Webster North Carolina
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Webster North Carolina

Though modest in size, the town of Webster ranks high on the significance scale due to its historical background. In the mid 1800's, an 18-acre tract was purchased in the northern region of Jackson County for the specific purpose of establishing a county seat. The tract of land purchased was on a hill overlooking the Tuckasegee River. The town of Webster was incorporated in 1859 and established as the county seat for Jackson County, where upon a courthouse was erected. During the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad there was a debate between the older town of Webster and Sylva as to where the county seat should be. Webster was the official county seat, yet Sylva, a younger and upcoming town, was situated along a preferred route for the railroad.

With the town of Dillsboro just a stone's throw away from Sylva, it seemed to be the better choice. Webster wasn't willing to give up the county seat easily, causing the formation of a committee called the "removalists": a group of county residents who wanted the switch to Sylva. The way the story goes is that the county's state government representative was said to be fond of his drink and was taken aside at a crucial moment during the voting process and plied with liquor by an individual desiring a more direct route from Sylva to Dillsboro. In 1913 it became official: Sylva was the new county seat.

Personally this writer believes that all this squabbling had an air of "land speculation" about it with the coming of the railroad; yet in defense of the railroad, the distance between the towns of Sylva and Dillsboro was but a stroll whereas Sylva and Webster were separated by a small mountain and more miles of track to lay.

Today historic Webster is a quaint community of residential homes, small businesses, and the historic Webster United Methodist Church located in the center of town along the picturesque Tuckasegee River. Built in 1881, the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A monument of sorts, recognizing the town's disapproval concerning the removal of the county seat is displayed by an oversized rocking chair alongside the roadway a few doors away from the church, with graffiti reading "County Seat. In memory of George Penland, For the Nitpickers." One thing to be noted about small communities is how important it is to have a last say in a matter.

For the Nit Pickers

The eastern border of the town runs along Hwy 107, which is the main-route traveling north to south across Jackson County. Along this section of 107 in Webster are numerous local and regional franchise businesses, plus local services. One notable feature near this route is the campus of the Southwestern Community College, a top ranked two-year school that offers a college transfer as well as a variety of technical degrees and certifications.

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