Lake Lure is located in Hickory Nut Gorge, which was once home to the Cherokee and Catawba Indians. In the 1800’s the area was part of the Gold Rush in the southeastern United States which preceded the movement west to California. During that time the town of Buffalo grew on the banks of the Broad River and subsequently, when the Gold Rush moved west, became a small town surrounded by farms.
In 1902 Lucius B. Morse moved to the area and bought 800 acres including Chimney Rock, which had been open to the public since the 1880’s, from Jerome Freeman. He and his twin brothers founded Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. to make the purchase. The vantage point was not easily accessible, and for the next years they worked to build a bridge and a road up the mountain so that the public could reach it more easily. In 1916 Chimney Rock was dedicated, but Lucius Morse had more dreams to fulfill.
Gazing down the Rocky Broad River valley from Chimney Rock, Morse envisioned a lake resort that would be one of the largest in the country. With his brother’s financing and help Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. eventually acquired around 8,000 acres, including the small town of Buffalo and the surrounding farms. In 1925 construction of an electricity generating dam was started, partly to power the resort and also as a source of revenue, and in 1927 Lake Lure, named by Lucius’s wife Elizabeth, was completed. The town of Buffalo is still underneath its calm waters. That same year the 1927 Lake Lure Inn, also built by Morse, opened for business and the town of Lake Lure was incorporated.
With the collapse of the economy in 1929 Morse’s company was unable to hold onto the lake and surrounding area. They were able to keep Chimney Rock Park and the family continued to run it until the state of North Carolina purchased it in 2007 as part of a larger state park acquisition process.
Instead of one large resort Lake Lure has become a popular vacation destination of privately owned homes. Families have spent their summer vacations here for generations because of the vision of Lucius Morse.
In the 1930’s the Lodge was built by the North Carolina highway patrol as a retreat for patrolmen and their families. They would fly in by seaplane and spend time with their families and other officers to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The Lodge opened to the public as The Lodge on Lake Lure in 1990. As the only lakefront lodging business in Lake Lure, it offers a uniquely relaxing experience to its visitors. Its Treetops Restaurant offers the perfect meal with stunning views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge mountains.