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MORAVIAN FALLS   FAMILY CAMPGROUND  &  CABIN RENTALS

AREA  HISTORY
Come and Stay -  It’s Special Here!
On January 15, 1994, Ken and Anita Wike found the rare opportunity to purchase the Moravian Waterfall and surrounding tracts of land at a public auction through auctioneer Keith J. Pierce.  They have worked to make many upgrades while keeping the beauty of the natural surroundings. Wikipedia states:  Moravian Falls takes its name from a waterfall in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains, which rise just 2 to 3 miles (4.8 km) to the south of the community. Pores Knob, the highest peak in the Brushy Mountains, is located in Moravian Falls.  The area was originally settled by members of the Moravian Church in 1753, and Moravians owned the waterfall for many years.  The waterfall is named after the church. Today the waterfall is a tourist attraction owned by Ken Wike who operates a history rich family campground (Moravian Falls Family Campground). People travel from many other parts of the country to enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature. The history of Moravian Falls goes back to the Granville grants of 1752 to the Moravians.   Col. William Pitt  Waugh of Pennsylvania who had purchased a part of the Moravian grant built the first mill at the Falls in 1803.  That mill was the first bur flour mill in Wilkes County.  Waugh also built a corn mill, a linseed oil mill and a wool carding machine, carrying on these industries until his death.  After the death of Col. Waugh, Richard Hix in 1849 bought the property and continued to operate the mills, making linseed oil.  He additionally erected a sash saw mill on Cub Creek. Don R. Laws writes:  The village of Moravian Falls had its beginnings over 100 years ago.  For many years the place was know as the “Forks of the Road.”  Later it took the name “Petersburg” and about 1874 it took the name Moravian Falls. The land surrounding the falls at Moravian falls was a part of two land grants made to the Moravian Brethren who settled at Salem, North Carolina.  These grants were made in 1752 by Lord Granville, one of the eight Lords Proprietors appointed by Charles II of England.  This section was traversed by a creek named “Moravian” by the surveyors sent out by the Moravian Brethren, hence the beautiful cascade on Moravian Creek became known as Moravian Falls.  In 1874 the little village, one half mile from the Falls was officially named Moravian Falls at which time the post office was established. The territory now embraced in the Moravian Falls community was known up to the breaking out of the Civil War as the Thirteenth United States Militia District.  There were 119 men in the Thirteenth Company subject to bear arms in the year of 1790, which was during the administration of George Washington. A goodly number of those eligible for military service lived in this community and the names of several of these heads of families are familiar today.  Among the list we find Ben Hubbard, Thomas Lowe, Sam Lowe, Caleb Lowe, David Laws, William Laws, Turner Hampton, Josh Greer, Jude Greer, Alexander Gilreath, John Gilreath and William Gilreath, all familiar family names in this community today. It was said of George Washington that he was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.  And it can be truthfully said that Moravian Falls was a first in a good many things in Wilkes County. The first bur flour mill in Wilkes was built at Moravian Falls.  The first linseed oil mill, and so far as it is know, the only one that ever operated in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.  The first “chaff piler” threshing machine ran in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.  The first “separator” thresher ran in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls. The first steam engine and boiler to whistle in Wilkes was set up to drive a saw mill and planer at Moravian Falls.  The first and only iron smelter to produce iron from native ore was extablished on Moravian Creek near Moravian Falls by Sam Brown.  This forge was in operation during the administration of George Washington. The first wagon scales erected in the county was at Moravian Falls.  The first tin shop in the county was at Moravian Falls.  The first compress in Wilkes for bailing and preparing medicinal herbs and and roots for market was run at Moravian Falls. The first turbine water wheel to be run in this county was at Moravian Falls.  The first rural lighting plant to operate in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.  The first circular saw to manufacture lumber was ran at Moravian Falls.  The first bicycle to to come to Wilkes was ridden at Moravian Falls. The first typewriter known to be used in the county was at Moravian Falls in the year 1884.  The first roller mill flour machine to run in Wilkes was set up at Moravian Falls.  The first tobacco factory to manufacture plug and twist was at Moravian Falls. The first wireless telegraph station seen in Wilkes was built at Moravian Falls.  The first radio receiving set in Wilkes that would pick up distant programs was built at Moravian Falls. The first automobile purchased in the county came to Moravian Falls.  The first internal combustion engine to run in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.  The first and only Rotary Web Perfecting printing press to be in in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.  The first linotype to be run in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls.   The first book binding done in Wilkes was at Moravian Falls. The first sterotype casting and printing in the county was at Moravian Falls.  The only school ever establish in Wilkes county that attained to county-wide, state-wide and interstate reputation was Moravian Falls Academy founded at Moravian Falls in the year 1876 by Professor George Green. Perhaps no village of similar size in the whole country can lay claim to the starting of as many publications as have been brought out in Moravian Falls in the last forty-odd years. Up to the days of the Civil War and extending back to the Revolution, there was a stage coach road, leading from Wilkesboro which was known then as Mulbery Old Fields on to Morganton.  This road led by the “Brick House” in the “Forks of the Road” practically along the line where Highway 18 now runs. Another interesting feature of the early activities of the “Forks of the Road” was a race track where horsemen from the country round about brought their animals and raced for prizes.   ~ The property changed ownership many times during the following years.  In 1911, the property was sold to J.T. Humphries and Smith Coachman of Clearwater, Florida and an electric power plant was erected.  This was the first electric power plant in the county.  In addition to furnishing electric power and lights to the communities of Moravian Falls and Wilkesboro, the usual milling operations were carried on. The old three story grist mill building was washed away in the 1916 flood.  The mill was later rebuilt and operated until the late 1930’s at which time business activities at the Falls ceased.  For most of his life a man named Ralph Williams had a dream to own Moravian Falls waterfall.  His dream came true when in 1981 when a small development corporation that had been turning the woods around the Falls into a commercial park declared bankruptcy, and he stepped up and bought the Falls property of 38 acres at the bankruptcy sale.  Remarkably the land nor the community around it developed significantly in a way that changed it for the worse.  Now owned and maintained by Ken and Anita Wike, the area serves still as a serene area with a rich history and many enjoyable experiences.                                                                  ~ * ~
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