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Maggie Valley NC History

There are two common question visitors to Maggie Valley NC often ask, especially when they see the Miss Maggie logos, and see Miss Maggie walking up and down Soco Road, is: What is the history of Maggie Valley, and where does the name come from?

The answer, makes for a very interesting and historic story …

The History of Maggie Valley NC

Maggie Mae SetzerMaggie Valley NC was formally established on May 10, 1904, however people had been living in the area for some time.

The land was originally home to the Cherokee Indians, and a number of trails ran through the area where there are now roads, including US276 and Highway 19 (Soco Rd.)  Settlers first moved into the area, now know as Maggie Valley NC in 1805.

A young lady named Maggie Mae Setzer was born December 21, 1890.  Her father, Jack Setzer, in 1900 wanted to establish a post office for the community in his own.   Jack himself had been riding 5 miles to the nearest post office to retrieve mail each week.  He grew tired of the travel, and wanted a local post office.

Jack wrote a letter to the US Postal Service, and requested permission to establish his home as the new post office that would serve the area.  The Postal Service replied telling him to provide postal service from his home for 6-months and to keep records.  The records would determine if a new post office was justified or not.    A corner of a room in his home was set-up as post office.  He built a custom wood box to keep track of the incoming letters.  During this time, Jack kept careful records of everything.

After 6-months had passed, he submitted his records to the US Postal Service, and they accepted his request to establish a post office, and requested that he submit names for the postal area.  The first three names Jack  submitted were rejected, as they were already in use.  He then submitted the names of his daughters: Cora, Mettie, Maggie Mae and an additional name, Jonathan Creek.  Jack didn’t mention to his daughters that he had done this

Jack received an official letter on May 10, 1904 from the US Postmaster that he official name of his new Post Office would be Maggie, NC.    Jack told Maggie, and she was so embarrassed from the news, that she burst into tears and ran up the mountain to the old Log Cabin where she was born.

Maggie NC became the Maggie Valley, NC we know and love today.   Jack’s home, and the original post office, is a white house on Moody Farm Rd, just up from Maggie Mountaineer Crafts.  The post office was later moved to the Maggie Valley General Store.

Maggie married Ira Pylant of Nashville, TN at the age of 17 and they moved to Texas.  Maggie returned to her home, and town named after her several times before she died in 1979 at the age of 88 years old.

Today, you can often find “Miss Maggie” walking through the streets of Maggie Valley NC, and waving to everyone.   Miss Maggie is not only a town symbol and icon, but a recognition of the original Maggie Mae Setzer.

Miss Maggie

Ghost Town In the Sky

Ghost Town Maggie Valley

Ghost Town in the Sky, was a highly successful Wild West themed, mountain top amusement park that opened in the early 1960s.  The park brought thousands of visitors to Maggie Valley each day during its prime.  Unfortunately interest in the park began to decline during the 80s, and the park suffered financially during the 90s and 2000s.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to reopen over the past 10 years, Ghost Town is now permanently closed and for sale.

While Maggie Valley NC is so much more than just Ghost Town, many people worldwide were introduced to Maggie Valley, NC due to Ghost Town.  The park had a profound and memorable impact on this small and wonderful mountain town.

>> See our full write-up on Ghost Town to learn more about it.

Raymond Fairchild – Famous Banjo Player

Not only is Maggie Mae famous, but another national celebrity has his roots in Maggie Valley as well.   Raymond Fairchild, while born in nearby Cherokee, often played banjo at the Maggie Valley General Store for tips.

The store owner, Ted Sutton taught young Raymond about show business.  Raymond Fairchild went on to form The Maggie Valley Boys, and performed on the Grand Ole Oprey and many other places in the United States and around the world.

Raymond Fairchild is a five award champion banjo player, and has two gold records.  His most famous, and signature song is “Whoa Mule”, which has it’s own unique character due to some of the song being played on the reverse side of the banjo bridge.

Raymond can be found today, still playing in Maggie Valley at the Maggie Valley Oprey.