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Hampton once a "mountain jewel" in a setting of natural wealth

Bob Cox • Sep 11, 2017 at 10:45 AM

The title of an article penned by Harry O. Wilcox from a 1929 Johnson City Chronicle proclaimed, "Hampton, A Mountain Jewel, Is in Setting of Natural Wealth." A subtitle further declared, "Purest Water, Lumber, Ores, Natural Beauty, But Part of Progressing Village of the Gorge."

"The little town of which I am to tell you," he said, "will not necessitate a very liberal description for the simple fact that its many advantages are already widely known throughout the country.

"However, I shall try to mention some off the chief characteristics as a reminder to those who might have forgotten the town and to those who have not been so fortunate, heretofore, to visit Hampton.

"The visitor will approach Hampton on three highways, which pass through the town, one of the highways being the outlet for western North Carolina. This highway is the most traveled road in the state and thousands of tourist travel it from north to south. So many people travel it because of the grandeur and the beautiful scenes which present themselves on either side of the road.

"While speaking of the good roads as an asset to Hampton, there are many other ones of equal value, one of which is its abundant water supply. I am sure there are many people, even in Elizabethton, who never consider the fact that Hampton furnished that industrial city with 98 percent pure water. Also, there are many springs in Hampton and thousands of gallons of this pure water are not utilized.

"While I am still on this point, I would like to say that Hampton is especially noted for these huge springs, which we might say are the "Fountains of Youth." Those who drink constantly of this ever-flowing water are said to be those who retain that youthful vigor and long life. These must be the springs De Soto searched so diligently for and, had he found them, the search would have come to a triumphant finale.

"Our railroad facilities are equivalent to that of any town. Our hills are filled with iron ore, which can easily be loaded onto cars for shipment. Much lumber from our mountains is loaded in Hampton and shipped to different parts of the country, the railroad serving their purpose in making Hampton a center for industrial achievements.

"Our rivers are large enough, if harnessed, to turn the wheels in a hundred factories. There are many sites along their courses suitable for power plants.

"In our town, we have several stores, four churches and a modern school building fully equipped. Our school building is constructed of brick and is so designed and situated that people entering Hampton from either side are attracted to it with an admiring eye.

"Why do I think Hampton is an ideal place in which to reside? In choosing a place to live and to raise a family, there are many things to be considered: churches, schools, people and the conveniences which the community affords.

"In Hampton, one will find electric lights, a water system, good roads, railroads, schools, churches, fertile farms and good citizens, each of whom would make a worthy neighbor.

"Hampton has the summer home of Ex-Governor Harris of Georgia and many others come to Hampton because of the good healthy conditions. Hundreds of people find it cheaper to live in Hampton and drive within a few minutes to their work in Elizabethton or nearby.

"Another interesting thing about our town is the beautiful scenery which completely encircles it. On all sides are beautiful mountains, which silhouette themselves the sky and which guard the towns much like a fortress against severe storms.

"In conclusion, the gorge we gaze at, the precipitous cliffs which rise perpendicularly to touch the sky and being skirted by a dashing river make Hampton a distinctive place. The rhododendron with its brilliant flowers adds an effect of grandeur and beauty to the eyes of those who can see in nature the works of a mighty God."


Reach Bob Cox at [email protected] or go to www.bcyesteryear.com.

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