LOST TOWN BENEATH THE LAKE!

(NOTE: THIS IS NOT A HIKE BUT MANY HAVE ASKED ME ABOUT THE TOWN BENEATH THE LAKE SO HERE IS AN ARTICLE THAT I DRAFTED. NATURALLY IF THERE ARE ANY ADDITIONS OR CANGES PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

RUSS MEADE

)Whiteside Valley before Lake Lure was built- VIEW FROMCRWhiteside Valley Church

(Whiteside Valley)                                                 (Whiteside Valley Church-organized July 7, 1892.)

For those of us who live in Lake Lure, one of the most intriguing questions we receive from guests and permanent residents alike is:

Why all the Buffalo references and Buffalo road names in the Lake Lure area?

You see the reference to buffalos everywhere you travel in the Hickory Nut Gorge:

  • Buffalo Creek Road,
  • Buffalo Shoals,
  • Buffalo Junction,
  • Buffalo Creek,
  • Buffalo Creek Park the list goes on and on.

In addition, as you go towards the resort of Rumbling Bald located on the lake there is a giant Buffalo statue marking one of the developments!

Just why these reference and is there really a long forgotten town under the lake?

Let’s see if we can bring this town up from the depth of Lake Lure to remember this once proud, self -sufficient community in the beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge of NC!

To me, one of the saddest thing in life is being forgotten as a person or a whole community

Let’s see if we can solve this mystery and bring these people and community back to life in some way!

The Town of Buffalo was located at about the center of what is now Lake Lure.

Today, if you take your boat out to the very center of the lake and look to your right and you will see a mountain that looks exactly like a Buffalo! Hence, the name of the town was named Buffalo!

The Town of Buffalo was located in what was known as Whiteside Valley. It was centered on farming and mining.

There is no know record of how many people lived in the Town of Buffalo but judging by the church records of the Whiteside Valley Church of 1918 with 98 members, it can be assumed that the entire town was about 150 people.

This town was often a brief stop for those heading through Hickory Nut Gorge on the Drover’s Road to Asheville, NC.

“When construction of the dam was complete, Buffalo was flooded. Most of the houses and buildings were removed before the flooding, but a few still remain under the lake today. The town name came from the homesteaders who lived in the valley, they would look up at the mountains and the first mountain range they saw was that in the shape of a buffalo.

There was a complete relocation of an entire community known as Whiteside Valley, all homes, the Whiteside Valley Church & Cemetery & the Ledbetter Store. Whiteside Valley Church was organized July 7, 1892.

When it was known that plans for the lake to be built were going to flood the area in the 1920’s, the church members began to look for another property & ending up tearing down the original church, using the materials to build on & repair the old Chimney Rock Church site.

Tradition says the steeple from the original Whiteside Valley Church was used on the new church. All the graves were removed and” (Info from the book “Precious Memories; Bill’s Creek Community, Lake Lure, North Carolina”, by Virginia Dare Dalton Wilson).

Chimney Rock Baptist Church was” organized July 7, 1872 and met in a log school house on Rock Creek. The church was disbanded about 1902 when it was last mentioned in the Association’s minutes. Many of its members united with Whiteside Valley Baptist Church around 1892.

In May 1926 the church was sold to Carolina Mountain Power due to the Lake Lure dam being built. On August 29, 1928, the Whiteside Valley church became Chimney Rock Baptist, and is still located on that site” From Chimney Rock Baptist Church http://chimneyrockbaptist.com/episodes/5437-history

Whiteside Valley Church

(If you look closely, you will see the church in the background)

Today there are no known pictures of this lost town except the above. However and interesting survivor of this one vibrant community is this 1917 Reo truck has been talked about for generations not just because it’s an antique but because it spent 45 years at the bottom of Lake Lure most likely at the Town of Buffalo!.

Fire Truck

To read the full story please see this interesting article in the Mountain Breeze:

http://www.thedigitalcourier.com/news/forestcity/x1505316586/The-Legend-Lives

When construction of the lake that we now know as Lake Lure began the residents of the Town of Buffalo naturally did not want their relatives buried under the lake.

When construction of the lake that we now know as Lake Lure began the residents of the Town of Buffalo naturally did not want their relatives buried under the lake.

Most of the graves were move to Buffalo Cemetery in the Rumbling Bald Resort.

BUFFALO CEMETRY BUFFALO CEMETRY.jpg1

To see a list of the Whitesides and others who are in this unique cemetery see: http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/rutherford/cemeteries/bufflure.txt

So when you are out of our beautiful Lake Lure stop at about the center of the lake and remember to look right for the mountain shaped like a buffalo and remember the town that once was.

Perhaps say a prayer of thanks for those who helped build the beautiful place we all call home!

Most of the graves were move to Buffalo Cemetery in the Rumbling Bald Resort.

To see a list of the Whitesides and others who are in this unique cemetery see: http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/rutherford/cemeteries/bufflure.txt

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