Andre Michaux Climbed Grandfather Mountain
On August 30, 1794, French explorer and botanist Andre Michaux climbed Grandfather Mountain. Upon reaching the summit, Michaux believed he had climbed the highest peak in North America. Michaux was ultimately proven wrong because Mt. Mitchell rises nearly a hundred feet taller than Grandfather at 6,684 feet.
At the time of the American Revolution, the value of the unexplored regions of the new nation was unknown, especially along the barrier of thickly forested slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. French King Louis XVI appointed Michaux Royal Botanist and sent him to investigate the plants in America that might be of value.
Michaux’s foray to the top of Grandfather was not his first visit to the Tar Heel state. In fact, he frequently returned to North Carolina in search of plants new to science and for the enrichment of French agriculture and forestry. He would describe and name a significant percentage of the vascular plants native to the Carolinas.
For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.