The Burke County town of Glen Alpine has a unique history of name changes. It also shares the story of many Western North Carolina Foothills towns - tied to the past of railroads and textiles yet hopeful of a future of the outdoors, tourism, and the arts.
Glen Alpine's story dates to the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad. The railroad came through the area in 1868, and the community was originally named 'Turkey Tail'. The name 'Turkey Tail' came from a tree near the railroad whose shape reminded settlers of a turkey's tail.
Not long after, two brothers - Columbus and Edmund Sigmund - who operated a store and post office renamed the town, Sigmundsburg. This name was also short-lived; as by 1883, the town was renamed Glen Alpine Station. A little over a decade later, 'Station' was dropped from the name.
Glen Alpine's quaint downtown is home to a restaurant, an outfitter, a small town drug store, and other small businesses. The downtown sits on a hill above US 70 and like many nearby towns bordered by the railroad.
Just to the east of downtown sits the former Glen Alpine Knitting Mills. Constructed in 1915 for the production of cotton socks, the historic mill building is now home to Lake James Winery and also an antique store.
Glen Alpine is a charming small town in North Carolina's Foothills. It's located about 15 minutes from Lake James State Park to the east and 15 minutes from Morganton to the west.
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