You know it now as the Peggy Crosby Center, but did you know it once housed  Highlands’ first hospital? 

When the present hospital was opened, a group of visionary citizens inspired by one man’s wife arranged the purchase of the then-vacant building.  She had asked for a birthday present more permanent than just another sweater or piece of jewelry.  Since 1996 Highlands has enjoyed affordable office space for non-profit organizations and small businesses providing community services.  On a recent visit, Mrs. Crosby, now Peggy Crosby-Thompson, was pleased with the community benefit of her gift.

Highlanders love good food.  

The area is peppered with restaurants and caterers vying for the culinary spotlight. Since 2000, The Kitchen Carry Away and Catering has filled the tummies of the young and old with a menu ranging from soups and appetizers, entrees, side dishes and scrumptious desserts.  The Kitchen’s originator, Holly Roberts, built a loyal following of devoted fans during her 17-year tenure.  With her sons grown, she succumbed to her yearning to travel and sold the business to Suzanne and Dan Young this past December.

This dynamic duo is well suited to continue Holly’s legacy and to create a legacy all their own.  Dan’s family has been a part of the Highland’s scene for decades as owners of Wit’s End ladies clothing store.  Suzanne’s years as a Culinary Arts Instructor and her extensive experience in the restaurant business make her a perfect fit for The Kitchen.  Holly worked diligently throughout the winter to be sure that Dan and Suzanne well understood the business.   Add to that the long-time employees who remain on staff and you have a team of dedicated individuals who are focused on ensuring that customers continue to enjoy delectable foods for years to come.

Whether you’re looking for items to take home to impress your family and friends or need help with catering an upcoming party, The Kitchen can solve that need.  Stop by The Kitchen on the ground floor at the Peggy Crosby Center at 348 South Fifth Street, Highlands, any Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5:00 P.M. to select items from the refrigerator case. Call ahead at (828) 526-2110 to arrange special orders or arrange your dinners and parties.   Unsure what you want to serve?  Let Suzanne help you decide.  She is a storehouse of ideas. Visit thekitchenofhighlands.com to download their menu. You’ll refer to it often.  

Check it out for yourself.  You’ll love what you see. 

Constructed in the late 1940’s, the building where the Peggy Crosby Center currently resides originally housed the Highlands Hospital.  

When the hospital moved to its new campus, the building was repurposed.  Through the years PCC has served the Highlands-Cashiers area by providing affordable office space to organizations offering community services.  This rare community asset, home to numerous essential non-profits and small start-up businesses helps provide essential services to
folks living and working in Western North Carolina. 

PCC’s non-profit tenants reach a broad spectrum of interests…from land preservation (Highlands Cashiers Land Trust) to support for our neighbors from other countries (International Friendship Center).   Additional services include Adult Education (Center for Life Enrichment), education for both adults and children who are challenged by literacy issues (Literacy Council of Highlands), plus counseling services (Counseling & Psychotherapy Center of Highlands).  Hundreds of our neighbors pass through the halls of PCC weekly improving their lives and
our community.

The Peggy Crosby Center itself is a non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization with a break-even budget.  Operating expenses are funded by the very favorable tenant rents.  Since 2010, PCC has only increased rents once – minimally.  When rents at PCC are compared to other similar facilities with similar services, it’s estimated that the PCC non-profit tenants would pay double or triple their PCC rents.  

Within the last six years, the facility has seen many improvements, including energy efficient upgrades, infrastructure improvements, and cosmetic tweaks, plus landscaping and parking lot enhancements.  All of these improvements have been necessary to provide comfortable and efficient office facilities for the tenants so that they can do what they do best…serve our community. 

The Peggy Crosby Center is indeed a unique asset in our Highlands community.  It’s service to non-profit organizations allows them to accomplish their missions of helping others.  Won’t you consider supporting the Center with your charitable donation?

Since 2002 the Laurel Garden Club has been helping keep Highlands beautiful.  

With proceeds from their kitchen tours and sales of their cookbook Celebrate Highlands, the club has contributed over $134,000 in grants to local organizations and businesses for improving their landscaping.  Some of the 15 beneficiaries have been the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, the Highlands Historical Society, the Hudson Library, the Highlands Biological Center and even the Town of Highlands.  Two examples of use of the funds are the benches added to the Highlands Plateau Greenway and the wetlands exhibit at the Highlands Biological Foundation.    

One of the largest grant recipients has been the Peggy Crosby Center.  Since 2013 the garden club has awarded the center a total of $21,200 to enhance its grounds.  Folks may remember that the center located on South Fifth Street was previously the Highlands Hospital before being renovated to provide affordable office space to organizations serving the Highlands community.  

Like most older properties, the center needed some serious “dressing up,” thus we applied for and received grants for landscaping all sides of their facility.  And this year additional plants and flowers will be added to the center’s exit driveway.  The purpose of the Laurel Garden Club is to aid in the protection and conservation of our natural resources, encourage civic beauty and roadside beautification, stimulate the fine art of gardening, and enable cooperation with other organizations furthering the interest of horticulture and conservation.  Organizations wishing to receive a grant may apply in January and June of each year. 

We encourage everyone to attend the club’s fourth Kitchen Tour – a personal look at some of Highlands’ finest kitchens.  The tour is Saturday, August 19.  Also, Thursday, August 17, there’s an Over the Moon party celebrating the tour and its patrons.  More information is available at  laurelgardenclubhighlands.com/kitchen-tour.html where you can also purchase tickets.  Tickets will also be sold at Dry Sink.          

Next time you’re downtown head over to South Fifth Street and peek at the Peggy Crosby Center’s new look.  It’s a gem this community can cherish.

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