This month we have explored Park of the Month post, we will delve a little more into the history of the park and the resort area that surrounds it.
Once a rural homestead, now a bustling lakeside park
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Once upon a time, this land was a rural farming community. The lake did not exist then, but theRoanoke Rivernearby rushed down the mountain, from its headwaters high in the Blue Ridge all the way to the Albemarle Sound. The Native Americans, Virginia Siouan, named the river Roanoke, meaning "River of Death" for the treacherous floods that would come with the spring rains and snow thaw.
Later, as Europeans began to settle here, they raised tobacco and other subsistence crops in this hilly terrain where Virginia's Piedmont meets the Blue Ridge Mountains. Vestiges of times gone by may be seen in the park today. Notable historic structures here include a tobacco barn near the Discovery Center and a stone fence visible along the roadway and near the picnic area, as well as the cabin pictured above.
This barn was used for firing flue-cured tobacco, the main money crop for this region through the mid-twentieth century
A stone fence stands as a reminder of the farm that was here before the park
THE LAKE, THE PARK, AND THE COMMUNITY THAT SURROUNDS IT
The story of Smith Mountain Lake will celebrate its 50th anniversary with special events throughout the year.
After the lake was formed, the surrounding area maintained its rural character for a while. As more and more visitors came to enjoy the lake, many decided to stay, or to return year after year for vacation. As word spread of the beauty, the bountiful fishing opportunities and the superb water recreation afforded by the lake, development increased.
Today, the area around Smith Mountain Lake has become populated with many permanent residents, along with visitors who come every year to enjoy the lake and the surrounding attractions. No longer a backwater, Smith Mountain Lake has become a full-fledged resort with restaurants, shopping centers, wineries, and fun attractions for all ages. Residents and visitors alike see Smith Mountain Lake State Park as an oasis of calm where wildlife thrives, and where they can relax and thrive as well.
Smith Mountain Lake was formed beginning in 1963
The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park raised funds for a new tour boat for the park
One of the most special aspects of this park is that is the community that surrounds it, and is part of it. The active tour boat.
For information about all the programs and events taking place throughout the year you can find event listings click here or call the Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK (7275).
We hope you will plan a visit to Smith Mountain Lake State Park soon, and listen to what these hills have to say to you.