Waynesville began to see development after arrival of the railroad in 1884. The agricultural, lumber and tourism industries in Waynesville and Haywood County began to thrive as access to the west was opened up.
Frog Level is the area of Waynesville located along Richland Creek, northwest and down hill from Main Street, was where the railroad tracks were laid. Until this time the area had been essentially a swampland, with a few scattered buildings but no major development. Once the depot was built and the train arrived this section was developed. It was given the name of Frog Level. Frog Level was so named by the local community because of its low-lying location along Richland Creek, the "frog level" when the area flooded.
Downtown and the nearby Frog Level commercial centers of Waynesville continued to be the central focus for social life, transportation, and wholesale and retail businesses through the 1940s. Businesses in the Frog Level area in the 1930s and 1940s included hardware stores, farm supplies, coal sales, auto dealers and garages, furniture stores, wholesale groceries, warehouses and lumber companies, all businesses dependent on the railroad.
As the automobile became the primary mode of transportation for most residents, the railroad declined in importance. This in turn lead to a shift of business away from Frog Level.