Historical Photos of the Dragon

The earliest known photo on the Tail of the Dragon. This is the Toll Booth that was located at mile marker 3 circa 1890s. The road had been known at various times as Parsons, Madisonville/Franklin and the Tallassee Turnpike. George Davis was the Tollkeeper.

Local road crew circa 1900

Roadwork on 288 (now NC 28) near the Dragon circa 1920s

Calderwood 1928 - the town built by Alcoa Aluminum circa 1915. Only a few foundations, church and cemetery are left. You can visit what is left by turning onto the access road at mile marker 10.2 on the Dragon.

This postcard dates back to the early 1930s. The photo was taken from the upper road (Yellow Creek) and shows US 129 still unpaved along the Cheoah River.

US 129 to Tennessee dedication at the Robbinsville courthouse 1931. US 129 Dedication
Calderwood Dam circa 1932

Calderwood Dam construction & flowing.m spill circa 1930

This North Carolina Road Map post card dates to the late 1920s or early 1930s. Note the enlarged insert of the far western section of the state. Robbinsville is not even shown and no roads cross the mountains into Tennessee.
Cheoah Dam and US 129 construction. Postcard circa 1930 (Fugitive Dam). Cheoah Dam
Cheoah Dam and US 129 Postcard circa 1930 colorized (Fugitive Dam)

The location of this postcard photo is about mile marker 9.2 looking easterly from the southbound lane. We believe this postcard dates to the early 1930s. It is labeled Gregory Bald from Deals Gap Highway, near Calderwood, Tenn. It is not identified as US 129. The roadway has new pavement and the sides of the road appear freshly graded. The numbers 1-3-72 do not make sense as a date for the postcard. We drove the road in the 70s and it did not look anything like this.
Tapoco Lodge postcard from the 1930-40s.

Tapoco Lodge


View from US 129 about half a mile south of the NC 28 intersection. Cheoah Lake in forground and the tallest mountain in the background is Haoe Bald in Joyce Kilmer. The road in foreground is US 129 and it appears to have not yet been paved dating the photo circa 1930.
US 129, Deals Gap

This is a Google Earth simulation of the same view as in the post card above.
US 129, Deals Gap

Postcard showing Calderwood Dam circa 1935.
May 1936 post card stamped TAPOCO NC

A postcard from the 1940s of NC 28 between Fontana and Deals Gap
A postcard from the 1940s of the famous US 441 Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains. (Not on the Dragon, but of local interest.)
441

The Narrows circa 1950s - today the Tail of the Dragon Overlook at mile marker 9. The base of the sign still remains in the rock wall.

I thought you might be interested in a picture of me and my friends on our 350 Hondas in 1971 in front of what is now the the Deals Gap MC Resort (then Craftons Motel and Restaurant). We had pancake beakfast there after camping by the river at the other end of the Dragon. One of my buddies had to lay his bike down when some guy pulled across his lane turning off to Calderwood. He and his fiance weren't hurt and the bike suffered only minor damage.

Bob Miller

TOD: Note the Peace Symbol helmets


Crafton's Motel and Restaurant in the 1972 movie Two-Lane Blacktop (later to become Macs Motel, The Crossroads of Time and today Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort).

US 129 along the Little Tennessee River in the 1972 movie Two-Lane Blacktop.

US 129 at Fugitive Dam in the 1972 movie Two-Lane Blacktop

US 129 - The old one-lane bridge at Fugitive Dam in the 1972 movie Two-Lane Blacktop

These two photos are the Return of Two Lane Blacktop to the Dragon in May of 2005. This is the original '55 Chevy used in the 1971 movie. Photo courtesy of Walt Bailey
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Crafton's Motel 1970s

CycleNews article about the 1981 Norton Owner's Association.

Courtesy of Dave Leppelmeier
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Macs Motel and Restaurant Post Card circa 1981.

Courtesy of Dave Leppelmeier


Two photos at the Gap from the 1981 Norton Owner's Rally.

Courtesy of Dave Leppelmeier



RIGHT Tabcat Bridge heading into the Dragon showing speed limit and warning sign in 1984.

Courtesy of Jeff Smith


RIGHT & BELOW, two long-time Dragon regulars Rob & Gregg. Rob owned and was the lead rider for Deals Gap Racing. In 1990 Deals Gap Racing was the WERA National Endurance Lightweight Superbike series champion and in 1991 was the WERA National Endurance Lightweight Superbike series runner-up.


This sign used to be across the street from the Crossroads of Time. The rider was showing off in front of the crowd and did a header as he over-stoppied.

Photo courtesy of George Dillaway.


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Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap brings you motorycle and sport car touring information and maps on all of the exciting touring roads ,accommodations, motorcycle repair, and motorcycle rentals in the area including the Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28, Foothills Parkway, Devils Triangle, Six Gap north Georgia, Diamondback, Devils Staircase, the Snake, Blue Ridge Parkway and places of interest in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee: also places of interest such as Fontana Dam, Wheels Through Time Museum,  Carolina waterfalls map, Cherokee Casino, Asheville attractions, Biltmore House, Smoky Mountain Railroad, whitewater rafting, zip line tours, Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock, Joyce Kilmer hiking, Cherokee National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Cheoah River, Nantahala River, Lake Santeetlah, Fontana Lake, Robbinsville, Graham County, Bryson City, Sylva, Waynesville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend and more.