Seven Devils…the village that we know today was just an isolated mountain valley farm perched between Hanging Rock and Grandfather Mountain. Farmers were growing cabbage and tobacco where the soil was good and running cattle up in the hills among the rocks and old arrowheads.
The federal government opened up that area for homesteading in 1775, but its windy peaks and hanging valleys didn’t attract many wanting to stake a claim.
But in 1964 seven men on horseback ambled up an old wagon trail to those summits…they saw a magnificent setting and envisioned…a resort town.
So…were these guys devilish? At the time there was a rumor about an old man on the mountain who had seven sons who were as mean as the devil…and folks up there also commented that it was windy as the devil in the winter…
The group of investors noticed the repeated occurrence of the number seven and the, perhaps, coincidental reference to devils, and they wanted a catchy name…so Seven Devils was born. It’s now home to the hawksnest zip line and snow tubing resort…which are heavenly.
Nearby Shulls Mill got its start around 1835 when Phillip Shull, built a gristmill, but grinding corn didn’t put Shulls Mill on the map, virgin timber did.
A generation later it became a town…a big town for the area… it was a thriving city that at its peak rivaled nearby Boone… in fact in 1915 over 1,000 people lived there! And Tweetsie Railroad ran right through it. There were three or four hotels, the county’s first electric movie theatre and, oh did I mention the GIANT sawmill.
Just imagine the massive old growth Chestnut, oak and poplar logs stacked several stories high all over the only flat land in the valley.
But, it was boom and bust…the lumber was playing out just as the Great Depression started and then came 1940… It was the biggest flood on record, killing many people.
Many of the homes in Shull’s Mill were literally swept away and the livestock, all the farm equipment … just gone…It was the final straw.
Today, visitors can still see some of the old foundations along with a general store and the Shulls Mill Baptist Church, both built in 1850…most everything else is downstream.