Jefferson and West Jefferson

Jefferson and West Jefferson

The twin cities of Jefferson and West Jefferson lie in the center of Ashe County. They are classic small towns, with warm, friendly people - and there's always a place to park. Jefferson was the first to be founded, and is the oldest incorporated town in the High Country. It started in 1800 as the county seat for Ashe, which the General Assembly formed the year before. The new town stood near the base of Mount Jefferson. Both bore the name of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, vice president and then a political hero along the western frontier. Later that year, he would win election as president of the United States.


Even as the population of Ashe County grew, Jefferson remained a quiet place, with relatively few homes and a courthouse. The focus of the county was, as it still remains, in the rural parts. Then the railroad came. Overnight, boom towns like Lansing and Todd grew. Logging meant work and money was relatively plentiful.

All that, however, bypassed the Town of Jefferson. In 1917, a group of investors founded West Jefferson. Located south and west of Jefferson, the new community attracted the railroad. Jefferson went into an immediate decline. West Jefferson became the economic center of the county, though Todd, a major railroad center, was larger.

Eventually, the railroad left. Lansing, Todd and other rail towns shrank to their present size. Fortunately, the Jeffersons soon had good roads and prospered. Today, the towns have differences and similarities. The old courthouse and surrounding buildings in Jefferson are the center of county government. A shopping center is located there, offering retail stores and services. The beautiful Ashe County Park and the Foster-Tyson Park is a perfect spot for an in-town picnic.

West Jefferson's downtown is busy and active. The old stores still stand and are full of interesting, dynamic shops. The town's stores offer everything from real estate to clothes. The visitor center, operated by the Chamber of Commerce, offers answers to questions and a wide selection of brochures.

West Jefferson is home of the Christmas in July festival, an annual summer celebration of the holiday and the Christmas tree industry. The event features two days of live music, over 100 art and craft booths, and the friendliest people you could find anywhere!Jefferson and West Jefferson

The Jeffersons are also the gateway to the region's two state parks. Mount Jefferson State Park is located just off the "new road" (know where that is?). To the north of Jefferson are the access areas for the New River State Park. Just south of West Jefferson, near the community of Beaver Creek, is St. Mary's Episcopal Church. This is the home of the famous fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of the Madonna pregnant with Jesus hangs on the sanctuary wall. Come to the Jeffersons and find what it was that made small-town life so special. You'll find that special life alive and well in these wonderful twin town.


West Jefferson

Ashe County Chamber-Commerce:
01 North Jefferson Avenue
Suite C, PO Box 31
West Jefferson, North Carolina 28694
Phone: 336-846-9550
Toll Free: 888-343-2743
Fax: 336-846-8671

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