Great Rock Press

Welcome to the website of Great Rock Press, the publishing home of Bill Jacobs’ Whence These Special Places? — The Geology of Cashiers, Highlands & Panthertown Valley.

 Here, you can learn more about the book and its author, find retailers, submit inquiries, or order on-line (free USPS domestic shipping).  

         “Whence” — From what place, source or cause?



The theme and objective of this book, in one concise (albeit slightly archaic!) word

Contacts and Inquiries

Book sellers, as well as organizations interested in sponsoring a book presentation/signing event, should use this form to submit their inquiries: 

2 + 3 =

By William S. Jacobs

This book presents the geology of the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau of Western North Carolina. Using everyday language and over 100 photographs and graphics, it explores how the region’s mountains, waterfalls and other special features formed, and how geology has created both their similarities and their differences.

 Reviewer Comments

The Highlands and Cashiers region is not only stunning but the geology is fascinating.  The localities featured in this book are noteworthy, and I think the book’s accessible geologic perspective will make them even more interesting and enjoyable to visit.

          Dr. Jackie Langille, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Department of Environmental Studies, UNC Asheville


I agree with Bill that “whence” is indeed a concise word for the myriad of questions surrounding the striking geologic features of the Plateau.  He describes the geologic history of the Southern Appalachians in easy-to-digest language with little sacrifice of detail or higher-level scientific reasoning.  His admiration of these places, along with their sources and causes, highlights just how special they are to individuals as well as to cultural and geologic history.

Dr. Brittani D. McNamee, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, Department of Environmental Studies, UNC Asheville


I thought I understood the geology of the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, but Bill Jacobs’ readable and entertaining geologic tour of the Plateau and many of its unique sites has given me a much deeper and better understanding of the processes that shaped our wonderful places here in the mountains of North Carolina.

Dr. Gary Wein, Executive Director, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

      What Readers Are Saying

“Excellent book.  I am a career Earth scientist, and found this book to be a very well-written and insightful summary of the local and regional geology.”

 I just finished reading Whence These Special Places ?   Congratulations on a superb piece of work; just outstanding !”

“First time through was a great pleasure…. It will provide much future pleasure and knowledge.”

“I finished your book yesterday and I wanted to write you and tell you how engaging and informative I found it…. Bravo to you.”

Great Rock Press


257 Montford Ave.

Asheville, NC 28801