The Rickman Store is located in the heart of the Cowee-West’s Mill Historic District in the Cowee Community, once one of the most important townships of the Cherokee nation. This stop showcases the ways of life from past and the craft traditions of the present. Built in 1895, the Rickman Store served the community for more than 69 years under the management of Tom M. Rickman who purchased the building in 1925. In 2007 the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT), now Mainspring Conservation Trust, acquired the building to guarantee its preservation. A group of community neighbors organized as the Friends of the Rickman Store to raise funds for its purchase. The Friends continue opening the store to the community and offering a variety of cultural and educational events.
Visitors to the store will experience the feeling of stepping back in time. Dry goods shelves, potbelly stove, display cases, and wooden flooring—all original to the store—welcome visitors. Mr. Rickman acquired an apple orchard and maintained an apple cellar connected to the store. Today in the cellar, a gem mine display illustrates the importance of mining in the community and information about Mainspring Conservation Trust highlights its preservation efforts. On Saturdays, visitors are welcome to take part in the legendary jam session where local and visiting musicians can be heard playing the music of the mountains in the traditional circle jam format.
In addition to the preserved historical elements of Rickman’s Store, visitors will find decorative and utilitarian pottery by local artisans, hand crafted wooden utensils, toys, corn husk dolls, stained glass, turned wood items, nature photography, unique stationery, picture prints, and a variety of books by local authors.
Open Saturdays 10:00 am–4:00 pm