Sylva, North Carolina
Retirees seeking respite from big city life often look to small towns often such as Sylva. Nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina, Sylva is one of the state's Main Street Communities. A strong community with local businesses, Sylva is dedicated to preserving the downtown area, which is the "Heart of Jackson County."
"The revitalization of downtown may be complete but the citizens of Sylva are not resting on their laurels. To help protect the environment, the group created Greening up the Mountain in conjunction with Earth Day festivals."
To that end, a group of residents and business owners formed SPIR, Sylva Partners in Renewal, to improve and promote the downtown area. The first phase, a streetscape plan, was implemented in 1996. The second phase was completed in 2006 and today Main Street and its surrounding area invite visitors and residents to enjoy downtown.
The revitalization of downtown may be complete but the citizens of Sylva are not resting on their laurels. To help protect the environment, the group created Greening up the Mountain in conjunction with Earth Day festivals. The group is currently working on the Bridge Park Project, an ambitious undertaking which will redevelop a portion of downtown into a public park. Plans call for a covered pavilion, market space, public garden along with improved parking.
The town is named in honor of William Sylva. A Danish handyman, Sylva worked at the local sawmill owned by the family of the founder, E. R. Hampton. Hampton's daughter liked Sylva and chose his name for the town.
Sylva is the county seat for Jackson county but it wasn't always so. The construction of a railroad caused friction with the neighboring communities of Webster and Dillsboro. After incorporation in 1889, the town became the site of the county fair and attempted to become the Jackson County seat. The town was rebuffed until 1914, when it became official.
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