Dillsboro North Carolina
“Yesterday’s Village…Today”

Town of Dillsboro NC

Dillsboro North Carolina is a charming small tourist railroad town located in the middle of Western North Carolina’s premier attractions and activities. Dillsboro has been a tourist town in Jackson County on the banks of the Tuckasegee River since the late 19th century when the railroad first brought visitors to the “land of the sky” to escape the summer heat. More than a century later, Dillsboro has changed very little — a small country village with pristine white houses, rustic old shops, galleries, restaurants and quaint country inns. The founder, Thomas Dills’ home still stands, as do many of the shops that first opened their doors in the 1800s.

Dillsboro is centrally located to and minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the Nantahala River and the South’s most scenic mountains, rivers and waterfalls.

Dillsboro is five square blocks of century-old stores, restaurants, galleries and inns are a nostalgic reminder of small town America, the way our grandparents knew it. The only way to experience Dillsboro is on foot, strolling from shop to shop. Along the way, you may wander into an artisan’s studio to watch the creation of one-of-a-kind, hand-made works of fibers, clay, glass, metal or precious gems.

History of Dillsboro NC

Dillsboro NC was founded in the late 1800s by William Allen Dills, Dillsboro was a central location even then – situated in an area busy with lumber and mining commerce. Dillsboro was originally known as New Webster to distinguish it from the older Jackson County seat town just 3 miles to the East. In 1889, the state legislature approved the change of name to Dillsboro to honor William Allen Dills who had selected the site, locating it on his farm.

Dillsboro grew up around the railroad, providing goods and services for those who used the Southern Railway and became an important transportation center for local industry. Two passenger trains and two freight trains operated daily between Asheville to the East and Murphy to the West. The freight for Franklin was hauled in covered wagons, which camped twice a week on Depot Square. Passengers descended from the train at Dillsboro to shop, visit with relatives and friends or vacation in the area.

The Dills house, which was the first house in Dillsboro, is still standing and is now occupied by Riverwood Shops, located on a hill overlooking Scott’s Creek and the Tuckaseigee River. Mr. Dills operated the town’s first post office from his home.

The railroad was built by convict labor furnished by the state and they were housed behind stockades near the 836-foot Cowee Tunnel. It required eighteen months to cut through almost solid rock to complete the project.

  • Western NC Pottery Festival
  • Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
  • Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
  • Colorfest Arts Fest in Dillsboro
  • Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
  • Heritage Walking Tour: Historic Dillsboro

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