Named for a Mountain in the Plott Balsams, Lake Junaluska is a scenic body of water created by chance.
When Methodist leaders sought to create a Chautauqua-like Assembly in the South, their vision was a tranquil lake in a mountain setting surrounded by the Assembly. The congregation would meet by the waters, healing the body and also the soul.
A location near Waynesville was initially chosen, but the impounded waters would inundate Southern Railway tracks, and the railroad said no. As founders Dr. James Atkins and Dr. George Stuart sought to appeal that decision, a local delegation suggested the mountain valley where the lake now exists as Lake Junaluska.
The Junaluska Cross rises high above the lake and has become a spiritual landmark for Haywood County and, indeed, for the entire South. The mission signified by the cross has remained a vibrant community for over 100 years.
Thomas Mabry – Honey Badger Images
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