Jackson County, created in 1851, built a brand new town named Webster to be its county seat. Court was held at Daniel Bryson’s home and at Alan Fisher’s store until the courthouse was finished. In 1887, a second courthouse was built, but the new railroad had bypassed Webster three years earlier. In 1913, a controversial election moved the county seat a few miles north to Sylva, a new town that had sprung up alongside the railroad. Jackson County’s third courthouse was modeled on the recently built Madison County courthouse, a brick neo-classical revival building. The picturesque building is situated on a low hilltop and dominates downtown Sylva. It is advertised as North Carolina’s most photographed courthouse, a claim no longer technically true since Jackson County built its fourth courthouse in 1994.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio: