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Archive for the ‘_Interviewee: Bill Carson’ Category

If you’ve ever taken a drive up Highway 221 North from Marion toward Linville Falls, you’ve probably noticed the large rocks and boulders that dot the fields and pastures on both sides of the road. All those tons of rock tumbled down the mountainside and to their current resting place during the cataclysmic flood of 1916. 

One of the many homes to be ruined by the flood. Countless others totally washed away, leaving hardly a trace that they had ever stood at all. (Photo from the Carson House Library)

One of the many homes to be ruined by the flood. Others totally washed away, leaving hardly a trace that they had ever stood at all. (Photo from the Carson House Library)

Much of western North Carolina was devastated by the event, especially along the McDowell and Mitchell County line and down into North Cove.  The Orchard at Altapass sits almost astride the continental divide, which was ground zero for this disaster. Bill Carson from the Orchard tells the story of the flood through the eyes of someone who lived through it.

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Former rocket scientist (no kidding) and master storyteller Bill Carson of the Orchard at Altapass spins a yarn about romance, destiny, and the Overmountain Men- culminating  in McDowell County’s pivotal role in the Battle of King’s Mountain and the Revolutionary War.

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In the early days of McDowell County, strong personalities often had a sizeable and lasting impact on the community.

Colonel Adams (Photo courtesy of Bill Nichols, John's Market Collection)

Colonel Adams (Photo courtesy of Bill Nichols, John's Market Collection)

The accomplished inventor Col. Daniel W. Adams of Old Fort worked to bring water, electricity and telephone service to the town. Adams also served as a mountain guide and designer of municipal fountains, among a myriad of other interests and abilities. He also built a very architecturally eccentric home, which can be seen in the photo to the right.

Charlie McKinney of North Cove/Little Switzerland is a legendary figure as well, known for  other “talents”, including the ability to provide four dozen young heads for four dozen new hats from J.D. Blanton’s store in Marion. Terrell Finley (above) of The Mountain Gateway Museum talks about Col. Adams:…and Bill Carson of the Orchard at Altapass tells us about the “colorful” Charlie McKinney:

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