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Sylva NC

Sylva North Carolina
“Plott Balsam Mountains”

Town of Sylva NC

Sylva North Carolina located in Jackson County in the Plott Balsam Mountains of Western North Carolina. Sylva is a small town located in the middle of premier activities and attractions to the nearby the Great Smoky Mountains. The historic Jackson County Courthouse on Main Street was built in 1914. Considered to be the “most photographed court house” in North Carolina. For a great view of the downtown area climb the 107 steps of the courthouse and look back towards main street.

Our downtown, a Main Street community, has many restaurants and shops along its tree-lined streets. Downtown Sylva has independent businesses, unique restaurants, breweries, and quality events for families and visitors. Don’t forget to check out, Sylva’s annual Greening Up the Mountain street festival and Concerts on the Creek summer weekly concerts.

Sylva NC has many recreational opportunities within the town. There is a state of the art playground designed by our children and built by the community. In addition, Pinnacle Park, has hiking trails, waterfalls, and a town view from 5,000 feet. The nearby Tuckasegee River is known for its whitewater rafting and fly-fishing trout adventures. One of the most heavily visited National Parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a 30-minute drive away.

History of Sylva NC

The town of Sylva is named for William D. Sylva, a Danish handyman who spent a month in the home of General E. R. Hampton, who owned much of the land later developed as downtown Sylva. When the town applied for a post office, Hampton asked his young daughter Mae what the town’s name should be. She liked the handyman so much she said, “Sylva.”This account is disputed: according to a 21st-century investigation, the handyman William D. Sylva was not Danish, and it is likely that his surname was not Sylva. His last name was “Selvey;” the letter that he wrote to the town was likely in Spanish, not Danish; and he was probably from the Little Canada Community. His daughter’s maiden last name was Selvey according to genealogical archives. Her daughter (who recently came to the town) said that her grandfather’s surname was “Selvey” instead.

The town became the county seat in 1913 after the county voted to move the seat from Webster to Sylva, which gained a railroad station. Subsequently, Webster declined, as the railroad had not established a stop in that town. Many businesses followed the court and railroad to Sylva. The majestic Jackson County Courthouse was constructed in 1914 and is sited dramatically on a hill at the end of Main Street in downtown Sylva. (The building no longer serves as the official courthouse; the Justice Center was constructed in 1994, a few blocks away.) Since 2011, the Jackson County Courthouse has been the site of the Jackson County Public Library.

  • Greening up the Mountain Festival
  • Concerts on the Creek
  • Sylva 4th of July Fireworks
  • The Pinnacle Hike
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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