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Feb. 7, 2023, 3:59 p.m.

Old Fort Celebrates 150 Years


Old Fort has reached a historic milestone this year, and the 150 Project is pulling out all the stops to celebrate this sesquicentennial anniversary. Organizers are planning 150 events throughout the year, each celebrating something unique and significant about Old Fort, NC. Visitors will be charmed by the small-town atmosphere of a quaint mountain town during this commemorative year – something getting harder to find these days.

150 year anniversary of Old Fort in 2023

The Kick-off Event is set for Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 5 to 7 pm at the Old Fort Elementary School. Admission is free and residents and visitors will be welcomed with a slate of guest speakers, refreshments, and music. Festivities will be followed by a student art exhibit and wax museum, as well as a presentation on Old Fort’s history. More about that to follow.

The next event, slated for March 23, is A Writer's Walk: Elevating the Literary Significance of Old Fort, NC. Numerous authors and historians who have written about and lived in Old Fort over the years will be featured at book signings and meet-and-greets at 5 locations around town. Arrowhead Gallery, Mountain Gateway Museum, Catawba Vale Hub, Davis's General Store and the Depot will serve as hosts to these literary luminaries.

Maude and Ethel

The raucous duo, Maude and Ethel, will be starring in a variety show celebrating the sesquicentennial that weekend. On Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, from 6:30 to 9 pm, the two will be performing Maude and Ethel Celebrate 150 Years of Old Fort! at the Old Fort Elementary School. They will be waxing nostalgic about their memories and stories of Old Fort, although they tend to take some creative license! Throughout the show, they will be introducing guests and musical segments guaranteed to bring the house down.

More scheduled events will be announced shortly.

Old Fort's Rich History

Old Fort was originally the home to Catawba and Cherokee Native Americans. During the Revolutionary War, a fort was built here as a post for military expeditions as a western outpost. Named Davidson’s Fort, the site became a trading post between settlers and Native Americans. Today, Davidson’s Fort Historic Park, a non-profit corporation, is rebuilding the historic fort. In 1872, the town of Catawba Vale was founded. The town name was changed to Old Fort on February 23, 1873, to honor its origins.

Since 1869, Old Fort has become known as a waystation for travelers on their way up the mountain to Asheville. But in recent years, Old Fort has become a destination on its own, with miles of new hiking and mountain-biking trails being opened as part of the Year of the Trails NC.

There has never been a better time to visit the historic town of Old Fort and its milestone anniversary being celebrated by the 150 Project this year!