Have You Visited “Lost Cove”?
Lost Cove, located along the Nolichucky River in Western North Carolina, took its name from its position near the Tennessee and North Carolina border when surveyors were not sure to which state the community belonged. Lost Cove was reportedly settled shortly before the War Between the States by Morgan Bailey. Lost Cove was a thriving Appalachian logging and farming community for about 100 years.
The railroad (known then as the Clinchfield Railroad but now as the CSX – Chessie, Seaboard Xpress – the C does not represent the Clinchfield!) meandered along the river as the gorge through the mountain is very steep and rugged. However, in the early days the train stopped at a point through the gorge and picked up or dropped off passengers going up to Lost Cove. This writer was told by the late Unicoi County, TN, Historian, Pat Alderman, that a crane or winch was installed on the mountain above the unloading stop to lift groceries and heavy commodities, including trucks and cars!
The location and terrain of Lost Cove is difficult to navigate and when the railroad stopped making regular stops in the community, residents eventually had to leave. There is a trail of sorts that you can get to Lost Cove but it is composed mainly of animal paths and would take most of a day to walk in or out. The last residents left the community in 1957 deserting all their heavy belongings.
The abandoned Lost Cove, NC is located in the Poplar Gorge. Only a couple of intact houses remain now because several have been burned in the last few years. Discourteous vandals have decimated this truly “lost” historical site!
(Some pictures courtesy: the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Cabin: Brenda J. Wiley, Train: William Kuba photo, Maplandia)