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A ‘Model Citizen’ in More Ways Than One

The late P.R. Bennett was ‘Bryson City’ through and through — mayor for nine terms, firefighter for 51 years, business owner, town clerk and member of the Swain County Planning Board. And after retiring, his love for Bryson City took him in a new direction: meticulously creating small-scale replicas of Bryson City landmarks — the train depot,  Jenkins Mill, the Presbyterian Church and the iconic old Swain County Courthouse. He also built a model of the Davis House, the late 19th century chestnut log cabin that the National Park now has preserved in its Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee.

All the models but the church are now on display at the Swain County Genealogy Society above the Police Department on Main Street. Hours are 8 am to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8 am to 4 pm Tuesday and Thursday; and Tuesday night from pm to 8 pm. As Bennett wished, the Presbyterian Church model lives at the church on North Everett Street.

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  1. kbennett August 28th, 2012 5:40 pm

    My Grandfather and better known as Perby Bennett. I am named after his uncle and my great uncle Dr Kelly Bennett. I think it was channel 13 out of asheville did a story on Perby and his models in the late 80’s or early 90’s. The reporter came into his house and talked about each model. If anyone has it or knows where to find the link I would very much appreciate. Most of his items like that were donated so they could be put on display because of his role in Bryson city. Thanks for any help.