History of Saluda North Carolina
In the begging before the railroad, the town of Saluda had only two families, the Paces and the Thompsons. The Paces moved to the Saluda Mountain area around 1856 from Virginia. Around the same time, the Thompsons moved to the mountains from the west. Two of the young Thompson men built houses that were used as s stopover for stage coaches traveling between Spartanburg and Asheville. The homes were also used as trading posts, election center and a Post Office until the railroad was built.
In 1877 Andrew Tanner, a contractor from Rutherford County, began buying property near the railroad right-of-way at the top of the grade. There he built a commissary for the railroad employees and the first hotel in the village. The hotel was known simply as Mountain House. At the time there was already one log house and a boarding house for stage drivers known as Pace House. But after the right-a-way was built the town began developing.
In 1881, the Legislature passed an act chartering the town of Saluda. The town covered an area “one mile square with the railroad exactly in the center”. Andrew Tanner was named as mayor of the tiny community. The town was named “Saluda” for the Saluda Mountains surrounding the area.
For the first five decades of its existence, Saluda was one of the most exclusive resorts in the mountains, visited by wealthy Northerners and old established Southern families. Even through the Great Depression, Saluda was still popular due to the plentiful, cheap food. As the Depression slowed, many began seeking out mountain vacations again and the tourist industry boomed until World War II stopped extended road and train travel.
The federal government began building an interstate highway from Charleston to Asheville in the 1950s and ’60s. Without the heavy use of the railway in the heart of town, tourism traffic subsided. The highway took eight years to finish due to the unstable conditions of the ground where the road was being constructed.
Since then Saluda has remained a popular tourist destination with many of the same families still visiting the summer homes. The local community has flourished and remained a tight nit town. Many people flock to Saluda for its beautiful scenery, shopping and the nostalgic feeling one can find in the town.