In my thought process, when we remember a person, an event, a story or when we simply say a prayer over a name or a person, we truly bring them back to life and honor their lives and service to us all!
Below is my simple attempt to bring back some of the great stories and people of the area that I love.
The Hickory Nut Gorge is truly a “Magical Place” filled with Indian tales, mountain characters, ghost towns and stories that are thrilling though often so unknown!
I have added some interesting information that I have researched or heard told!
Naturally, as in everything in history this is a work in progress! Please send me any corrections or additions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
DID YOU KNOW?
That Rumblingbald Mountain rumbled and prompted religious frenzy and a revival-like atmosphere!
Be sure to read the below link and also this fantastic account that I recently received on how even back then the media lied!
“My great-grandfather, Warren DuPre’, was professor of Natural Sciences at Wofford College and was sent by his national science literary group to determine the rumblings at Hickory Nut Gorge. He reported back in a letter to his family that the gorge was full of reporters from the Northeast, sent by their papers to report the expected earthquake or whatever.
The locals were very scared and many expected the end of the world. Some slept in their family cemetery plots, others in their churches. After many days of no visible disaster, the papers started sending notices for the reporters to return home if nothing was forthcoming by a certain date. Not wanting to give up their life of riotous living, gambling, and whatever else.
They acted. The sheriff caught a drunken bunch heading up the road, one with cotton, the other with coal oil or some inflammable, bent on starting a volcano on the mountaintop!!!!!
Reporters have not improved over the years” by Wallace DuPre’
That the Bat Caves are one of largest if not THE LARGEST fissure Caves in the United States?
(The bearded man in the photo is James Mills Flack, owner of Mountain View Inn from 1898-1940)
That on top of Chimney Rock there was a lost Colony!
This was found in a little booklet dated 1916 titled “A Round Robin, Eight Years in the Mission Field in the Mountain District” which LuVerne Haydock recently shared with the group. “According to the book “Rutherford County 1979: A People’s Bicentennial,” a fabled “Lost Colony” used to live on top of Chimney Rock Mountain. It was named this because of it’s isolation from the rest of the region. 7 or 8 families lived there with a school and a grist mill, and they raised most of their food. This was likely in the 1800s. Todd Lavender 3/7/2017
That our lake’s picture was featured in an article August 1941 titled Tarheelia on Parade and North Carolina Colorcade
That the Gorge and the Asheville area was called “America’s New Age Mecca” by CBS News and Rolling Stone Magazine?
That there was a Lost Colony on Chimney Rock!
According to the book “Rutherford County 1979: A People’s Bicentennial,” a fabled “Lost Colony” used to live on top of Chimney Rock Mountain. It was named this because of it’s isolation from the rest of the region. 7 or 8 families lived there with a school and a grist mill, and they raised most of their food. This was likely in the 1800s. Todd Lavendar 12/2016
That the town under the lake was named Buffalo?
Please send us any history you may know of this mysterious town. (Please see the article I wrote on this town on the Site Menu above)
That some of the world’s most endangered and rare flowers grow right here in the Bat Cave Preserve.
“The rugged slopes around Bat Cave contain an equally important array of habitats and creatures. Hickory Nut Gorge is cloaked in cove hardwood forest, while Carolina hemlock and chestnut oak forest are found on the cliff tops and ridgeline. The forests harbor a number of threatened or endangered plants, such as broadleaf coreopsis and Carey’s saxifrage. The preserve has an abundance of spring wildflowers, including bloodroot, toothwort, trillium, and violets.
Check out our Bat Cave Wildflower Slide Show!” from The Nature Conservancy
That on HWY 9 right out of Bat Cave is United Research Light Center, where an angelic being appeared, on the mountain is a dome that is always open where one can meditate/prayer at any time. Visit this unique mountain treasure. There is an energy here that I do hope that you will feel. I especially love the “peace pole” in front of the Dome.
That just four miles from the dome at the Light Center is Earth Haven, an internationally known ecological, permaculture community.
That our area is a major energy vortex and that there is a geodesic dome that sits on one of the energy vortexes up in our mountains near our Gorge? If you feel better, younger in our area it just may be due to these energy fields. Ask me about it one day!
That former President Jimmy Carter spent his honeymoon in the Gorge?
That our area had its very own witch!
Nancy and John Ashworth bought their mountain home now known as Sherrill’s Inn in 1797 located along 64/74 (Drover’s Road) in Fairview.
Nancy was renowned as a healer of all types of ills of her neighbors. However the deacons of Cane Creek Baptist Church saw in her healing powers the hand of Satan rather than the wisdom of a farm woman and threatened her with charges that would bring her before a church court. Nancy responded to these church leaders that she would put a curse on them! These men were so afraid of her powers that they reconsidered and reduced the charges against her to the crime of wearing “ruffled petticoats.”!
So ladies of our area, hide those herbs and take the ruffles off your petticoat or you will also be charged as a witch!
We had the famous “Goat Man” visit us regularly!
Dressed in goat skins with a team of goats drawing his wagon he was one of the most “famous” and strange man who ever was seen!
“Charles “Ches” McCartney, (1901?–1998) also known as the Goat Man, was an American itinerant wanderer who traveled up and down the eastern United States from 1930 to 1987 in a ramshackle wagon pulled by a team of goats. He claimed to have covered more than 100,000 miles and visited all states except Hawaii. He was a familiar sight to many travelers and vacationers during those years, and one difficult to not notice or remember. McCartney was taken with the book Robinson Crusoe, and carried a copy of it, along with a Bible, throughout his travels—the only two books he carried. Robinson Crusoe inspired him to dress himself and his son Albert in goat skins. It also possibly inspired or validated his independent lifestyle, in which he lived off the land, the contributions of strangers, and his goats.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ches_McCartney
That F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife’s favorite place was our area and stayed at the Lake Lure Inn?
That The Inn in Lake Lure has its own ghosts? Ask my daughter Missy Meade Gates, Lake Lure Stylist, and other locals about seeing and hearing them! The stories of mysterious appearances of “other worldly people and events” is well documented in the Gorge in numerous publications going back to the 1800’s. Perhaps you have seen some? Do tell us!
“(A manager at North Carolina’s Lake Lure Inn snapped this photo while preparing for an event. Though he didn’t notice anything strange that day, the photo reveals a blurred figure on the left. Is it a ghost? The manager checked the inn’s surveillance footage, but found no sign of the boy. Here’s a news story covering the ghostly image”) From: http://ghostsnghouls.com/2013/01/24/ghost-picture-lake-lure-inn/
That there are at least 3 Ex CIA agents living in our community? Don’t ask their names :):)
That Hand Made in America selected our area as one of the few communities on its heritage trail?
That in July, 1806 angelic hosts visited our area!
..” there had been another vision in the sky, but the figures were not those of soldiers. On the contrary, the spectral beings resembled an angelic host. The apparition came into view late in the afternoon of a warm, sunny day near Chimney Mountain. A number of witnesses watched a crowd of literally hundreds of beings, resembling humans, as they passed through the atmosphere in a long procession. They ranged in size from seemingly tall men to infants, all clad in brilliant white raiment. Rising up into view from the side of the mountain with most of the mountain top visible above them, the figures moved to the north and gathered around Chimney Rock.
When all but a few had reached the rock, several of the glittering white forms rose above the others who then began circling the rock at about the rock’s height. A few minutes later the figures that had risen moved to a point about 20 yards from the rock’s summit. They were followed by the rest in a procession and at that point one by one they vanished. According to an affidavit signed by the observers, the disappearance left “a solemn and pleasing impression on the mind, accompanied with a diminution of bodily strength.” The vision lasted for about an hour.” From Journal of Bordeline Research https://borderlandsciences.org/journal/vol/46/n06/Gaddis_on_Phantom_Armies.html
That our Gorge has a very active resident populations of federally endangered Indiana bats and rare green salamanders.Lesser-known treasures of the gorge include 37 species of rare plants, such as the federally endangered white irisette, and occasional sightings of such rare bird species as the peregrine falcon, the cerulean warbler, and the American bald eagle.
That scenes from the films Dirty Dancing, A Breed Apart, Firestarter, some scenes from thunder Road, & Last of the Mohegan’s were filmed in and around Lake Lure, and it was the site of the 2006 HGTV Dream Home.
That “Between 1915 and 1920, more than 75 movies were filmed in Hickory Nut Gorge. Stars like Clark Gable, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Swayze, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Grey, Claude Akins, Drew Barrymore, Madeline Stowe, and Gloria Swanson lived briefly in the Lake Lure-Chimney Rock area while filming such movies as “Dirty Dancing,” “Last of the Mohegan’s,” “My Fellow Americans,” “A Breed Apart,” and “Fire Starter.” were later produced. From Carolina Country Magazine
That Lucius Morse’s wife Elizabeth is credited with naming the lake (and the town).
That Hickory Nut Gorge was a favorite spiritual area of the Cherokee Indians? No wars were ever fought in the Gorge (perhaps that is the reason why it is so peaceful???)
That the Indians believed that the Hickory Nut Gap was the gateway to the land of “tso-lungh ” – tobacco – and they believed it was guarded by spirits and stories of the “little people” still abound in this rocky valley.
That prior to 1946, there was no Doctor in over 600 Square Miles of the Hickory Nut Gorge!
In 1946, Dr. George Bond with an Army surplus jeep, a coonskin cap and a black doctor’s bag, he called upon the area’s homes far up the creeks and valleys.
That historians regard the Gorge as one of the oldest routes through the southern Appalachians.
That Sherrill’s Inn was a way-station for stagecoach travelers and cattle drivers on the “Hickory Nut Turnpike,” which connected Rutherfordton and Asheville, throughout most of the 19th century. The inn was built sometime between 1839 and 1850 for Bedford Sherrill, who was appointed a Commissioner by the 1841 General Assembly for the purpose of building and keepingup the Turnpike. State roads such as the Hickory Nut Turnpike offered the only effective commercial access between Western North Carolina and the outside world. Sherrill’s Inn was opened to travelers at least as early as February of 1850.
That there was A Ghost Calvary above Chimney Rock!
“Over the last couple of hundred years people have often claimed to see a ghostly Calvary having a battle in the air up above Chimney Rock State Park. What is it no one really knows. Some people claim to only see the ghostly Calvary while other people claim to hear swords clank against one another and people scream and shout. Sometimes only a very few people see the battle in the sky while other times people all around the area claim to have seen something” From: http://crazyhorsesghost.hubpages.com/hub/Western-North-Carolina-Ghosts
That our spectacular 14-mile gorge is carved by the Hickory Nut Creek and the Broad River.
That throughout the early 1800s, numerous water wheels and gristmills were built within the gorge for grinding grain and generating power. One of these water wheels still exists in Bat Cave and stone ruins of another gristmill site can be seen on Little Bearwallow Farm in Gerton.
That In about 1815, the dirt road was improved and became Hickory Nut Gorge Turnpike. Also known as Drover’s Road, it was used by herders to get cattle, hogs, geese, turkeys, pigs and other animals to market to be sold or traded for goods or cash needed in outlying mountain communities.
That the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus) can be found in our Gorge and in only VERY few places of the entire world.
That”The mystery of Rumbling Bald Mountain began (during modern history) in 1874 as tremors rattled dishes and broke windows. Dust, smoke and eerie sounds emanated from the rugged peak as shocks dislodged boulders inside the mountain and opened massive fissures. Residents were terrified, and even the National Speleological Society sent scientists From Washington, D.C., to investigate. ”From Carolina Country Magazine
( Bald Mountain, North Carolina. The scene of the earthquake phenomena and threatened volcano)
That”The mysterious Little People of Hickory Nut Gorge were part of the drama of tso-lungh, the magical tobacco plant with curative powers. According to the Cherokee legend, Dagul-Ku, the Goose, stole the sacred tobacco plant and took it to the land of Hng, where the Little People lived. When the Cherokees tried to regain the tobacco, the Little People hurled huge rocks down upon the warriors. Then an old man magically turned himself into a giant hummingbird whose wings dislodged enormous boulders and created a giant tornado, which swept away all of the evil spirits in Hickory Nut Gorge. Today, some people insist that when the weather is just right, you can still see the Little People on the high cliffs of Hickory Nut Gorge. “From Carolina Country Magazine.
That “The Lodge on Lake Lure was built in 1937 as a memorial to George Penn, a highway patrolman who was killed in the line of duty. The lodge was a retreat for state troopers and their families for many years until it became a public inn in 1990. The spirit of George Penn remains there still, having been seen many times in room 4. Guests have thought he was a real man who was in the wrong room until he left by walking through a closed door”- Ghosts of NC,
The ghost/spirit has now been identified!
- NOTE THIS COMMENT, I RECEIVED RECENTLY (5/23/15) FROM Cindy Heun Honeycutt:
“the ghost at the Inn on Lake Lure believed to be George Penn (who was never physically in the building) did not start appearing until the 1980’s…. I think that instead it is my grandfather Jesse A Sullins, who was a patrolman stationed out of Buncombe County and the caretaker & maintenance man for the building… He passed away in Fall of 1981. The Inn was actually donated before it was sold much earlier than 1980… I believe around 1972, because my mother talked about how upset my grandfather was about it… I think he is the ghost.
See his picture below and lets remember and thank him and all patrolman in our thoughts and prayers
Patrolman Jesse A Sullins,
That in 1811, newspapers published a tale of a ghostly cavalry fight in the sky, saying it had been witnessed by an old couple who lived in the Hickory Nut Gorge. According to the old folks, on several evening in succession, two huge hosts of cavalry met in the sky, charged at one another, and struggled in a colossal battle. The old couple said they could hear bugle calls, the shouts of struggling men a, and eventually, the forces would part in retreat. “From Chimney Rock Village. See: http://www.northcarolinaghosts.com/mountains/chimney-rock-apparitions.php
That rock climbers from all over the world consider Rumbling Bald Mountain to one of the finest areas for their sport.
( My Granddaughter, Olivia Gates, Lake Lure, age 6 rock climbing! The youngest ever to scale the mountain
That just over the mountain in Fairview is a fantastic Labyrinth. “Labyrinths date back to prehistoric time, and are perceived as sacred space. They seem to have been an integral part of many cultures, such as Celtic, Mayan, Greek, and Native American. Today, labyrinths are still being used throughout the world as meditative and healing tools. When considering the labyrinth, there are only two choices: walk it, or don’t walk it! If walked, it can change one’s life.” From http://www.labyrinthcenter.com/
That the Main Street Historic District in Rutherfordton and fourteen individual properties across the county have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The first listings, Trinity Lutheran Church (St. John’s Episcopal Church) in Rutherfordton and Fox Haven Plantation in Green Hill Township, were made in 1972. That our Gorge was a part of the great Underground Railroad allowing slaves to flee the Plantation located at Greenhill: Fox Haven Plantation, circa 1775
The world’s smallest post office was located here! The Bill’s Creek community was known as Uree until 1947 and that “the world’s smallest post office” for the community was located behind where the Mountains Library now stands. From “Good Old Uree” by Martha Jane Norbitt Melton, 1981 .
(World’s Smallest Post Office- Uree, NC)
That there was on the lake a place known as The Pink Palace. The group Eternal Values studied the works of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, the Bible, Paramahansa Yogananda, the Bhagavad-Gita Upanishads, the Mother, Kahlil Gibran, Gandhi, and others. He exposed many to a study of comparative religions linking the common thread between all religions in an effort to make us all better Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus. Many lessons were learned on how to live in peace and harmony with others of different forms of spirituality.This spirit of harmony, diversity, and acceptance is alive. See: https://books.google.com/books?id=gukCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA50&dq=Eternal+Values+and+Lake+Lure&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BHdHVd-eBYq1ggT504G4BQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Eternal%20Values%20and%20Lake%20Lure&f=false
That across from the present entrance of Chimney Rock there was a tourist ghost town high on the mountain that was accessed by a chairlift. It was know as Carson City and then Silver Dollar City.
That the Esmeralda Inn was named after the screenplay “Esmeralda”, written by Francis Hodges Burnett. Ms. Burnett wrote this play while staying at the Logan House. Esmeralda was the longest running Broadway play in the 1800’s Whitesides Valley Baptist Church was organized.
That the Whiteside Church was located in the Valley that is now Lake Lure. It was named after .J. M. Whitesides the Pastor for many years. The Church is now Chimney Rock Baptist Church.
That in 1916 a major flood causes extensive damage in gorge, kills eight in Bat Cave, and destroys Chimney Rock Bridge.
The Flood of 1916 was the worst natural disaster in our area!
“The total number of casualties is unknown. At least eight people died in Bat Cave alone. People moved out of several areas of the county, such as Gerton and Middle Fork, and along sections of the Green River near and in Polk and Henderson counties, which were most severely impacted by the flood. All the topsoil washed away along the Green River in the Cove and along Bright’s Creek. It has never returned and the cove was never again a major agricultural area.
In Western North Carolina, it is estimated that at least 80 people were killed. Bridges, houses, factories, railroad lines, and other man-made structures were destroyed.” From Henderson Heritage http://hendersonheritage.com/flood-of-1916/
That the Point Of View Restaurant was called in the 30’s ” The Log Shop” built by John Delevene It was run by L. M. Pearson’s father and then LM. LM was also a past mayor of Lake Lure.
That the first TV in the Bill’s Creek Community arrived and is set up at the Dalton Store by Mr. Wallace Early .It was coin operated and 30 minutes of TV cost 25 cents. Men gathered here to see the latest TV, sit around the pot- bellied stove, talk, while the children played horse shoes outside the store.
That there is Lost Gold on Round Top Mountain!
While traveling on or near Round Top Mountain with a wagon load of gold, several Englishmen were attacked .The men prepared to ship their gold to Charleston, but Native Americans killed all but one of the Englishmen. The sole survivor, blinded in the attack, made his way back to England, where he attempted to draw a crude map to the mine. But to date, no one had found the lost gold mine. The gold is still believed by many to be hidden under some rocks or in the many caves that dot this mountain directly across from Chimney Rock.
FromTouring the Western NC Backroads, and there is a story in the Hickory Nut Gorge Tour that states:
“Legend has it that one afternoon in 1840, Christopher Bechtler was returning from business in Asheville by way of the turnpike. He passed through Joe Williams’s tollgate–and that was the last time he was seen alive. Bechtler’s smashed buggy was later found on the river rocks below the turnpike. It was said that he had been carrying a large sum of gold at the time. Neither the gold nor Bechtler’s body was ever discovered. For years after the disappearance, people reported hearing a buggy along the Rocky Broad River on moonlit nights. No one ever claimed to have seen the buggy itself.”
That the US Army used the Lake Lure Inn as a Rest Center for their pilots and airmen after World War 11
That there is a tunnel, long closed off but never filled in, that connects the inn to the companion arcade building across a parking lot, where El Lago Mexican restaurant is located
“They used that (tunnel) to transport famous guests from the hotel to the restaurant” of the time, out of the sight of fans,
That Lake Lure has one of the smallest churches in the US where you can boat right into church!
That in Bill’s Creek there is a true Ghost Town!
(……. Ayr back in the 1970s. Two wooden buildings were still standing (barely) and the foundation for a large tannery was clearly visible along with the trace for water coming down Cedar Creek. The old road bed was already grown over then. Ayr thrived from the early 1800s until shortly after 1900 when the main road from Rutherfordton to Chimney Rock and Asheville was relocated (now US 64 and old 74) Named for Ayrshire, Scotland, it had a post office and general store in addition to the tanyard which made leather goods for the Confederate Army.” From Forgotten Rutherford, by Joe Epley
That in 1828, the Buffalo Cemetery inside the gate of Rumbling Bald Resort was established by the Honorable John Whiteside. At the back of the cemetery are a least 100 unmarked graves .You can barely make out the spot of the unmarked graves as they are stones unlike the other graves. Here is a list of those buried there: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GScid=2158526
That at on the Rumbling Bald Resort Apple Valley Golf Course in the woods on hole 15 there is a cemetery from the 1800’s.See: http://www.thedigitalcourier.com/news/lakelure/x1859798645/Genealogy-group-restores-cemetery
That the 1958 movie “Thunder Road” starring Robert Mitchum was filmed on the roads between Rutherfordton and Lake Lure? See: https://www.youtube.com/embed/WUFt42urcmk
That our Lake Lure kids in the 1920s’ had the very latest school busses:):):)
(Lake Lure School transportation (school buses & drivers) 1927 – 1930 (From the book “Precious Memories, Bill’s Creek Community, Lake Lure, North Carolina” written by a cousin, Virginia Dare Dalton Wilson)
Thanks to all who have contributed to this article. A special thanks to the great folks on the Forgotten Rutherford County Facebook page!
Lake Lure, NC