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History: Welcome

Coffey's General Store is a landmark in Edgemont, North Carolina and is the centerpiece of attraction in this isolated community located in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest.  For a number of years, the store was owned and operated by Archie Coffey who is still remembered and revered by all that knew him.  Archie Coffey’s father, Gus bought the country store from Charlie Curlee in 1919.  Curlee had bought it from Judd Coffey, no relation to Gus, in 1895.  The history of the store before 1895 is sketchy.  In 1936 Archie Coffey took over the Edgemont Store and ran it until he died in 1986.  The store has been the mainstay of the community and center of activity of the goings-on in Edgemont.”

The Wilson Creek Wilderness area was once used by the Cherokee Indians as a summer hunting grounds. It was settled in 1750, and logging began on the dense forest. Mortimer, once the largest community in the Wilson Creek area, was the site of the Ritter Lumber Company sawmill which was destroyed by over 20 inches of rain in 24 hours in July 1916. The week before, a soaking rain had already saturated the ground and heavy lumbering aggravated the speed of the water rushing through the gorge. After a year, efforts to rebuild brought back the sawmill and a textile mill with the community served by a railroad line. The mills provided jobs enough to sustain 800 residents. If still in existence, Mortimer would be the county seat of Caldwell County, North Carolina (which is now Lenoir, North Carolina) However, it flooded again with Wilson Creek reaching over a 90-foot flood stage on August 13, 1940 ending all efforts to bring in industry, leaving the area virtually deserted. The concrete shells of the old facilities are visible in a park area. Only a few residents and homes remain upstream at Edgemont, with most of the downstream area maintained for public use by the US Forestry Service.




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