The largest man-made body of water in North Carolina, Lake Norman was finished in 1964 as part of the Cowans Ford Dam and has provided the Piedmont Region of the state with electricity ever since. Fed by the Catawba River, Lake Norman is often called the “inland sea,” of North Carolina, the lake has an astonishing 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of over fifty miles. As a result of its large size, Lake Norman and the surrounding areas are divided into four separate districts: Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln, and Mecklenburg.
Lake Norman first began construction in 1959 and was named after the former president of Duke Power, Norman Adwater Cocke. Even in the beginning, Lake Norman was considered big news for North Carolina and many reporters flocked to the area to investigate the goings-on of the Duke Electrical Company. The heavy influx of reporters entering the area, desperate for a story, led to the creation of many legends and tales about the lake and the strange happenings that occurred there, some of the most popular being the “real life” Long Sam, “Normie,” the Lake Norman Monster, and the ghosts of Holly Bend Plantation.
Lifestyle & Area Attractions
Much of life in Lake Norman is centered around the titular lake itself. Lake Norman State Park is the hub of recreation for the area, offering a variety of activities from the over thirty miles worth of mountain-biking trail to the 125 yard beach open for swimming from April 1-October 31 each year, to boating and fishing on the dock facility for a five dollar charge.
Lake Norman is also well-known for their aerial activities, as the area is home to two airparks: the Long Island Airpark and the Lake Norman Airpark. With about fifty different airplanes owned by various residents along the West Coast of the Lake, the Airparks are also home to hot-air balloons, and each year the Carolina BalloonFest is held in Statesville, just a short nineteen minute drive from the lake.
As mentioned previously, the Lake Norman area is divided amongst four different counties with eleven different official cities making up the area. That being said, Lake Norman offers a variety of options when it comes to schooling and employment. Lake Norman is also home to Davidson College’s Lake Campus, located just seven miles away from the main campus, the lake provides students, faculty, and staff with much needed relaxation and fun, as well as being the epicenter for Greek life in the school.
Lake Norman is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, much of which was introduced to the Lake artificially as the lake itself was man-made. The lake is also host to an estimated sixty plus islands, many of which are home to camp grounds, play areas, and occasionally are even popular meeting spots for boat parades and concerts. Lake Norman is also home to many supernatural and mysterious legends, including the legend of the sunken plane which was confirmed by sonar in 2013. The legend tells of a plane that sunk into the lake in the 1970s, which was found by divers but dismissed by most as none of the planes in the airparks were reported missing. The legend of the plane and the identity of the owner and occupants remains a mystery that captivates audiences to this day.