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History enthusiast to talk about early days of Saluda

James Metcalf will present the story of early Saluda, focusing on history long before 1881 when Saluda's 1881 charter and  before the railroad was cut into the steep gorge of what is now known as the Saluda Grade, in the Historic Saluda Committee's Step Back in History Series at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Saluda Public Library.

JamesMetcalfJames MetcalfIn the very early years, this region was often referred to as Pace's Ridge or Pace's Gap, named after the Pace family who were early settlers. The Cherokee once roamed the land and early pioneers turned the mountain wilderness into a transportation crossroads for Western North Carolina. In addition to the Pace family, families with surnames such as Metcalf, Guice, Staton, Thompson and Morris molded the mountains into a community of trading posts, churches, farms and mills.

Metcalf, a direct descendant of many of these early pioneer families, will share their stories, including local tales of the battles of the American Revolution and Civil War, along with other challenges and triumphs of the early settlers that led to the founding of Saluda.

Metcalf, from the Fork Creek community of Saluda, has been a board member of the Polk County Historical Association for many years and is chief docent at the Polk County Historical Museum in Columbus. Metcalf has also been a local radio announcer for 20 years, currently at WWQT 1160 and is a musician and songwriter. He has been the music director of Fork Creek Baptist Church for several decades. This program is free and open to the public. For more information contact Cindy Tuttle at