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Highway 441 Section Dedicated To Beloved Cherokee Man

The section of highway is on U.S. 441 through the Qualla Boundary between U.S. 74 and U.S. 19.

A section of U.S. 441 through the Qualla Boundary was renamed in Beloved Man Dr. Jerry Wolfe’s honor this month.

“Jerry personified what it meant to be Cherokee, the core values of what it means to be Cherokee,” said Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee at the event according to a press release.

In 2013, Wolfe was the first person in more than 200 years to be bestowed the title of Beloved Man by the Eastern Band of Cherokee for unique contributions to the Cherokee people including serving with distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and preserving Cherokee language and culture such as the game of Indian ball.

The N.C. Board of Transportation unanimously approved a resolution to dedicate this corridor in honor of Wolfe in December. 

Reflective green-and-white signs stating “Beloved Man Dr. Jerry Wolfe Highway” in English and Cherokee were erected Tuesday, July 27th at either end of a 4.2-mile stretch of U.S. 441 through the Qualla Boundary between U.S. 74 and U.S. 19.

Wolfe received the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 2002, he was awarded the Patriot Award in 2014, and in 2017, he was bestowed with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and received an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Western Carolina University, according to NC DOT.

Wolfe died in 2018 at the age of 93.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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