46_IMG_0006 46_IMG_0007 46_Lake Lure Train in 1960s - Dr. Burch 46_IMG_0005

Wow!  It was bright red, green and black and had a big smokestack.  The Western North Carolina Scenic Railroad Company was formed and tracks laid around the area that is now Morse Park.  A building, now the Welcome Center, was built as a train station and flags flew to welcome folks.  There were ideas floated to expand the attraction to include a paddle-wheeler on the lake and various amusement rides.

The company operated about two years with its headquarters in the Arcade Building before going bankrupt in 1968.  The small locomotive #48 that pulled the passenger cars was built in 1922 by ALCO-Cooke Works in Patterson, NJ and it is now exhibited at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, FL with its original black paint.

We are told the locals objected to the loud whistle, which may have had something to do with the company’s failure. Also Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock objected to its name Tootsie Railroad and may have had a legal challenge.

Dr. Burch took all the wonderful photos and we understand his wife, Katie Burch, performed as Annie Oakley at the attraction.  Steve Gale also provided helpful information for this article.

So we remember another brief period in the history of Lake Lure.