven years Walk in the Park featured such well-known historic figures as golf-legend Bobby Jones, who opened Highlands' first major golf course the year before his grand slam in 1930, here portrayed by Tony Potts; and medical pioneer Dr. Mary Lapham, who established one of North Carolina's first TB sanatoria (known in Highlands as "Bug Hill") in 1908, here portrayed by Becky Schilling.


Celia Hill, portrayed by Elaine Whitehurst; Silas McDowell, by Rick Siegle; and Mary Ann Gibson, by Ginny HarrisJoe Webb, portrayed by Tom Craig

Highlands' first mayor's wife Celia Edwards Hill was recently played by Elaine Whitehurst; horticulturist and historical writer Silas McDowell, who originated the concept of a temperate "thermal belt" and gave the town its name, by Rick Siegel; pioneer settler Mary Ann Gibson, caretaker with husband Huey of the Highlands plateau before the town was founded, by Ginny Harris; and rustic log cabin craftsman Joe Webb, by Thomas Craig.


Helen Wright Wilson, portrayed by Glenda BellGeorge Masa, portrayed by Derek Taylor

Glenda Bell portrayed Helen Wright Wilson, founder of Helen's Barn, where buck dancing, square dancing, and mountain clogging thrived in Highlands for 50 years, amalgamating summer and winter residents alike into a single class of foot-stomping revelers; and Derek Taylor played renowned photographer George Masa, who photographed almost 100 scenes of Highlands and its surroundings in 1929.


Herman Wilson, portrayed by Stell HuieDr. William Anderson, portrayed by Brian McClellan

Stell Huie played Native storyteller Herman Wilson, who charmed his listeners for years with fascinating tales of early Highlanders who survived hard times because they grew and made what they needed; and Brian McClellan was Dr. Alexander Anderson, who discovered the method for producing what became known through the Quaker Oats Company as "Puffed Wheat" and "Puffed Rice."


Ella Hudson, portrayed by Becky SchillingBennie Rogers, portrayed by Charles Edwards

    Other historic characters portrayed in Walk in the Park have been midwife Ida Henry (Jane McNairy), eponymous founder of the Highlands library Ella Hudson (Becky Schilling on the left), police chief Ed "Bennie" Rogers (Charles Edwards on the right), Biological Station director and scientist Thelma "Doc" Howell (Bonnie Powell), educator and botanist Prof. Thomas G. Harbison (Ted Shaffner), town mayor during the Moccasin War H. M. Bascom (Wiley Sloan), town founders Samuel Kelsey and C. C. Hutchinson, corundum miner Charlie Jenks (Thomas Craig), and many, many more.

Highlands Memorial Park
Highlands Memorial Park



This website is constantly under construction. For more information about the Highlands Historical Society, please contact us at highlandshistory@nctv.com; (828) 787-1050; or P. O. Box 670, Highlands, NC 28741-0670.
Last modified on June 4, 2016.