Black Bear Trail Flyer
Dan Marsh, Jr. found this flyer stuffed in an old book. It was printed on the back of a Cliffside Mills business letter dated August 23, 1929. What was the Black Bear Trail? Hugh Morton, owner of Grandfather Mountain, remembers seeing this map when he was a child. His grandfather, Hugh MacRae, was one of a group of men who, in the 1920s, formed an organization to actively promote tourism in the southeast. The Black Bear, says Morton, was the forerunner to the Appalachian Trail. The wonder is, how did little Cliffside make it onto the “Scenic Route for Tourists Between the North and the South?”
Courtesy Dan Marsh, Jr.
Update: The mere mention of the Black Bear Trail lit a fire under Don Bailey, Remember Cliffside's chief Western Carolina correspondent. He promptly tracked down this little news item from 1927. No wonder Cliffside was one of the trail's "way stations," several of our town's leaders were members of the Black Bear Association.
Black Bear Trail Meeting
The fourth annual meeting of the Black Bear Trail Association which was held in DeLand, Fla., last week was a great successs. Delegates present were representative of the entire length of the trail from Miami to Quebeck, (sic) Canada. It was decided that the next meeting be held in New York state. Messrs. G. K. Moore, G. K., Jr., V. V. Fortune and G. C. Haynes of Cliffside, were present for the two days’ convention.
[From the Rutherford County News of March 24, 1927]
Another update: Don Bailey later discovered an old (1936) postcard displaying a tinted vista of the Blue Ridge mountains along the Black Bear Trail. We've added it to our Odds and Ends collection.