Year: 2020 and 2023
Located just north of Franklin and south of the Little Tennessee River, Mainspring has conserved three parcels that were part of Historic Watauga Town. The property that is viewable from Scenic Hwy 28 includes Watauga Mound, one of the mounds from the ancient Cherokee Middle Towns. Watauga Mound is located between Nikwasi (3 miles upstream in modern Franklin) and Cowee (4 miles downstream) Mounds. The effort to conserve the property involved three acquisitions, with two occurring together since property ownership split right through the mound. The first was up for sale through a real estate listing, while the second landowners, after hearing of the conservation project, chose to sell their portion of the mound so it would be conserved in its entirety. The third tract, once part of the Earnest Childers Farm, was purchased in 2023. Part of the property will continue to be used for hay production and cattle grazing and all three tracts are available for teaching and research by professors and students in the anthropology program at Western Carolina University.