Yesterday: South Yadkin River

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 27, 2012

Dan Lyerly, formerly of Woodleaf and now of Spencer, brought in this “Yesterday” photo and wondered if the Post had any additional information to go with it. Jim Rumley, a local historian who knows a lot about Cooleemee, says the photograph shows the South Yadkin River, not the Yadkin. Here’s what else he had to say: “No one is alive today that remembers the way things looked in 1900, however, we have photos of the change that took place over the years following the construction of the 12-foot-high, 422-foot dam. It seems clear this photo was taken very early, maybe as early as 1899 or 1900. It is also possible the dam at this point was only 10 feet high. The Dukes decided to add 2 more feet to the dam after 1900. This had the effect of first creating an island above the dam, then finally the island washed away leaving today’s present view up river. A second, little-known fact is that Cooleemee became a tourist attraction with excursion trains bringing crowds of people for day trips to enjoy Cooleemee and the river. One of the first was from Mooresville. The brass band would greet them, then if they wished to swim they could rent a bathing suit from J.N. Leford’s store.”