Morrow Mountain State Park: A Long Journey II

Because the history of Morrow Mountain is so deep and rich, I thought it to be deserving of two posts instead of one, and I think by now you may agree with me, reader. So, I’ll pick up where I left off! My main source for this piece of my investigation will the NCPedia history of Morrow Mountain.

After the Native Americans migrated out of the area (the Morrow Mountain Area) there is a bit of a gap in the documented history of the area. We know that the Pee Dee River area has been colonized since about 1700, since this was a major thoroughfare for people and fertile land for agriculture. Some documents indicate the presence of a couple Native American tribes such as the Sapona, Saura, and Catawba.

Before 1808, there is evidence that very little was known about the natural area due to inaccuracies in the early maps and little to no details about the elements of nature found in the area. However, by 1808, we can assume that the area became more popular and populated due to the increase in accuracy of the maps of the area. Included were indications of which families lived where, and documented the small town of “Tinsdalesville” that no longer exists – it was wiped out by a tornado and typhoid.

Kron Family Home on Morrow Mountain Hillside.

In 1834, the Kron family built their house on the scenic hillside of Morrow Mountain, and owned 234 acres of the mountain, that were later sold to a number of people via Dr. Kron’s daughters, and eventually came into the possession of James Morrow. Unfortunately, the original house was torn down in the 1950’s, and all that remains of it today are photos and a reconstructed version of the house that was completed in the late 1960’s. In 1884, Morrow Mountain, which was later named for the owner of the land James Morrow, was struck by a catastrophic hurricane, stripping the mountain of its trees and, for a time, earning it the name “Naked Mountain.”

Photo of “Naked Mountain” cir. 1920. Photograph held at Stanly County Museum.
James Morrow photographed at the dedication of Morrow Mountain State Park on June 29, 1940.

In 1930, a committee was formed for the incorporation of Morrow Mountain as a State Park, and one of the sitting members was no other than James Morrow himself. Morrow, among others on this committee, were highly instrumental in securing a $20,000 bond for the purchase of land for the park. This land was then turned over to North Carolina’s Department of Conservation and Development for development and administration.  Because of this, over 1,800 acres of total land, including the land that constitutes the Morrow Mountain area, were donated to the state and development of the park eventually began in 1935. By September, the area of land being developed for state park use had increased to 3,000 acres, which pushed back completion of the park and its facilities to 1939 instead of its predicted 1937.

The park finally opened for public use on August 17, 1939, and the dedication ceremony was held later on June 29th, 1940. The celebratory festivities included a parade through Albemarle, a “bathing beauty contest,” an address by the Governor, and a water carnival (whatever that is). Morrow Mountain State Park was a big deal!

Yes that’s right, Morrow Mountain was recognized as a state park before the Uwharrie Mountains were made into an “official” national forest! As it stands now, the entire park is 4, 508 acres.

Additional Photos:

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