SALUDA, N.C. (WSPA) – In 1878, the first train came through the town now known as Saluda. It was part of the Spartanburg and Asheville Railroad.
“Once the passengers started coming up, they came up here in droves,” said David O’Brien, who is part of the Saluda Historic Depot & Museum’s Board of Directors.
The town quickly grew. Hotels and businesses opened to accommodate the many tourists.
“In the late 1800s, you had maybe 40,000 people come through this [train] depot,” explained O’Brien. “Three years later in 1900, there were 300,000.”
In the 1960s, construction began on Interstate 26 to connect Charleston to Asheville. People began traveling through the area by car, and there was less demand for trains. The last passenger train passed through Saluda in 1968. But, O’Brien said that did not stop tourists from visiting.
“Saluda is still thriving well,” said O’Brien.
Today, Saluda looks like it did in the 1920s. According to the Saluda Historic Depot & Museum, most of the buildings on Main Street are on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We have the unofficial motto –’Time did not pass us by. We asked it to go around,'” said O’Brien.
The historic charm is one of the things that brings people to Saluda. Jesse Sweezy told 7NEWS he has lived there for 34 years.
“It’s just quiet and peaceful,” said Sweezy. “Nobody bothers you. Everybody knows your business.”
Thousands of people continue to visit Saluda every year. O’Brien said the history of the town remains at its heart.
“We like to feel that understanding your history gives you an appreciation for where you are now,” said O’Brien.
Learn more about our special guests by clicking below:
- City of Saluda
- Coon Dog Day
- First Responder Friday: Saluda FD, PD
- eARThly Minds Gallery
- Green River Adventures
- M. A. Pace General Store
- Saluda Historic Depot
- The Dressing Room Etc.
- The Purple Onion
- The SPOT
- Wakey Monkey
- Ward’s Grill