Charlotte, NC

Lake Norman's Underwater Villages

Jerome Quentzel

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CHARLOTTE, NC – Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina and spreads across four different counties—Catawba, Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Iredell. Built in the late 1950s, Lake Norman holds an unexpected story under its vast water.

History recorded that there were two old villages under Lake Norman called Long Island Mill and Village and East Monbo Mill and Village.

Long Island Mill was found in the mid-1800s. It was a large red brick building and water-powered mill, located close to the Catawba River banks. Next to the mill was a small village for the mill employees and their families lived.

Similar to Lake Island Mill, East Monbo Mill and Village was also owned by Duke Power and operated by the Superior Yarn Mill company. It was also a water-powered mill so it was located close to the river banks. East Monbo also had a village for the 350 mill employees.

Both of these mills and old villages closed due to the formation of Lake Norman. The Superior Yarn Mill shut down Long Island Mill in October 1959 and East Monbo in January 1961. The lake then overflowed onto both sides of the river and the two villages disappeared.

Even though some houses and mill buildings were demolished and moved before the formation of Lake Norman, some structures were left behind and can be found at the bottom of the lake. The lake still had bridges, old cemeteries, schools, or churches from the two old villages under its water.

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