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The City of Saluda is located in both Henderson and Polk counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 713 at the 2010 census. Saluda is famous for sitting at the top of the Norfolk Southern Railway's Saluda Grade, the steepest main line standard gauge railroad line east of the Rockies. The main street of Saluda is a bustling hub of newly formed restaurants and art galleries. Tourists and cyclists are common on summer and fall weekends due to the many winding mountain roads located around Saluda. The main town festivals are Coon Dog Day, The Saluda Arts Festival, and The Home Town Christmas Celebration. Saluda has a location along the South Carolina state line with proximity to Greenville-Spartanburg, SC and Asheville, NC.HistorySaluda's name came from the Cherokee word, "Tsaludiyi", meaning "green corn place". The original name was "Pace's Ridge", from the Pace family who inhabited the area. The Pace family name is still found all over Saluda. Many of the original families were Scotch-Irish who left Pennsylvania around the time of the Whiskey Rebellion in the early 1790s. In 1878, there were only two houses in the limits of present day Saluda.The completion of the Southern Railroad in 1878 brought about a large change in Saluda. The Saluda railroad grade is unmatched by any main line east of the Rocky Mountains with a grade that drops 600 feet to the mile. It was originally built to connect the Ashville and Spartanburg Railroad. The railroad was built with convict labor, which marked the first use of convict labor on a large scale, and was supervised by Colonel Andrew Tanner who operated the first hotel in Saluda and was also elected the first Mayor of Saluda in 1881. In 1887, eight passenger trains passed through Saluda daily with about 3,000 visitors a year. The Saluda Grade is infamous for runaway train accidents, in 1880 alone, fourteen men were killed on the three mile stretch of track. The train no longer runs through Saluda although there is talk of future passenger train plans.
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