Blannahassett Island in Marshall
Marshall has a unique geographic location situated in a ravine on the French Broad River with just main street and the railroad running between the river and the steep cliff on the blocks of the historic downtown. In its early history, there were houses on Blannahassett Island which parallels Main Street in the French Broad River. In fact, the Free Will Baptist Church which is now located at the far north end of Main Street was brought across from Blannahassett Island in the 1920s. Marshall High School was built on the island in 1925 and operated until the early 1970s. The building was used by the county for offices for years and when it was scheduled to be demolished, 3000 signatures and investment of money by Rob Pulleyn and others saved it. Since 2007 the refurbished Marshall High Studios has provided studio and exhibit space for the region’s growing community of artists.
Today it provides a picturesque and unique setting for a town park. The Marshall community organized to convert the natural area of the island to a town park citing that Bryson City is the only other city within Western North Carolina which has a park on an island in a river. There are several ways to enjoy nature on the island including picnic areas, a wonderful walking path, a fishing pier, a disc golf practice field. In 2011, the town added an outdoor stage for concerts.