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 gorge and it was from Chimney Rock in the early 1900s, that the vision of a lake and a resort development was spawned. The resort was to be developed by Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. The centerpiece was to be a lake created by impounding the Rocky Broad River at Tumbling Shoals. This lake was to become Lake Lure. Dr. Morse’s wife, Elizabeth Parkenson, named the lake Lake Lure.
Soliciting the financial backing of his brothers Hiram and Asahel, Dr. Morse proceeded to purchase Chimney Rock (400 acres) from Jerome Freeman in 1902 for $5,000 in the name of Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. Subsequently the company 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.
Plans continued for the property, including building a dam on the Rocky Broad River to create a lake and the possibility a year-round resort.
Carolina Mountain Power Company, all of whose common stock was owned by the Chimney Rock Mountains Inc was formed and the construction of the dam began in 1925. In return for this stock, Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc., deeded to the power company the land and easements for the site of the dam and powerhouse, all of the inundated area of Lake Lure and ground for transmission lines to Turner’s Dam.
The remainder of the 8,000 acres continued in the ownership of Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc.
The Carolina Mountain Power Company financed construction of the dam that impounded Lake Lure through a $550,000 first mortgage with Stroud & Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This mortgage was secured by the property owned by the Carolina Mountain Power Company including the land on which the dam was constructed as well as the land inundated by Lake Lure.
The dam was completed in September 1926 and the creation of the lake began. The full impoundment of Lake Lure was completed in 1927. At ordinary water levels, Lake Lure covers approximately 720 acres and has a shoreline of approximately 27 miles.
(*) History of Lake Lure used references from the Town's Land Use Plan, The Mini-History of Lake Lure by Carl R. McIntosh, and The Law of Lake Lure by George William Sherk.