Chimney Rock State Park, founded in 2006, is a relatively new state park. But surely such a gorgeous parcel of land would have been seen for its value early on? It was, it was just not owned by the state. A family known as the Morses saw its value since the early 20th century and have been its owners and guardians for over a century. You will find a digital timeline of notable events and developments that occurred throughout the park’s timeline with rough dates and summaries of said events/developments. This is a timeline of the Morse’s influence on the park. If you want to read more just click the red button next to each event to expand the reading page.
Chimney Rock’s Beginning
December 12, 1902
Lucius B. Morse purchases sixty four acres of Chimney Rock. Over time small purchases would extend the area owned to nearly one thousand acres. This area would be a tourist attraction owned by Lucius Morse and his brothers for the next few decades with small improvements being added. Dr. Morse…Read more
Chimney Rock’s Elevator
January 1, 1949
An elevator shaft was added due to tourists disliking walking up the many sets of stairs. The shaft took about eighteen months to complete and had a grand opening that included opening of parking, a new trail, and a Sky Lounge. The elevator was one of a series of developments…Read more
Chimney Rock Jeep Trail
January 1, 1960
A Jeep Trail was added so that visitors could drive in comfort around the base of the mountain. This trail was used until the 1970’s when it was discontinued due to the energy crisis.Read more
Chimney Rock Forest Stroll
January 1, 1977
The former Jeep Trail became known as the Forest Stroll walking trail. This was done due to the energy crisis at the time and a desire for a trail that allowed for lower impact eco-tourism. The trail was also adopted as more people wanted a trail to hike along with…Read more
Chimney Rock New Management
January 1, 1979
The Morses at the time, Todd and Lucius III, became directors of the park and took a more active role in running the park. This led to a large number of improvements in the park as they began directly overseeing improvement, maintenance, and expansion of trails, parking lots, building, and…Read more
Chimney Rock Sky Lounge Fire
April 3, 1981
The Sky Lounge burned down during Labor Day Weekend. Despite the loss of it, this was used as an opportunity to improve the park. The park began construction of a new and improved Sky Lounge. Construction of the Sky Lounge began immediately and the construction was finished by June of…Read more
Chimney Rock Nature Center
January 1, 1987
A Nature Center is added to the park due to the unique flora and fauna in the area and conservation efforts in the park. The Nature Center was part of the continued interest of the park in studying and maintaining the flora and fauna of the park. It also served…Read more
Chimney Rock/Hickory Nut Gorge
January 1, 2005
An organization known as the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation worked with the North Carolina Legislature to secure status as a state park for Hickory Nut Gorge. Hickory Nut Gorge was a small park that was very close to Chimney Rock. Though Hickory Nut Gorge was a park all on its…Read more
Chimney Rock State Park
April 16, 2006
After continuing expansion of its acreage Hickory Nut Gorge State Park was able to negotiate a sale with the Morse family, who were interested in conserving their park, to add Chimney Rock and all of its acres to the state park. The state park’s name was changed to Chimney Rock…Read more
Dr. L. B. Morse, Biography, year unknown, Box 2, Folder 7, Dr. Morse Biography, University of North Carolina Asheville Archives and Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville Library.
Chimney Rock History, Biography, year unknown, Box 1, Folders 1 through 7, Receipts, Newsclippings, Reports, Legal Briefs, Historical Documents, University of North Carolina Asheville Archives and Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville Library.
“History.” Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.chimneyrockpark.com/about-us/history/.
“Hickory Nut Gorge.” Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.chimneyrockpark.com/attraction/hickory-nut-gorge/.
Trails in the Chimney Rock State Park Trailhead Area. Accessed April 17, 2019. https://www.hikewnc.info/trails/chimney-rock-state-park/.
Miscellaneous Images, 1900s-2000s, Box 2, Folder 1-15, Images, University of North Carolina Asheville Archives and Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville Library.