To the Editor:
My appreciation goes to Gary Carden and Dave Waldrop from “The Liar’s Bench;” George Frizzell of the Western Carolina University Library for uncovering and reporting; and to The Smoky Mountain News (June 19th) for publicizing the profoundly moving story of the 1882 Cowee Tunnel disaster. I am struck by the convergence of the Dillsboro Dam removal, the opening of the Tuckasegee River, and the exposure of this hidden story.
Carden’s persistence in noticing and following the story, the group’s work to bring closure for the 19 families and their ultimate vision to commemorate their loved ones’ forgotten lives — all are worthy tributes. Our part as citizen inhabitants of the area is to make sure their work as historians is fulfilled. I call on the generous better selves in us all.