In 1922, the first paved highway opened from Murphy to the Georgia line and the Asheville to Murphy highway opened in 1926. In 1936, the Tennessee Valley Authority started construction of the Hiwassee Dam. The Hiwassee, Valley, and Nottely Rivers and their tributaries provide an abundant supply of water to the dam. The face of these mountains changed when the lights came on in nearly every home, barn, and store in the county. With the introduction of electricity, progress caught up with the quiet, simple, and proud, yet harsh mountain way of life. Over 3,000 settlers lived in the area when Cherokee County was formed in 1839. By 1860, the population had grown to over 9,000. Today’s population is over 27,000, yet Cherokee County still maintains its quiet mountain way of life.
The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center is located on US Hwy 64 West, a main artery receiving incoming traffic from Georgia, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina. The Welcome Center currently carries the Blue Ridge Heritage Driving Trail map, Blue Ridge Music Trails map, and Blue Ridge Craft Trails information. The Welcome Center is also home to the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and helps visitors find member businesses and studios.