The Evolution of Madison County

Feb 15, 2022

Met Her on the Mountain is, as my evangelical friends like to say, “the book of my heart,” a work of decades. This new edition is in hard cover, Kindle, and, for the first time, trade paper. The first thing you may notice is that there is a new cover and a shortened subtitle, “The Murder of Nancy Morgan.” 

Marshall: The County Seat

In the years since Met Her on the Mountain was published in 2013, Madison County, North Carolina, has experienced an economic and cultural renaissance. The county seat of Marshall in particular has continued its evolution into a boutique and more affordable version of Asheville, now just a short drive away on Interstate 26. Along Main Street, visitors will find craft shops and studios along with law offices and other traditional businesses.

In early 2021, the century-old jail, on the banks of the French Broad River, where the book’s central characters, Ed Walker, Richard Johnson and Johnny Waldroup, spent time, became the upscale Old Marshall Jail Hotel & Bar.

In October of last year, the long-closed Capitola Mill, on a slight bluff across the river from the jail, where brown cotton work gloves were manufactured until the 1990s, reopened as an upscale, mixed-use development of apartments, studio, and office space.

Both the old jail and the glove factory, when it still was that, have been brilliantly captured by Rob Amberg, Photographer Laureate of Madison County.

Movies Filmed in Marshall, North Carolina

The picturesque county seat of Marshall has changed so little in the past century. Because of this area’s natural beauty as well as its isolation by a highway bypass, it has become a periodic magnet for movie makers, including:

Parts of My Fellow Americans (1996), with James Garner and Jack Lemon, were shot there, including a parade down the town’s main street.

The independent film Songcatcher (2001) was shot in the area, with musical assistance from renowned singer and story teller Sheila Kay Adams. It is based on the true story of British folklorist Cecil Sharp, who came to Madison County early in the 20th century. She collected music in the hollers and was aided by several local women.

In 2003, the dramatic love story All the Real Girls, starring Zoey Deschanel and Patricia Clarkson, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival, was shot in and around Madison County.


Some scenes from the 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games were shot in Madison County at a site five miles outside Marshall that stood in for the woods outside District 12 in the film.

Most recently, in the autumn of 2021, Amazon took over Marshall for the better part of a month to shoot part of the first season of the streaming series, The Peripheral. It is based on a science fiction thriller of the same name by William Gibson. The production company papered the town and the area with cash, producing a brief, economic boom for merchants and restaurants. This boost is always welcome, especially coming out of the pandemic.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Join me for a free virtual event with Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe on Wednesday, April 6th at 6 p.m. EST. I hope to see you there!

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