History of the Lake Lure & Chimney Rock Village.
The vision of a resort community in Western North Carolina was the vision of Dr. Lucius B. Morse. Poor health brought Dr. Morse to the Hickory Nut Gorge and it was from this area in the early nineteen hundreds that the vision of a lake and a resort development was spawned. Soliciting the financial backing of his brothers, Hiram and Asahel, Morse purchased Chimney Rock Mountain (400 acres) and 65 surrounding acres for $5,000 from Jerome Freeman as Chimney Rock Mountain, Inc. formally establishing Chimney Rock Park in 1902.
The centerpiece of Dr. Morses resort was to be a man-made lake created by impounding the Rocky Broad River at Tumbling Shoals. This lake eventually became Lake Lure. The lake was named Lake Lure by Dr. Morse’s wife, Elizabeth Parkenson. The mountains contained a rare rock outcropping (Chimney Rock) that rose some 315 feet straight up, providing climbers with views of over 75 miles.
Within a few years, a small village called Chimney Rock formed at the base of the mountain to supply travelers heading to the private park.Subsequently Chimney Rock Mountain, Inc. acquired enough acreage in what is now the Lake Lure area to bring the total to 8,000 acres or 12.5 square miles, including the valley in which Lake Lure lies and the hills and mountains above. History of the Town of Lake Lure. The Town of Lake Lure was incorporated in 1927. As incorporated, the boundaries of the town included the entirety of the body of water known as Lake Lure.
The North Carolina General Assembly has authorized the Town of Lake Lure to acquire and hold real property. The Town has express authority to regulate activities occurring on Lake Lure. The town also has significant discretion in the exercise of its authority to protect or promote the health, morals, order, safety and general welfare of the Town of Lake Lure. The plans for a resort development came to a halt in 1929 with the failure of the economy. On October 24, 1929 both the Standard Mortgage Company and Stroud & Company foreclosed their mortgages. Following the foreclosures, the Standard Mortgage Company established the Lureland Realty Company to dispose of the property that had been secured by the property owned by Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc.
One of the first acts of the Lureland Realty Company was an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the bed of Lake Lure. By January of 1942, the Lureland Realty Company had disposed of all of the property that had been owned by Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. Stroud & Company continued to operate the Carolina Mountain Power Company. On August 12 1931, the assets of the Carolina Mountain Power Company were transferred to the Carolina Mountain Corporation. William C. Rommell, president of Stroud & Company, operated the Carolina Mountain Corporation from 1931 until Lake Lure was acquired by the Town of Lake Lure in 1965.
The Town of Lake Lure had been operating the recreational facilities located at the lake for almost thirty years before Lake Lure was acquired from the Carolina Mountain Corporation. Their operations were based on a year,to,year lease arrangement between the Town of Lake Lure and the Carolina Mountain Corporations. The acquisition by the town was facilitated by legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1963 that authorized the Town of Lake Lure to issue revenue bonds for the purpose of acquiring Lake Lure. The acquisition was completed on July 26,1965.Property that once belonged to the Carolina Mountain Corporation was now the property of the Town of Lake Lure.
This included all of the property which has been, or at any time hereafter may be, submerged by the dam erected across the Broad River at the site known as Tumbling Shoals, Chimney Rock Township, Rutherford County, North Carolina, lying below 995 feet above sea level, as based upon the official bench marks of the United States Geological Survey. This property, which comprises the bed of Lake Lure, lies within the limits of the Town of Lake Lure.History of Lake Lure used references from the Town’s Land Use Plan, The Mini-History of Lake Lure by Carl R. McIntosh, The Law of Lake Lure by George William Sherk and University of North Carolinas School of Government.
Special thanks to former mayor, Jim Proctor & Chimney Rock State Park for contributing information to this article.