The state's official bird, the cardinal, is also the state bird of six other states.
Swain County, located in western North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The land was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, who were forced to relocate during the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. The county was officially established in 1871 and was named after David L. Swain, the former governor of North Carolina and president of the University of North Carolina.

The logging industry played a significant role in the early history of Swain County. The area was rich in timber resources, and logging became a major economic activity. Sawmills were established throughout the county, and timber was transported using the Little Tennessee River and its tributaries. As the logging industry grew, so did the population of Swain County.

In the early 20th century, the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Little Tennessee River led to the creation of Fontana Lake. The flooding of the valley forced the residents of several small communities, including the historic town of Proctor, to relocate. The creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934 further impacted Swain County, as thousands of acres of land were acquired for the park, displacing hundreds of residents.

In recent years, Swain County has focused on revitalizing its economy through tourism and outdoor recreation. The county is home to part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it a popular destination for hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts. The town of Bryson City, the county seat, has also become a hub for outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting and fishing. Despite the challenges it has faced throughout its history, Swain County continues to thrive as a beautiful and vibrant community.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Swain County, North Carolina.

  • 1871: Swain County is established from parts of Jackson County and Macon County.
  • 1873: Bryson City is incorporated as the county seat.
  • 1882: The county's first high school, Swain County High School, is established.
  • 1889: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established in part of Swain County.
  • 1911: The county's first newspaper, The Bryson City Times, is published.
  • 1928: The construction of Fontana Dam begins, which leads to the flooding of portions of Swain County to create Fontana Lake.
  • 1943: The construction of Fontana Dam is completed.
  • 1964: The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is opened in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • 1983: The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad begins operations, offering scenic train rides through Swain County.
  • 1997: The Cherokee Indian Reservation, located partially in Swain County, opens Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.
  • 2010: The total population of Swain County reaches over 13,000 residents.