HIGHLANDS — In June 1787 botanist Andrẻ Michaux crossed into North Carolina, starting out in South Carolina and crossing the Highland Plateau near North Carolina’s Wildcat Gap. During his explorations with his son and two Cherokee guides, he discovered one of the rarest wildflowers in North America, the Shortia galacifolia in South Carolina.
Recognition of this second botanist to enter North Carolina will be bestowed on June 15 with the dedication of a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker on West Main Street in Highlands between Second and Third Streets.
The Frenchman Michaux documented severe hardship endured by his party, including steep peaks, wide rivers and creeks, persistent fog, and also snakes and bears. On June 16 the party crossed several mountains and creeks which were the headwaters of the “Tenasee” River, near present-day Franklin. Michaux crossed the Carolina Piedmont several times from 1789 to1796. His journals detail the conditions of the region and its geographic features.
For additional information, please contact Randolph Shaffner at (828) 526-5622. For information about the N.C. Highway Marker Program, please call (919) 807-7290. The Highway Marker program is a collaboration between the N.C. Department of Transportation and the N. C. Department of Cultural Resources.
For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.