In the early 1900s a newly formed town was emerging. It was a place that some considered the perfect retreat with moderate temperatures and abundant natural resources. Highlands was quickly becoming a favorite destination in the south. Among the early pioneers who realized what the plateau had to offer and who made their home here was the Ravenel family. They had already become important members of the community, contributing much to the newly forming town. In 1914, several years after the death of one of the family Patriarchs, Captain Ravenel and his wife Margaretta, their children took an interest in protecting their family land and decided to create a lasting tribute to their parents. On August 16, 1914 the Ravenel children donated Ravenel Park to be a public park for all to enjoy in perpetuity. The park, which many know as Sunset Rock, is also comprised of the lesser known Sunrise Rock and is owned and cared for by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.
The organization that is now HCLT preserved its first property in 1909 and since has preserved more valuable land resources in Highlands and Cashiers than any other private entity. Although most of HCLT’s properties are private, Ravenel Park will remain a public park for residents and visitors where they can connect with their natural world, with each other and with themselves.