Historic Hayesville SquareThings To Do In The Smoky Mountains
Photo credit Historic Hayesville, Inc.
Historic Hayesville Square, located in Hayesville, North Carolina,
is a vibrant hub of history, culture, and community activities, deeply rooted in the town’s heritage and ongoing preservation efforts.
Historical and Cultural Significance: Hayesville occupies the site of the former Cherokee town of Quanassee, which was situated along a trading path connecting the Cherokee settlements in the Carolinas and Georgia with other regions. This path, vital for commerce and communication, transformed during the American Revolution into a channel for military activities. The town name “Hayesville” was adopted to honor State Senator George W. Hayes for his efforts in establishing the town as a separate entity from Cherokee County. Hayesville was officially incorporated on March 12, 1913. Its township is one of six in Clay County, with Hayesville serving as the county seat. Despite its small size, with a population of 311 as of the 2010 census, Hayesville’s rich historical context and geographical significance make it a noteworthy location.
Revitalization and Community Efforts: Hayesville was designated as a North Carolina Small Town Main Street community in 2013. This designation was part of an initiative under the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach, focusing on organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality to implement downtown projects. The Historic Hayesville Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit formed in 2016, administers Hayesville’s Small Town Main Street program and is instrumental in securing funds and managing projects for downtown improvement. These efforts emphasize building community resources, creating a positive image of downtown, and enhancing the physical and economic aspects of the area. Hayesville’s continued participation in the Main Street America program underscores its commitment to revitalizing and preserving its historical and cultural identity.
Attractions and Activities: The Historic Hayesville Square is the center of numerous cultural and community activities. The area is known for its unique retail shops, boutiques, and events that showcase local arts, crafts, and music. Events like “Steins & Wine Around the Square,” “Trash to Treasures,” and the “Songwriter’s Circle” are examples of community engagements that enliven the square. The Centennial Exhibit, a key attraction, displays local history through rooms dedicated to different themes, such as the Quilt Room with its Civil War-era quilts and the Veterans Room, showcasing local military history. Other significant sites include the Clay County Historical & Arts Council Museum and various artisan displays, emphasizing Hayesville’s commitment to preserving and celebrating its rich heritage and artistic talents.
These elements together paint a picture of Historic Hayesville Square as a dynamic, culturally rich, and community-focused area, blending historical reverence with contemporary vitality.