By Brian Graves, Staff Writer
Thursday, October 24, 2013 —
A Stanly County landmark celebrates its 75th birthday next year, and the events to mark the occassion have begun.
Morrow Mountain State Park was established in 1939 and Sunday afternoon the Friends of Morrow Mountain State Park hosted a seminar encompassing the history of the area.
John Young, vice chairman of the organization, welcomed everyone, talking about how the “Friends” started one year ago.
“We are a group of over 100 citizens dedicated to promote and support Morrow Mountain State Park,” Young said.
He also thanked the park staff for their work in a difficult year.
“We would like to say a special thanks to the park’s dedicated staff who had one tough year due to the major storm that hit the area and took down thousands of trees,” Young said.
He said the damage had kept the park from drawing its usual 400,000-plus visitors this year.
“This park is the major center for ecotourism here in Stanly County and brings in visitors to our region who buy gas, eat in local restaurants, shop in local stores and often spend the night,” Young said.
He told the standing room only crowd in the park’s lodge a major goal of the organization was to enhance the protection and preservation of the park’s natural, scenic, cultural and historic resources.
“We are in the midst of preserving the important park documents and photos by creating a digital archive that will be available to all,” Young said.
He noted Alcoa had provided a grant to provide hardware for the project.
“We hope to work with Digital N.C., a statewide historical archive site connected to the Wilson Library at UNC, to house our archives,” Young said.
The special guest of the afternoon was Jeff Michael, director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban Institute.
Michael is also the co-founder and former director of the Land Trust for Central N.C. and is head of the Morrow Mountain Park Advisory Committee.
Michael spent almost two hours showing photographs and maps from the region’s development and shared stories of some of the unique characters who played a part in the area’s development.
“In 1819, people were looking at this area as a center of industry because of the great water resources available here,” Michael said in speaking of the importance of the Yadkin River to the area.
He also spoke of Tindalsville, a town that people of the times had envisioned as a center of industry, but was never able to fully develop because of the rugged terrain.
Michael also called the mountain “one of the most significant Native American sites in all of North America.”
The next event scheduled in the special celebration will be the annual Old Fashioned Day from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 3.
Friends of Morrow Mountain also hope more people will get involved and become members of the organization.
More information about the group and how to become a member is on the group’s website at morrowmountain.org.
To submit story ideas, call Brian Graves at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email brian @stanlynewspress.com.