The Land of Waterfalls
By Jim Bob Tinsley
Published by Jim Bob and Dottie Tinsley, 1988.
Classifying this book is difficult. It is definitely not a guide book for waterfall hikers. It’s not even exclusively about waterfalls. The full title is The Land of Waterfalls, Transylvania County, North Carolina, so it is really about Transylvania County. Believe it or not, this is a history book.
Even the author is hard to categorize. An established writer having published several books (note this book is self-published), Jim Bob Tinsley is also a member of the Western Music Association Hall of Fame and once sang a duet with Winston Churchill. Readers are encouraged to do a little research on Jim Bob.
Published in 1988, the book is apparently out of print since new copies sell for about $150 but good used copies can be found for a reasonable price. The reviewer’s recently obtained copy turned out to be autographed.
In gathering his material for the book, Tinsley didn’t seem to have a cohesive theme except that the information presented had to be about historical aspects of Transylvania County. He ended up with four topics:
- Waterfalls, 61 cascades are documented.
- Long rifle manufacturing in the 1800s.
- Hunting using long rifles during the same period.
- The story of Major Lewis R. Redmond, local moonshiner and outlaw.
But to focus on the waterfalls. Jim Bob sectioned the County into 4 areas and provided a map showing the approximate location of the falls in that area. A large black-and-white photo of each waterfall accompanies a historical narrative containing marvelous bits of information such as who named the falls and why, who owned the land, and what structures were built near the falls.
Some of the photos are truly special showing early views of the falls and the mills and houses built close by. Of special interest is a shot of Toxaway Falls before the 1913 dam break, showing what the rock face looked like before being scoured by the flood.
So, even though this is not a guide and provides no trail information, this is a must-have book for any serious waterfaller. There are plenty of books about how to get to a waterfall but this volume makes the visit so much more meaningful in knowing not just the where but the who, what and why.