Waynesville is a town in and the county seat of Haywood County, North Carolina. It is the largest town in Haywood County and the largest in Western North Carolina west of Asheville. Waynesville is located about 30 miles southwest of Asheville between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Information on Waynesville

Once the primary retail business center of the town, downtown Waynesville is now home to art galleries, cafes and restaurants, shops, banks, doctors, and the town government/administration buildings.

About 40% of our County is occupied by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and the Harmon Den Wildlife Refuge, where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets the Great Smoky Mountains.

Waynesville is blessed with the ideal year-round climate, beautiful mountain scenery and warm Southern hospitality. Proud of our southern mountain heritage, we are building the future with a concern for preserving the past. We're far enough south that spring comes pretty early, bringing a fantastic display of natural blooming beauty to the mountainsides as Dogwood, Redbud Trees and an amazing number of wildflowers put on their show. Our Summer heat is tempered by our cool mountain elevations and evening temperatures drop to create some of the most relaxing evening environments. In the fall our hardwood forests put on a spectacular fall foliage color display attracting more Visitors than other time of the year. The winter brings a quiet, slower season while providing us with some of the best skiing in the south.


Frog Level - The historic district whose name came about because of frequent flooding of Richland Creek. In the 70s and 80s it was known as a seedy part of downtown, mainly due to a now-closed bar called The Tap Room. In recent years, the revitalization of Main Street has spread down into this area. A mural in the area, once a frog sitting on a level, is being replaced by a mural featuring a majority of Folkmoot themes. The historic Murphy Branch of the old Western North Carolina Railroad runs through Frog Level and still carries freight rail traffic from Norfolk Southern Railway which now owns the line.

A Brief History

The Town of Waynesville was founded in 1810 by Colonel Robert Love, an American Revolutionary War soldier. He donated land for the courthouse, jail, and public square, and named the town after his former commander in the war, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

Waynesville also has a connection to another war. With news of General Robert E. Lee's surrender traveling slowly, the American Civil War continued in Western North Carolina. The final shots of that war, east of the Mississippi River, were fired near Sulphur Springs and General James Martin surrendered honorably on May 9, 1865 (See The "Battle" of Waynesville below.)

The Town of Waynesville was incorporated in 1871. In July 1995 the Towns of Hazelwood and Waynesville merged into one community and continued to grow with a population today of almost 10,000.

Waynesville began to see development after arrival of the railroad in 1884. The agricultural, lumber and tourism industries in Waynesville and Haywood County began to thrive as access to the west was opened up.

The area of Waynesville located along Richland Creek, northwest and down hill from Main Street, was where the railroad tracks were laid. Until this time the area had been essentially a swampland, with a few scattered buildings but no major development. Once the depot was built and the train arrived this section was developed. It was given the name of Frog Level. Frog Level was so named by the local community because of its low-lying location along Richland Creek, the "frog level" when the area flooded.

Downtown and the nearby Frog Level commercial centers of Waynesville continued to be the central focus for social life, transportation, and wholesale and retail businesses through the 1940s. Businesses in the Frog Level area in the 1930s and 1940s included hardware stores, farm supplies, coal sales, auto dealers and garages, furniture stores, wholesale groceries, warehouses and lumber companies, all businesses dependent on the railroad. However, as the automobile became the primary mode of transportation for most residents, the railroad declined in importance. This in turn lead to a shift of business away from Frog Level. The last passenger train arrived in Waynesville in 1949, and freight trains pass through Frog Level twice daily, with most trains continuing on to Sylva.

By the 1980s the railroad in Waynesville had been integrated into the Southern Railway Company system. The first depot burned in 1900, but it was soon replaced with another depot that remained standing until 1987.
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