Copyright 2014 by Tony Austin
A Chronological History of Lake Toxaway
1890s - 1902
ToxawayTony.com
"The Toxaway Company owns several thousand acres of land in southwestern
North Carolina and, besides other enterprises, operates several summer hotels.
In 1902 the company found that the hotels at Brevard, Sapphire and Fairfield
were not able to take care of the summer tourists and it was decided to build a
new hotel on the shore of a new lake to be called Lake Toxaway."
("The Toxaway Dam" - University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905)
1890s - In the late 1800s many thought that western North
Carolina was ripe for developing. One of these was J.
Frances Hayes of Newcastle, Pennsylvania, who came to
Transylvania County for health reasons and and because he
saw the potential for the area. Hayes and E. H. Jennings
were responsible for  the Fairfield Inn, the Sapphire Inn,
the Lodge, the Franklin Hotel and the Toxaway Inn.
( Plemmons,Treasures of Toxaway, pg 1,5)
1895 - Joseph Silversteen came to the area about 1895. He
line was completed from Hendersonville to Brevard which
brought both freight and passenger service.
1896 - J. Frances Hayes founded the Toxaway Company.
The Toxaway Company purchased the land holdings of the
Sapphire Valley Company and built the first resort in the
area, the Fairfield and Lake Fairfield.
(Phillips, Transylvania Architectural History of a Mountain Community,
pg 32)
(Plemmons,Treasures of Toxaway)
1896 and the Sapphire Inn set to open later in 1897, it was
time to turn attention to the Lake Toxaway property.
Henry Scadin was a photographer and horticulturist from
Michigan who spent time in Sapphire and the area from
1895 through 1903 documenting the construction of the
resorts that were built there. On January 7, 1897, Mr.
Hayes and Mr. Scadin went out on horseback to scout out
a site for the Toxaway Inn.  Scadin wrote in his diary,
“This forenoon I took a horseback ride with the hotel men.  
We went to both lake basins & over the new road at
Fairfield.  Mr. Hayes is trying to decide where to put the
new hotel.”
(R. Henry Scadis Collection, D. H. Ramsey Librrary, UNC Asheville)
July 1, 1900 - Toxaway Company built the luxurious
Franklin Hotel in Brevard. It provided first class
accommodations for patrons of the Toxaway Company’s
other resort hotels who wished to stop over en route to
Sapphire Country. “A travel brochure published by
Southern Railroad in 1913 stated that the Franklin Hotel
had a guest capacity of 125, had fireplace heat and
accommodations were $2.50 per week.”
(Phillips, Transylvania Architectural History, pg 32)
Early 1902 - With the resorts in Franklin and Sapphire
work on its third and most prestigious resort, the Toxaway
Inn. The company ordered a survey of the lake bed and
dam site by local engineers and tentative plans of a rock fill
dam were made.
(University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905, pg 152)
April 1902 - The Toxaway Inn and resort were beginning
to take shape. J. Francis Hayes and his wife Minnie
conveyed ten large tracts to Toxaway Company in
preparation for the Toxaway Resort. The company was
creating the first man-made lake of any size by blocking the
Toxaway River. Construction was soon to begin on a dam
500 feet long, 60 feet high and 20 feet wide at the top. The
resulting lake would be  3 miles long, a mile wide with 15
miles of shoreline.
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June 1, 1902 - Early in 1902 a survey of the lake bed and
the dam site was made by the local engineers of the
company, and tentative plans for a  rock fill dam were
made.  The dam was designed for the site finally adopted
and was to be 550 feet long and 60 feet high. The body of
the dam was to be made of rock and blasted from the
nearby cliffs, and was to be puddled with clay. A contract
was made with Oates and Cowan of Ashevillle, N. C., and
work was begun about June 1, 1902
("The Toxaway Dam" - University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905, pg 55)
July 26, 1902 - After careful examination an earthen dam
was approved to be constructed instead of the rock dam.
Blasting of rock for the rock dam continued until July 26,
1902.
August 1, 1902 - The Toxaway Company decided to take
the work out of the contractors’ hands and complete it. At
the request of the company, Milo S. Ketchum took
personal charge of the work as superintendent and engineer.
Sept 4, 1902 - The site had been completely cleared.
Several thousand yards of puddle had been placed. Milo S.
Ketchum turned over the organizing of the work to the
Company’s engineer, Mr. Thos. S. Boxwell .
("The Toxaway Dam" - University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905, pg 55)
("The Toxaway Dam" - University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905, pg 58)
("The Toxaway Dam" - University of Colorado. Journal of Engineering, 1905, pg 55)
begin filling the lake bed. Nearly six months later, water ran
over the spillway.
1903
January 7, 1897 - With the Fairfield Inn opening in 1896
and the Sapphire Inn set to open later in 1897, it was time
to turn attention to the Lake Toxaway property. Henry
Scadin was a photographer and horticulturist from
Michigan who spent time in Sapphire and the area from
1895 through 1903 documenting the construction of the
three lakes -- Fairfield, Sapphire and Toxaway -- and the
resorts that were built there. On January 7, 1897, Mr.
Hayes and Mr. Scadin went out on horseback to scout out
a site for the Toxaway Inn.  Scadin wrote in his diary,
“This forenoon I took a horseback ride with the hotel men.  
We went to both lake basins & over the new road at
Fairfield.  Mr. Hayes is trying to decide where to put the
new hotel.”
(R. Henry Scadin Collection - D.H. Ramsey Library, UNC Asheville)