The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
In 1926, the dam that created the idyllic Lake Lure was built. An entire new road system was built to fit around the growing lake. Three bridges were constructed along U.S. Highway 64. In 1927, the roadway opened, and the rest is history. The westernmost span crossing the Rocky Broad River connected the older village of Chimney Rock with the new town of Lake Lure. For 84 years, the bridge was a gateway to the Hickory Nut Gorge. In 2011, a new modern bridge was opened just south of the old span, and for awhile, the old bridge was used as a pedestrian walkway to nowhere. The image below is from the web, so I can’t take credit for this spectacular photograph.
Soon, a group of motivated residents drew upon an idea that had been successful in similar circumstances. Create a spectacular garden of plants and flowers on the bridge that would encourage people to visit and enjoy the unique location. Built with private donations and town grants, The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge opened in 2013, and has surpassed all expectations of the volunteers who planted and maintain its wonderful gardens. Below is the view from the Lake Lure side, with Chimney Rock Mountain in the background.
The ornate entrance on the east end, below, makes the perfect place to rest and reflect.
The individual gardens along the stone walkway, below, ,include most flowering plants that have grown in this area for decades, especially native wildflowers.
The original bridge retaining walls have been preserved with their stone balustrades reminiscent of the ones found at villas along Italy’s Lake Como.
The western end of the bridge features a succulent garden, and a tropical area, with Birds of Paradise and similar plants. Chimney Rock is visible in the upper left, behind the green spears.
Looking toward the western end, the carefully tended plots fill the space once occupied by passing cars.
Back at the east entrance, below, a Laurel and Rhododendron bench faces Lake Lure and Rumbling Bald Mountain. When you visit Lake Lure, and you must, you’ll be treated to a rare collection of colorful flowers and plants, and, in the process, you’ll see a preserved historic bridge that deserved to live.