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Our History

We would like to share with you a little history about us and the area.

A HISTORY OF APPALACHIAN PLS&C NORTHWESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

THE EARLY TIMES
The history of surveying in northwestern North Carolina mirrors the cultural and economic history of the region. The first land owners were frontiersmen scratching their new found life out of the rhododendron and hardwood covered hillsides. They set up small communities and applied for land grants from governor.

The surveying of these early grants were usually performed by trained and educated surveyors from the piedmont using compass and chain which were relatively precise considering the method. These grants were located in the more terrain friendly areas along our major water courses. Land did not change ownership often as these communities and people were somewhat close and isolated.

After the Civil War, there was some increase in the migration in and out of the area. Grants were being acquired in more rugged areas. Some of these new grants included “carpetbagger” assemblages made for large timber companies in the northern states. During this time some of the older grants were beginning to be divided. Land surveying at this time was a mixture of the good quality grant surveys and the lower quality layman survey. This new type of survey included surveys performed by the land owner or an untrained part-time “layman surveyor” or in some cases no field surveying at all. Deeds dividing property were composed in the minds of individuals standing around the pot bellied stoves of the general stores.

After World War I, the isolation of the area began to diminish. The surveying became more and more of the “farmer surveyor” type and the subdivision and sell of the properties more common. After the Depression and World War II the area started to develop its “goto” appeal and property division became common. The “farmer surveyor” became better trained and spent the major portion of his time in the surveying trade, however almost all of the surveying in the area was still being accomplished using a compass and chain.

The first extensive use of the transit and steel tape in the area was in the late 1950’s and was not the norm until the late 1960’s. The 1960’s also saw the legislation to bring the trained “licensed” surveyors on the scene. This time also saw the beginning of the resort type division of land and the quality of surveying starts improving. 

A HISTORY OF APPALACHIAN PLS&C

Frank Hayes, a general partner in Appalachian PLS&C, is a lifelong resident of Watauga County and his ancestors are a significant part of the county’s history.

George Council and Ransom Hayes (Frank’s great grandfather) donated the land so Boone would be the county seat of Watauga County instead of Valle Crucis which was comparable in size at the time. Frank’s father, Robert, and uncles were well known stone masons in the area learning their trade in the CCC camps during the depression.

Frank was in the first graduating class of Watauga High School in 1966 (by coincidence his mother, Ethel, was in the first graduating class of the old Appalachian High School which Frank attended as an underclassman). He left this area to attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh. There, after studying engineering for couple of years, finished his college career with a BS in Forest Land Management and Watershed Management in 1972. After some career experimentation with government and big timber companies.

The Watauga-Avery-Ashe area was becoming a resort and “summer home” type area anchored by Appalachian State University. Surveying was a natural choice for the young graduate. Frank trained on Beech Mountain and then with David Stern, one of the more progressive surveyors in the area. He applied and attained registration with the state in 1974.

He and his wife Jan setup home in the Poplar Grove section of Watauga County. In 1975 Frank and his friend and first employee J.C. Presnell opened an office on NC Highway 105. Since that beginning the company has undergone many changes. Three local surveyors have trained under him. One, Donald McNeil, is now a full partner. Donald is also a graduate of North Carolina State University (1977).He and his wife Karen McGee McNeil are residence of the Mount Pleasant section of Wilkes County with ancestral connections with the history of that area.

Surveying in the area has change substantially since 1975. Frank brought a Swedish made electronic distance measuring device to Watauga County in 1979. Until then all boundary surveys had been done with a steel tape. Since then technologies such as computer aided drafting and global positioning systems have been added to the tool box.

The future promises more. 

Photo 1

George Councill and
Ransom Hayes
(Franks Great Grandfather)


George Councill and Ransom Hayes (Frank’s great grandfather) donated the land so Boone would be the county seat of Watauga County instead of Valle Crucis which was comparable in size at the time. Frank’s father, Robert, and uncles were well known stone masons in the area learning their trade in the CCC camps during the depression.

Photo 2

Mother Ethel & Father

Frank was in the first graduating class of Watauga High School in 1966 (by coincidence his mother, Ethel, was in the first graduating class of the old Appalachian High School which Frank attended as an underclassman). He left this area to attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh. There, after studying engineering for couple of years, finished his college career with a BS in Forest Land Management and Watershed Management in 1972. After some career experimentation with government and big timber companies Frank married and moved home. 

Photo 3

Morning Over the Mountains

Morning over the mountains, we are seeing what our Great Grand Parents and Parents looked upon every day.  History is still underway.

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