From the opening of Chimney Rock Park by Jerome Freeman in 1890 to Dr. Lucius Morse's dreams for Lake Lure in the 1920s, the development of tourism in the Hickory Nut Gorge area is one of the untold stories of the region's history. For much of the 19th century, the area was remote and known to few; Freeman was perhaps the first to truly appreciate Chimney Rock's potential, but it took the invention of the automobile and the completion of the Charlotte to Asheville Highway in 1915 for that potential to be fully realized. By the 1920s, Chimney Rock Park and the gorge's hotels and summer camps were known to thousands. In 2007, the State of North Carolina purchased Chimney Rock Park from the Morse family, and a new chapter began.
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