Wilson Creek has a full and vibrant history. The area was once used as summer hunting grounds for the Cherokee Indians. Shortly after 1750, pioneers settled here and began logging the dense forests. Mortimer, the largest community, was the site of the Ritter Lumber Company sawmill and a small textile mill, which provided jobs for the community’s 800 residents. Substantial logging took place between Wilson and Steel Creeks, and the trees were hauled to the mill via narrow-gauge railroad.
In 1916, a fire burned from Grandfather Mountain to Wilson Creek, and was immediately followed by a flood, which destroyed the logging railroad. In 1925, a second fire swept through, this time from Upper Creek to the south. The railroad, which had been rebuilt, was lost again. When a second flood hit the area in 1940, it washed away both the sawmill and the textile mill. The foundation of the textile mill can still be seen from the road. This was all a great loss for the people of the area but a gain for Wilson Creek and the surrounding forests. Now this area is preserved and offers hiking trails and a great river for white water rafting and kayaking.
As you can see the creek widens up here and lots of kayakers are running the rapids. It is great to drive along the river from the tiny headwaters to the wide open rafting river.
We are joining with My World Tuesday, Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday this week. Please stop by our hosts.