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In 1808 a portion of Buncombe County became known as Haywood County. The county was named after John Haywood who served as State Treasurer of North Carolina from 1787 to 1827. Haywood County covers an area of 555 square miles with only 1 square mile being water. The county seat is Waynesville.

Cold Mountain which is located within the Pisgah National Forest in the southeast section of Haywood County made the area known and famous through Charles Frazier who wrote the novel Cold Mountain. In 2003 a major motion picture was produced and distributed leaving a legendary impression of the area.

The Qualla Boundary is a tribal reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is located in Haywood County. This portion of the land and its people are subject mostly to tribal/federal laws rather than the county or state laws of North Carolina.

Haywood County is made up of fifteen townships and includes six cities or towns. These six are Canton, Clyde, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley, Waynesville and West Canton.

A portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a portion of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and a portion of the Pisgah National Forest all are located in Haywood County, North Carolina.

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