MORSE FAMILY
PROMOTIONAL BOOKLET FOR CHIMNEY ROCK PARK
Box Page Item I.D. # Description Thumbnails
  cover mors_crp_001 Chimney Rock Park mors_crp_001.jpg (295796 bytes)
  1 mors_crp_002 WHEN DR. LUCIUS B. MORSE RODE HIS HORSE THROUGH HICKORY NUT GORGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1900, HE WAS CAPTIVATED BY ITS RUGGED BEAUTY. HE WAS ESPECIALLY INTRIGUED BY THE TOWERING CHIMNEY ROCK AND WAS SOON DREAMING OF A PLAN THAT WOULD SHAPE THE REST OF HIS LIFE AND THOSE OF HIS OLDER TWIN BROTHERS HIRAM AND ASAHEL.
Morse firmly believed that the gorge could be developed in a way that would preserve its
natural beauty while making it more accessible to the rest of the world. He paid 25 cents for
a mule ride to the Chimney and its spectacular view and felt certain that others would welcome the chance to do the same. Immediately, he wrote to Hiram and Asahel sharing his vision and urging them to come see the area for themselves. And, not long after receiving their letters, the twins headed east to North Carolina.
 
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  2 mors_crp_003 IN THE MEANTIME, MORSE'S PLAN HAD GROWN. IN ADDITION TO DEVELOPING CHIMNEY ROCK INTO A SCENIC ATTRACTION, HE ENVISIONED THE ENTIRE GORGE AS A VACATION AREA WITH A LAKE SURROUNDED BY BEACHES, INNS, GOLF COURSES, HORSE TRAILS, CAMPS AND PRIVATE HOMES.  After showing the gorge to his brothers, Morse quickly convinced them that the dream could become a reality.  So, the three brothers pooled their resources and in 1902 purchased a 64-acre tract that included Chimney Rock Park and the surrounding cliffs.  In the early years, visitors came to the area by carriage or horseback.  Those wishing to reach the top of Chimney Rock followed a narrow, winding trail from the Rocky Broad River to the base of the Rock.  From that point on, they scaled the side of the Chimney using a series of ladders and bridges that had been built by Watt Foster when the Chimney was owned by Jerome B. Freeman.  So that more people would be able to reach the top of the Chimney and see its magnificent view, the brothers began work on a road from the bridge wide enough and strong enough to carry automobiles across the river.  They also began work on a road from the bridge to a parking area at the base of Chimney Rock.  Hiram describes the construction this way:

In the spring of 1916, the road to Chimney Rock had been partly built to a point two miles above the entrance.  From that point the

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  3 mors_crp_004 terrain began to be so rugged - due to the presence of debris below the precipice and tremendous blocks pf granite as big as houses which had been catapulted from the mountains above - that my brothers advised that the road be terminated and a pedestrian trail be built from that point to the Chimney.  I counseled against this plan, upon the conviction that the public would not make the difficult climb afoot and successfully urged that the last mile of road be driven to the base of the precipice and Chimney...

Then came the problem of constructing this mile of road.  The great blocks of granite must be drilled for dynamite.  But the drills must be steam driven, and we had no water there then available.  To get the water we bought forty acres of land on the top of the mountain.  This tract contained a spring, and we piped the water from it to the top of the lower road.  Here, after dragging up a steam boiler from below, we set four steam drills at work and used two carloads of dynamite to break the way for this last mile of road.  For several months 75 men worked on that stretch of road, before it was driven [in late June 1916] to the base of Pavilion [Visual] Rock.

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  4 mors_crp_005 THE MORSE BROTHERS PLANNED AJULY4, 1916, DEDICATION OF THE .NEW BRIDGE AND. ROAD AND HELD THE FESTIVITIES IN SPITE OF BAD WEATHER CAUSED BY HURRICANE HILDA.  UNFORTUNATELY, THE RAINS CONTINUED TO FALL WITHOUT RELIEF, AND AS THE WATERS RUSHED DOWN THE SIDES OF THE GORGE, THEY TOOK WITH THEM SECTIONS OF THE NEW ROAD AND CARVED THE REMAINING SEGMENTS INTO IMPASSABLE RUTS.  Then on July 16 the roaring waters of the swollen Rocky Broad swept away the new bridge -  only 12 days after its dedication.  In spite of these setbacks, the Morses were not discouraged, and they began rebuilding the bridge and road as soon as the ground was dry.  Over the next five years, the Morses added a number of new features to the property.  First, a stone gatehouse and a gatekeeper's lodge were built two thirds of the way up the Chimney itself.  Nanny also improved the existing trails - many of which had been created as early as 1885 by Watt Foster and Jerome Freeman -  and added a series of vantage points along the trail leading to the Falls Creek cascades at the top of Hickory Nut Falls.  Realizing that many visitors would welcome a convenient place to dine, the Morses created the Pavilion, a three-story restaurant capable of seating 200 people.  On May 15, 1919, the Pavilion opened under the management of Mrs. A. M. Grover and was soon famous for its fried chicken dinners and its spectacular view from Vista Rock just below the Chimney. mors_crp_005.jpg (282921 bytes)
  5 mors_crp_006   mors_crp_006.jpg (196293 bytes)
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With Nanney’s help, the Morses opened the Cliff Dwellers Inn in time for the Park’s 1920 season.  To avoid detracting from the natural beauty of the area, the Morses designed their inn as a series of two- and three-room cottages with shower baths and hot and cold running water - state-of-the-art accommodations in those days.  The inn included a common area called the Club Room, which had as its back wall the granite face of the cliff.  The Club Room served as a gathering area for guests as well as their dining room and, like the Pavilion, offered guests an incredible view of Hickory Nut Gorge and the lands to the southeast.

Confident that guests at the Park were well provided for, the three brothers turned their thoughts to the rest of the gorge.  They realized that addition investors would be needed to preserve and develop the natural beauty of the area, so Dr. Morse took on the task of recruiting these investors from the business communities in Rutherford and surrounding counties.  By 1923, enough people had committed to the Morses’ dream for the area to create Chimney Rock Mountains Inc., which was capitalized at $400,000 – the largest corporation granted a charter by the state of North Carolina up to that time.

 

DR. LUCIUS BOARDMAN MORSE

1871 – 1946

In 1900, Lucius B. Morse moved from Missouri to Western North Carolina in hopes of curing his tuberculosis at the area’s successful sanatoriums.  During his convalescence, Morse frequently rode on horseback to Chimney Rock by way of Hickory Nut Gorge, which was known at the time as Hickory Nut Gap.  These outings inspired the dream that would shape Morse’s life as well as those of his twin brothers Hiram and Asahel and lead to the development of Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure.

Morse remained in the Hickory Nut Gorge area even after his health improved – taking an active interest in the area’s development and the protection of its natural beauty.

In 1946 at the age of 75, Morse died and was buried in the cemetery adjoining Chimney Rock Baptist Church with his headstone facing Chimney Rock.

 
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With Dr. Lucius B. Morse as its president, Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc., purchased over 8,000 acres of land – including Chimney Rock Park – and began implementing a plan that was almost identical to that shared by the Morse brothers nearly 20 years earlier.  The plan included a dam 104 feet high and 574 feet long that would generate electricity and form a lake (Lake Lure) covering approximately 1,200 acres.  The plan also called for the polo fields, an aviation field, areas, hotels, and a casino.

 
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Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc., invited other to share in the investment through a prospectus issued in 1925 that encouraged potential investors by stating, “A fact not generally recognized is the unusual stability of high-class resorts.  This has been repeatedly demonstrated by statistical investigation.  It is doubtless explained by the circumstance that the patronage of fist-class resorts comes from a wide area of country over which some industries or business are always prosperous.”

 
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  10 mors_crp_011 UNFORTUNATELY, THE PROSPECTUS WAS SOON PROVEN WRONG WHEN THE STOCK MARKET CRASHED IN 1929 AND USHERED IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION. BY THIS TIME SOME PROJECTS HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND OTHERS STARTED, but the new resort was not producing enough revenue to keep ahead of the creditors.  One by one, banks and other financial backers began foreclosing on the Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc., properties.

To ensure the continued preservation of Chimney Rock and its surrounding lands and cliffs, the Morses' family-owned corporation, the Chimney Rock Company, repurchased the Park and continued to welcome visitors to the Pavilion, the Cliff Dwellers Inn and the Park throughout the difficult years of the Depression.

In 1932, the Morse brothers hired Norman Greig to manage the
 

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  11 mors_crp_012 day-to-day operation of the Park and to make promotional presentations throughout the country.  Greig was determined to succeed, and his efforts paid off.  By 1934, Chimney Rock Park was ready to begin a series of new projects including: a stone entrance wall gate, a gate, a ticket office, visitor restrooms, Park offices, a reflecting pool, and an improves parking area.

The Park hired Asheville architect and designer Douglas Ellington to oversee the projects and to ensure that they complemented the rustic beauty if the area.  Ellington took his orders seriously and frequently accompanied the workmen into the woods to select rocks to be preserved to that the new buildings would blend in with the Park's natural setting.

In 1938, Morse, Greig, and Nanney added a new attraction to the Park - a series of bridle trails and a corral of horses.  On horseback, visitors could now explore not only the areas right around the Chimney and Cliff Dwellers Inn but also portions of the Park located on the far side of Hickory Nut falls.  To make some of the steeper cliffs accessible to horses, Nanney designed a series of rock-filled, dirt-covered, six-foot wide cribs to carry the bridle trails across the cliffs.

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EVEN WHILE WORK WAS UNDERWAY ON THE BRIDLE TRAILS, EVERYONE'S ATTENTION SHIFTED TO A LARGER PROJECT — TO ANOTHER DREAM.  THIS TIME IT WAS HIRAM MORSE'S DREAM.  SINCE THE EARLY 1920's, AND PERHAPS BEFORE, HIRAM HAD  FIRMLY BELIEVED THAT THE PARK NEEDED A MECHANICAL device to help visitors reach the top of the Chimney and its 75-mile view.  By 1946, Hiram felt that he was finally in a position to finance the project.

On Hiram's behalf, Greig and Lucius Morse asked Arnold H. Vanderhoof, a consulting engineer in Asheville, to study the feasibility and costs of an elevator that would travel diagonally along a crevice in the rock face or a traditional elevator running vertically through a shaft inside the cliff.  After reviewing the options, Morse felt that the elevator, in spite of its additional costs, was the "only feasible plan, due to the cavalcade of water [pouring down the cliffs and crevices] following the storms."


A Motor Trip Veritably to Nature' "The Land of the Sky". description used in 1919 promotional brouchure.

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  13 mors_crp_014 PLANTS OF THE PARK

THE PARK IS A PARADISE for wildflower enthusiasts.  From the first bloodroot flowers in March to the yellow blossoms of witch-hazel in November, there is an endless succession of colors and textures to be observed along the trails.

Some of these plants are quite rare, but they have found a home in the Park due to a unique combination of geologic and topographic features.  Most of the rare plants, such as bleeding heart, spreading rockcress, white-leaf sunflower, and sweet pinesap grow off the trails in the woods, but the Biltmore sedge is found in profusion along the Skyline Trail.

The Park is especially pretty in April and May when Carolina rhododendron covers the hillsides with millions of white blossoms.  At this same time, purple phacelia neatly offsets white dogwoods, and the ubiquitous maroon trillium - called little sweet Betsy - fills the air with its delicate fragrance.  Eastern columbine, dwarf crested iris, bluet, birdfoot violet, and many other colorful flowers dot the trailside in the spring.  Meanwhile, several flowering shrubs follow in rapid succession, and lacy-white fragrant fringetree graces the edges of the rock faces,

Sundrops - lemon yellow lights in the dense greenery -  and pink Carolina rose indicated the beginning of summer.  The plumes of goatsbeard and the sprites of blazing star, black cohosh, and obedient plant joint in the display.  White, yellow, blue, and purple members of the Asher family and the many fall hues of our trees continue the promenade of colors until the first strong frosts.  Then it is only a few month's time before the spring blossoms reappear and the cycle begins again.

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  14 mors_crp_015   mors_crp_015.jpg (238936 bytes)
  15 mors_crp_016 WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF " CHIMNEY ROCK COMPANY, PLANS FOR A VERTICAL ELEVATOR BEGAN IN EARNEST.  UNFORTUNATELY, MORSE WOULD NOT LIVE TO SEE THIS AMBITIOUS PROJECT completed; in July 1946, Dr. Lucius B. Morse died following his decades-long fight against tuberculosis.

The plans, however, were in motion, and by November 1947, T.A. Cox Jr. of Asheville was hired as the engineer for the project and Salmon and Cowin, Inc., were secured as the general contractors.  Following extensive surveying and planning, the work began with the blasting of a tunnel (8 feet square and 198 feet long) leading from the parking area to what would become the base of the elevator shaft.  Next, the crew used a three - inch diamond drill to bore a hole from the top of the cliff to the tunnel below.  Eight tons of dynamite later, the drilled hole had been widened to the point that it could serve as the elevator shaft.  The workmen next installed a stairway in the shaft with landings every seven feet so that a landing would never be more than three and a half above or below the emergency exit in the elevator's back wall.
THE ELEVATOR

YEAR WORK BEGAN: 1946

YEAR WORK COMPLETED:1948

SPECIAL TOOLS USED: 3 inch diamond drilling bit and over 8 tons of dynamite

ELEVATOR SHAFT: 258 feet long

TUNNEL TO ELEVATOR: 198 feet long

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 3,500 pounds

TOTAL ELEVATOR TRIP TIME: just over 30 seconds (one way)

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  16 mors_crp_017 With flood plains northfacing cliffs, mature hardwood forest, and open meadows proving in an abundance of diverse habitat at Chimney Rock Park, its not surprising that there's an abundance of birdlife, too.  All in all over 100 species of birds have been observed in the Park, and a sharp-eyed observed might see as many as 50 bird species on a spring day.

Birds of prey are a common sight soaring above the cliffs in Chimney Rock Park.  Most will be the resident Black Turkey Vultures, but you may be lucky enough to see one of the Peregrine Falcons that have taken up residence in Hickory Nut Gorge.  Following a recent re-introduction program to the North Carolina mountains, this. endangered birds of prey is now seen more frequently.  In fact, during the summer of 1990, a pair of Peregrines successfully raised three chicks in a nest on the sheer cliff beyond the Devil's Head.  In late September and early October, hundreds of birds of prey migrate through the gorge.  During a single day near the end of September 1992, more than 3,00 Broad-winged Hawks were seen flying south behind a cold front.  And, although they're not birds, the migration of Monarch butterflies is yet another fall spectacle Park visitors can enjoy.

Many other birds are easily seen in the Park.  Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings are common summer visitors.  Eastern Phoebes nest on the cliff faces, and Dark-eyed Juncos also breed in small numbers at possibly their lowest elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  From Ruby-throated Humming birds to Great Blue Herons - the birdlife at Chimney Rock Park is truly varied, and each season had unique opportunities for the experienced birder and the casual observer alike.

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  17 mors_crp_018   mors_crp_018.jpg (217370 bytes)
  18 mors_crp_019 Finally, everything was ready for Otis Corporation to install a high-speed, stainless steel elevator - the tallest in North Carolina at the time - capable 3,500 pounds up the 258 feet of the shaft in just over 30 seconds.

While all this work was going on inside the granite cliffs, other work crews were busy outside.  One group was paving the three-mile road from the Rocky Broad River to the base of the Chimney.  A second was building the Sky Lounge - a combination gift shop, snack bar and elevator lobby.  Still other crews were tearing down the Pavilion and Cliff Dwellers Inn, both of which were in need of complete renovation.

Eighteen months after the fury of blasting and building began, Hiram Morse's dream was fulfilled.  He marked the occasion with a dedication ceremony on May 16, 1949, at which he cut a ribbon and officially opened the elevator and Sky Lounge.

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  19 mors_crp_020   mors_crp_020.jpg (330177 bytes)
  20 mors_crp_021 "DURING THE 50s, THE PARK ADDED TWO ANNUAL EVENTS TO ITS CALENDAR. IN 1955, THE CLERGY OF HICKORY NUT GORGE WORKED TOGETHER TO PRESENT THE FIRST NON-DENOMINATIONAL EASTER Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock Park.  The service is held at the base of the Chimney looking out toward the magnificient sunrise veiw, and each year it is broadcast live over WHKP-AM Hendersonville, North Carolina, which was founded by Kermit Edney, one of the individuals instrumental in organizing the first Chimney Rock Park Easter Sunrise Service.

A small number of sports car enthusiasts visited the Park in 1956 and were thrilled with the twisting, three-mile climb from the granted permission to hold an annual sports car event -  the Chimney Rock Hillclimb - which celebrated its 50th and final running in 1995. (Twenty-six years later, the Hillclimb inspired the first Hillfall, where gravity-powered washtub vehicles race down the Chimney Rock Road. 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

For years film producers have appreciated the variety of landscape availiable in Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock State Park.  Whether a film needs pristine scenery, breathtaking vistas, sheer cliffs, rugged mountains, a pastoral lake, quaint villages, or a roaring waterfall - it;s there waiting to be part of the feature.  More recent films made in the Hickory Nut Gorge area include: A Breed Apart (1983), Firestarter (1984), Dirty Dancing (1988) and The Last of the Mohicans (1991)

Making movies in the Hickory Nut Gorge is not a new phenomenom.  As early as the 1890s, the Vitagraph Moving Picture Company was making silent movies - such as Esmeralda and In the Heart of the Blue Ridge - with the gorge their backdrop.

As an aside to the 1938 bridle trail proposal, Lucius Morse writes of an interesting encounter he had with the film industry:

"In the pre-Hollywood days, some 50 or 75 pictures were screened in Hickory Nut Gorge and the vicinity.
 

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  21 mors_crp_022 Notable among these pictures was the "Blue Ridge Bandit" series.  These were the days that when one Austrian Michael Schliesers of New York City would ship wild animals to Chimney Rock for movie picture production.  He was so pleased with Chimney Rock['s] climate as well as scenery that he wanted to permanently cage some 100 animals up at the Chimney, incidentally suggesting - in all seriousness - an elephant transport service for guests up to guests up to Chimney Rock.  All without charge just to give them needed exercise.  Photographic background and climate were his activating motives." mors_crp_022.jpg (253724 bytes)
  22 mors_crp_023   mors_crp_023.jpg (201443 bytes)
  23 mors_crp_024 IN THE SPRING OF 1963, THE PARK OPENED A NEW ATTRACTION -JEEP TRAIL RIDES. USING LONG-AXLE JEEPS, DRIVERS CARRIED VISITORS ON A RUGGED ROAD THROUGH RHODODENDRON THICKETS AND TOWERING HARDWOOD FORESTS TO THE BASE OF HICKORY NUT FALLS.  ALTHOUGH THE JEEP RIDES proved popular, the Park discontinued the during the energy crisis of the 70s, and the road became hiking trail named the Forest Stroll.

Luciuc B. Morse III and Todd B. Morse (Hiram Morse's grandson and great-grandson) became actively involved as the directors of the Park in the 1970s and 80s respectively.  During these years, they focused on improvements to make the grounds and trails safer and more convenient.  They replaced bridges and stairs, improved trails, added scenic view points, and refurbished the buildings and elevator.  In 1981, they created the five-acre Medows to meet the needs of large groups visiting the Park.  One of the most dramatic rebuilding during this period occurred after the Sky Lounge burned to the ground on Labor Day weekend in 1981.  Helicopters were used to transport trusses and other building supplies to the work crews at the Cliffside building site, and the new Sky Lounge was ready for Park visitors by June of 1982.

"The most widely known, the most stupendously interesting, and the most universally enjoyed scenic objective in the South." - advertising slogan used during the early days of the park.

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  24 mors_crp_025 To know the real story of CHIMNEY ROCK PARK, you'd have to go back approximately 535 million years to a time when the molten interior of the earth welled up, cooled, and solidified into a large mass of granite to Henderson gneiss (pronounced "nice").  Then slowly but surly the winds and waters extremes of temperature eroded the surface of the earth done to the Henderson gneiss, the type of rock that forms the Chimney and surrounding cliffs.

Over time, these same forces carved away exposed portions of the Henderson gneiss that were weakened by faults and joints - including the area between the cliffs and the removed by the elements, the Chimney grew - not up - but rather out and down from the side of the cliff.  And as erosion continues, the Chimney will appear to grow taller and further cliff face.

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  25 mors_crp_026 In addition to making the Park safer and more convenient, the Morses placed an even greater emphasis on the preservation of plants and wildlife in Hickory Nut Gorge.  In 1978, tow University of North Carolina at Charlotte professors had surveyed the Park and discovered an astonishing diversity of plants and many unique geological features.  Based on this initial study, the Park opened its gates to botany, geology, and other natural science students and professors and to provide guided walks and educational presentations.

In 1987, the first Nature Center opened at the top of Chimney Rock road in a small, old, stone building that had previously been used for storage and Park maintenance.  The Nature Center presented information about the plants and wildlife of the Park and housed exhibits about the Park's development.  In 1992, a new larger Nature Center opened at the Meadows to provide visitors with a better understanding of the Park.

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  26 mors_crp_027 THAT SAME YEAR, THE PARK ADOPTED A YEAR-ROUND SCHEDULE, .AND FOR THE FIRST TIME VISITORS WERE TREATED TO THE WINTERTIME BEAUTY OF THE PARK.  THE GRACEFUL SILHOUETTES OF MIGHTY RED OAKS AND and tulip poplars, dramatic contours of ancient rock formations, gentle curves of mountain slopes - all hidden much of the year behind lush foliage - were now visible from the main road and trails.  And the Chimney itself - dusted with snow, its sheer cliffs coated in ice - glistened in the heart of the Park.

In the spring, Todd B. Morse, who had been manager of the Park for a short stinit in the mid-80s, returned to the area and assumed the role of President and general manager of the Park.  While the family had always nurtured the property, he became the first member of the Morse family since Dr. Morse to manage the Park full time.

The rugged beauty of the Park had long attracted celebrities and dignitaries, writers and photographers from near and far.  The Park's spectacular scenery caught Hollywood's eye too.  In September 1992, the acclaimed  movie "The Last of the Mohicans," starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe, introduced people from around the word to the pristine scenic beauty.  The camera's tight focus on Inspiration Point, Groundhog Slide, Nature's Showerbath and the top of the waterfall
 

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  27 mors_crp_028 where much of the action took place, brought the viewers breathtakingly close to that special quality that first captured the Morse brothers' hearts and continues to attract visitors every year.  Other movies shot in the Park include "Firestarter" starring George C. Scott and Drew Barrymore and "A Breed Apart" starring Powers Booth and Kathleen Turner. 

In August 1994, torrential rains and flooding from Tropical Strom Beryl caused mudslides in the Park and washed out bridges and walkways at the top of the falls and along the Forest Stroll trail.  With the same spirit that rescued the Park from the ravages of Hurricane Hilda 78 years earlier, repairs were swiftly completed (though it would take two more years to complete the reinforcement of the 80-foot steel bridge along the Forest Stroll).

Two years later, Mother Nature roared out of control again with a raging flood that devastated Chimney Rock Park and Hickory Nut Gorge and closed the Park road and a main Similar to the flood in 1916, this one also washed out [art of the Park Rod and a main section of the highway.  As in the past, the silence of the Morse family was called upon, and once again the Park recovered from a natural disaster so that visitors could not continue to enjoy its natural - through fragile - beauty.

As visitation steadily rose each year, unfortunately so did congestion on the highway through Chimney Rock Village.  In 1996, the Ticket Plaza was moved one mile inside the

 

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  28 mors_crp_029 Park.  Not only did traffic flow improve, but an opportunity opened for enhanced landscaping at the entrance that would more closely match the experience awaiting visitors in the Park.  That same year, a new book echoing the Morse family's commitment to both preservation and accessibility - "The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina" - brought increased attention to the Park and its neighbors in Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge.  The Park also earned a Natural Heritage Site designation, which, as a part of the governor's "Year of the Mountains," was awarded to noteworthy sites throughout the north Carolina mountains.

In 1998, the Park continued to expand and added specialty food and a new restaurant overlooking the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Village.  While nowhere near as large as the three-story Pavilion opened in 1919, these foodservices continue the tradition of offering guests a place to restore and renew.

In 1999, the 50th Anniversary of the 26-story elevator brought together current Otis Elevator employees and retirees who had tunneled and blasted through hundreds of feet old photographs documenting their remarkable feat of engineering that turned the Morse family dream into reality.

A commitment to that dream continues today through expanded efforts to make the Park more accessible to all ages and capabilities.  In 2000, for example, the Four Seasons Trail, a .6-mile, moderate-to-strenuous trail off the Woodland Walk, opened to link

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  29 mors_crp_030 the lower portions of the Park with the network of trails on the upper reaches.  Additional plans are underway to create an even more welcoming retreat where family and friends can spend quality time together surrounding by the wonders of nature.

Change - both the wild orchestrations of Mother Nature and those carefully planned by the Morse family - will continue to reshape the Park.  What won't change is the family's time-honored tradition of protecting this great expanse of mountains and woodlands.  And a new addition to the Morse family - Tristan Nathaniel Morse, the great great grandson of Hiram Morse, born on December 7, 1996 - only strengthens the family's promise.

Although there have been, many changes over the century since Dr. Morse first glimpsed Chimney Rock, he and his brothers would feel right at home in the Park today.  They could walk on familiar trails and see well-known sights like the Devil's Head, Groundhog Slide, and Hickory Nut Falls.  For the simple truth is that Chimney Rock Park remains much as the three brothers envisioned it when they first opened the Park to visitors in 1916 - a family-owned park preserving and sharing the natural, rugged beauty of the area with visitors from all over the world.

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  30 mors_crp_031 Back cover mors_crp_031.jpg (187379 bytes)