It all started when...
In the early 1950s as the Highlands area grew in popularity, it became apparent that if you did not own property on the environs of the clubs there, that play on their golf courses would not continue to be available. Gene Howerdd Sr. was retiring from Georgia Pacific and decided to look for property to build a golf course community nearby.
In 1954, the Howerdd family acquired 12,000 plus or minus acres of land in Sapphire. The property included approximately 8,500 acres of land, an inn (originally known as Fairfield Inn) and a 200-acre lake (known as Lake Fairfield) on the North side of Highway 64, together with approximately 3,500 acres of land, some of which had been farmland, on the south side of Highway 64. This area was perfect for a mountain course as the terrain varied by no more than 12 feet across the valley floor!
The farm land area included an old farmhouse which is still there today. Formerly operated as The Library Restaurant and Club, the original building is the oldest structure in Sapphire Valley.
The property was owned by members of the Tatum family who were part of the original ownership group of Lake Toxaway. This land was deeded to them when the Lake Toxaway Dam broke and the 250,000-acre tract was divided up among the partners.
It was then renamed The Tatum Sky Club. The Tatum family owned a Club in Miami called the Tatum Surf Club and had visions of a fly-in resort in Western North Carolina. The Howerdd Family acquired the property and planning, development and operations began immediately and The Sapphire Valley Inn and Country Club, known today as Sapphire Valley Resort, was born.
The library is the oldest structure in Sapphire Valley. It was built around 1864 and was part of a working farm, which produced fresh vegetables, meats and wholesome dairy products for the old Fairfield Inn. The Library was named after the lounge in the old Fairfield Inn and established as a private dining club in 1992. Great effort was taken to protect the architectural integrity of the original farmhouse and in 1999, the restaurant underwent a major renovation and expansion of the dining facilities and outdoor patio and gazebo. The Library closed in 2010 and was purchased in 2016 by Marvin Gralnick and Johannes Klapdohr and rebranded as Library Kitchen + Bar after undergoing an extensive restoration.