The churning waters of ‘The Bullhole’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

COOLEEMEE — Larry Watson of Rowan County recently traveled to RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls, also known as “The Bullhole,” to take pictures of the falls and water running over the old dam. The South Yadkin River has been running plenty high lately with all the rainfall. The Bullhole today is a nature park offering hiking trails, swimming, picnicking, fishing and a shelter that can be rented for gatherings. Access to the 30-acre park is at the end of Erwin Temple Church Road, which is on the Rowan County side of the river dividing Rowan and Davie counties. The dam was built in connection with the old Erwin Cotton Mill. The story goes — and there are variations — that when the Erwin Mill was being built at the turn of the 20th century, oxen and mule teams were hauling timbers across the river. An elderly man’s favorite bull ox was knocked off its feet in the churning water. The bull was choking on its yoke, and after the frantic owner broke the animal free, he watched his bull ox slip away and disappear into the river, never to be seen again. It’s been known as the Bullhole ever since. The park opened in 2003.