In a valley surrounded by some of the oldest mountains on earth, the Cherokee knew the area as “Nikwasi” or “center of activity”. The downtown area of Franklin was an old Cherokee Town and the remains of Nikwasi Mound are still visible today that mark the location of Nikwasi’s townhouse.
The city was named for Jesse Franklin, one of two state commissioners who surveyed and organized the town in 1820. He later served as a NC senator and it’s 20th governor when the town was officially incorporated in 1855.
Franklin, North Carolina, is known as the “Gem Capital of the World.” The area is rich in gems and minerals and is a favorite spot for rockhounds of all ages. The famous Cowee Valley north of Franklin lures visitors to the mines annually to find native stones like ruby, sapphire and garnets.
Downtown Franklin has a Gem & Mineral Society, with a Mineral Museum featuring interesting displays that include local specimens, Indian artifacts and fossils in a 19th Century jailhouse. Visitors love one of the country’s best known gem shows, the Macon County Gemboree held annually every fall.
Additional museums in downtown are the Macon County Historical Museum and the Scottish Tartans Museum, that let’s you stroll through the history and culture of Scotland. Visitors are invited to view their family tartan, connect with their clan, and learn about the history of Highland Dress.
Franklin’s annual PumpkinFest has a little taste of everything. You can choose between the Pumpkin Pie eating contest, the costume parade or the World Famous Pumpkin Roll that launches pumpkins 100 yards down Phillip Street’s steep incline. There are many galleries and quaint hometown shops to browse downtown, along with some good places for food and drink.
Nearly half of Macon County, lies within the Nantahala National Forest of a half-million acres of unspoiled beauty that rise to a series of peaks over 5,000 feet and is a part of the Appalachian Trail. There are amazing views from Wayah Bald Lookout Tower and hundreds of species of wildlife and wildflowers, creating a virtual paradise for photographers.
Spectacular waterfalls just a few miles from Franklin can be seen on the highway to Highlands like Cullasaja Falls, Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. To view whitewater rafting and great trout fishing the popular scenic gorge destination is Nantahala just west of Franklin.
Visit the Cowee West’s Mill Historic District, located off Route 28 North to discover man-made structures dating back more than 1,400 years and many other great finds.
Spend the weekend in one of Franklin’s many cabin rentals, campgrounds, B&B’s, or hotel accommodations to explore this historical friendly town. Voted “Top Small Town in 2015”, you’ll be able to kick up your feet and relax.Enjoy entertainment at the Smokey Mountain Performing Arts Center or participate in one of the many events held in downtown Franklin.
Whatever the Season, come to enjoy Franklin, North Carolina’s mountain treasures and simple pleasures! Visit www.franklin-chamber.com or call 1-866-372-5546 to request more information.