The origin of the Fonta Flora community’s distinctive Latin-rooted name (which translates roughly as ”spring flowers” or “source of the blossoms”).
Fonta Flora, as the story goes, now resides at the bottom of Lake James. Between 1916 and 1923, the Southern Power Company, a predecessor of Duke Energy, dammed the Catawba River, Linville River, and Paddy’s Creek in Burke and McDowell counties to make a hydroelectric production facility. In the process, they created Lake James and, so it is believed, flooded the idealized community of Fonta Flora, which straddled the Linville River just south of Linville Gorge. Few people today know much about the settlement, or what was lost when Lake James was made. But stories tell of a racially integrated community with bustling farms and homesteads. (Our State Magazine)
Fonta Flora State Trail will one day link the western Piedmont, including a 27-mile loop around Lake James, with the mountains, and will be only the sixth state trail managed by the state parks system.
Catawba River History