At the westernmost end of Highway 64 is the town of Murphy. While the name may be familiar to some because of its association with Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park Bomber who hid in the Appalachian town for five years, Murphy’s 1,627 residents and visitors have more to say of the town’s notability.  Murphy is located at the intersection of the Valley River and the Hiwassee River at the mouth of a foothill’s gorge, a geographical feature that makes the small town unique.

In the 1800s, Murphy was along the Unicoi Turnpike, a trading path connecting Cherokee lands east of the mountains to those west of the mountains in Tennessee. When the Indians were removed and transported along the Trail of Tears, the U.S. Army took over the area and built Fort Butler as a collection site from which the Cherokees were transported.

Today, the town industries include manufacturing, construction, retail trade, public administration, accommodation and food services, and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, which are listed in descending order of prevalence and economic influence. With more attention being paid to western North Carolina towns, though, it can be expected that the industry for accommodation and food services may play a bigger part in the town’s economy in the near future.

Murphy Photos

Murphy Features and Reviews

Mayor of Murphy Profile: Bill Hughes

By Hillary Dooley and Nicole Esplin, 2013 There’s something about Bill Hughes. Something that makes you want to tell his story. Traveling gets a person used to meeting new personalities every day, as we search for a new story toRead more Mayor of Murphy Profile: Bill Hughes

Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant and Tiki Bar

By Casey Brown, 2013 Nestled on top of a little hill on the outskirts of Murphy is a little wooden building that blends with the mountain scenery with a bar straight the tropics. This clash of cultures is known asRead more Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant and Tiki


By Will Stiefel Our last stop on Highway 64, before reaching Tennessee, was the small town of Murphy. We pulled into Murphy early in the afternoon when the sun was at its hottest. At first, it seemed like the entireRead more Brothers


By Olivia James The charm of Murphy, North Carolina lies in its small businesses and the store windows that line the downtown area.  As we hopped around from the Cherokee County Museum to the Courthouse, we noticed that many ofRead more Stuff-tiques