Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on November 22, 2023.
Before you explore the things to do in this fun-filled mountain town, we think you should know these important facts about Maggie Valley, North Carolina. They cover some of the area’s most interesting places you can visit in Maggie Valley today and its history.
Our guide also goes back hundreds of years to the time before the Town of Maggie Valley even existed. Whether you’re planning your first trip to the area or know it well, we know there should be at least one thing you didn’t know before.
Here’s an outline to our guide if you want to jump ahead:
- Facts About Maggie Valley (Stats and Geography)
- The History of Maggie Valley NC
- Maggie Valley Today
- Things in Do in Maggie Valley
Read More: Interesting Facts About North Carolina
Facts About Maggie Valley (Stats and Geography)
The first of our facts about Maggie Valley mostly cover geographic features and location.
- Maggie Valley is located in Haywood County, about 35 miles west of Asheville and is one of the popular day trips away.
- US-19 is the main road that runs through town. It connects Maggie Valley to Cherokee, 16 miles to the west.
- The county has the highest median elevation of any county east of the Rockies.
- With an elevation of about 3,000 feet, Maggie Valley enjoys milder summers than in Asheville and other lower-lying towns.
- Maggie Valley is named after Maggie Mae Setzer, whose father John founded the first post office in the valley. Setzer’s descendants still come from all over the country for a large family reunion.
- The area of the town is 3.2 square miles, all on land.
- As of the 2020 census, Maggie Valley has a population of more than 1,200.
Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map
The History of Maggie Valley NC
From here, the majority of facts about Maggie Valley are historic. We start with the brief information we have about inhabitants before European settlers arrived.
- Cherokee Indians occupied the land that makes up Maggie Valley.
- They created a network of trails, which are now used as roads. Two examples include US-276 and US-19, also known as Soco Rd.
- Wild elk also inhabited the area, until over-hunting and loss of habitat led to the sub-species’ extinction.
18th Century (First Settlers)
- The first settlers used the “Indian Trails” to reach the Maggie Valley area.
- David Nelson is regarded as the first “known” settler in Maggie Valley. He arrived in 1785 and grew corn on his plot of land.
- Other individuals arrived in the area soonafter.
19th Century (Pre-Maggie Valley)
- In the early 19th century, a man named Henry Plott came to the area with his hunting dogs. Those dogs came to be known as the Plott Hound, which was designated as North Carolina’s State Dog in 1989.
- Haywood County formed in 1808 from parts of western Buncombe County.
- The county originally stretched from its currently eastern edges all the way to Murphy at the western edge of North Carolina.
- That wouldn’t last long because Macon County was established in 1828 from parts of Haywood County.
- Jackson County was established from parts of Haywood and Macon counties in 1851.
- In 1860, Henry’s Chapel became the first church established in Maggie Valley. Today, it’s known as Maggie Valley United Methodist Church.
- Near the end of the Civil War, Kirk’s Raiders used the Cataloochee Turnpike to move through the area. Two soldiers were killed during this time.
- In 1895, loggers arrive in the area and established a camp at Black Camp Gap.
20th Century Facts About Maggie Valley
- The community still didn’t have a name by the turn of the 20th century. That would change in 1904, John Sidney Setzer founded the town by asking when the US Postal Service to establish a post office in his home parlor.
- The Postal Service needed a name, and he submitted the names of his daughters—Cora, Maggie, and Mettie.
- He was given permission to establish the Maggie Post Office on May 10, 1904.
- The town was officially named “Maggie” as a result.
- One-room schoolhouses were found throughout the area until the four-room Maggie Valley School was built in 1930. It closed in 1986 after serving the communities of Maggie Valley, Jonathan Creek, and Dellwood.
- Also in 1930, Maggie Valley’s Soco Dance Team went to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Among many dignitaries, the Queen of England was in attendance.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1934. The National Parks Service continued acquiring land for the park, leading to evacuations of nearby Cataloochee communities. Maggie Valley received some of the families who left their homes.
- Construction of the Haywood County portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway commenced in 1941. Many of our favorite stops and hiking trails are in this portion.
- Famous moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton was born in 1946.
- 1946 was a momentous year for another reason, as US-19 was paved from Soco Gap to Cherokee. Highlights along the way include Soco Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. Many people refer to this section of US-19 as Soco Road.
- The Mount Valley Lodge, Maggie Valley’s first motel, opened in 1950.
- In 1959, the Maggie Valley Volunteer Fire Department was established.
- The Cataloochee Ski Area opened in 1961, with four snow-making machines. It was the first ski resort to open in North Carolina.
- Another twofer good year, the famed Ghost Town in the Sky opened in 1961. The amusement park operated for 41 consecutive summers and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It closed in 2002 but there are always talks of a reopening.
- The Maggie Valley Country Club opened in 1963, with nine holes awaiting golfers.
Read More: 18 Unique Luxury Resorts in North Carolina
- Joey’s Pancake House first opened in 1966. Original co-owner Joey O’Keefe passed away in 2001 and the restaurant briefly closed in 2017. It reopened in 2018 and continues to serve some of the best breakfast in North Carolina. Arrive as early as possible if you want to get a seat.
- Maggie Valley became an unincorporated municipality known as “The Town of Maggie Valley” in 1974.
- The elected its first mayor (Clarence “Woody” Fowler) and aldermen (Kyle Edwards, Russell Meyer, Sam McCrary, and Tom Pressley).
- In 1976, the Maggie Valley Police Department was estabished. The first police chief to be appointed is I.C. Sutton.
- Maggie Setzer, the namesake of Maggie Valley passed away in 1979 at the age of 88. Her spirit lives on as citizens continue to dress up as “Miss Maggie.”
- Four decades after prohibition ended in North Carolina, Haywood County’s first ABC Store opened in Maggie Valley to sell alcoholic beverages in 1979.
- In 1980, the first Town Census record a population of 202 in Maggie Valley.
- The Stompin’ Ground were built in 1982 and remain known as the “Clogging Capital of the World.”
- One year later, award-winning banjo player Raymond Fairchild opened the Maggie Valley Opry House in 1983. Shortly after Fairchild’s passing in 2019, the Opry House permanently closed.
- In 1989, Saralyn Price became the second female police chief in North Carolina and the first in Maggie Valley.
Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina
Facts About Maggie Valley Today (21st Century Through Now)
- Maggie Valley’s population tripled to more than 600 by the 2000 census.
- A familiar site returned to the area in 2001. The National Parks Service began its Elk Restoration Program in the Cataloochee Valley. More than 50 elk were released over a two year period within Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its surroundings. Elk can commonly be spotted within the town limits of Maggie Valley. Don’t be surprised if they pop up on your land.
- In 2002, the Wheels Through Time Museum opened. Dale Walksler’s museum remains a wonderful showcase of rare motorcycles and vehicles used throughout United States history.
- The Maggie Valley Festival Grounds began hosting events in 2003.
- Maggie Valley and much of Western NC was designated as a Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, also in 2003.
- Elevated Mountain Distilling Company opened in 2017. It is Maggie Valley’s first legal distillery.
- Maggie Valley’s population has increased to 1,267, according to the 2020 US Census.
- In 2020, Canton-based BearWaters Brewing opened its “Creekside” location in Maggie Valley. We think it’s one of the hoppiest breweries in North Carolina!
- In 2021, Tropical Storm Fred greatly impacted Western North Carolina, including some communities in Haywood County. The Maggie Valley community helped their neighbors in a variety of ways.
- “Hillbilly Jam” at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds raised thousands of dollars for those affected.
- In 2022, Blue Ridge Craft Trails were unveiled, featuring artists from Maggie Valley and more locations throughout Western NC.
Beyond Facts About Maggie Valley (Things to Do)
These facts about Maggie Valley have shaped it into an awesome town that greets residents and visitors every day. We suggest you plan a trip to this wonderful spot in the Smoky Mountains.
Start your day with the best pancakes of your life from Joey’s, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park (especially during fall), and end your day with a pint and a sandwich from Bearwaters Brewing. This is just the start of your Maggie Valley adventure.
Here are some more ways to enjoy the area.