Towns Under the Waters of Lake Norman

Prior to the actual building of the lake we all enjoy today, Lake Norman, there were actual mills and mill towns that stood on the property that is now under water. “The early history of the entire Lake Norman area is really interesting because of the mills, industries and families that were here prior to the actual flooding and building of Lake Norman,” said Lowry Hobbs of Westport Marina. “So many people have no idea that there were towns that existed under the surface of the lake water.”

Mills Shut Down To Make Way for Lake Norman

Two cotton mills, the East Monbo and Long Island mills, were closed in the 1950s to make way for the largest man-made lake in North Carolina, Lake Norman. Each of those mills employed about 120 people who worked and lived in small mill villages that were built within walking distance of each mill.

Lake Norman map of old Mill villages that are buried under water.

Duke Energy cleared most of the debris and machinery out of the mills and homes, but there are still machines and remains from those mills and homes under the surface of Lake Norman.

The story has it that the workers and families from both the East Monbo and Long Island mills were given the opportunity to own their homes free of charge if they were able to move those homes outside of the flooded areas.

Those two mill villages were named East Monbo, NC, and Long Island, NC.

These two Mill villages were buried under Lake Norman.

Georgian-style Plantation Home Buried Under Lake Norman

Another interesting artifact under the waters of Lake Norman is the plantation home of John D. Graham, the son of Revolutionary War hero General Joseph Graham. The plantation was called Elm Wood Estate and it was located in Catawba Springs, NC. The home was built in the 1820’s and it was the grandest in the area. Duke Power purchased the home during the Great Depression. The home was eventually abandoned and left to decay.

So you never know when you’re boating, skiing, tubing, rafting or swimming in Lake Norman that you may be passing over an old mill village or plantation home!

Come see us here at Westport Marina this spring and summer. We have your favorite boat rentals, the best boat service on the lake and the most popular snacks and drinks at Nate’s Snack Bar.