In part one, I showed you a not so impressive shot of the falls when the river is low. This shot depicts what it looks like when it’s running at full capacity – quite a contrast. It’s pretty amazing to stand there and feel the power of the water. Many of these old stone dams like this have long since succumbed to the force of nature. It’s amazing that this one has held up as long as it has.
RiverPark at Coolemee
Dedicated 10 years ago in September of 2002, RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls is located on the Rowan/Davie County line. Photos from as far back as the early 1900’s show it was a popular spot for swimming and picnics. As you drive into the parking lot, a little side road takes you to a canoe ramp to put in below the falls. There is also a beautiful rolling meadow just below the picnic shelter next to the parking area.
The legend behind the name is that a bull ox hauling a load of supplies lost its footing while trying to cross the river and drowned in a whirlpool. Speaking of history, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Daniel Boone traversed this spot too, as Boone’s Cave State Park is only a few miles southeast from here as the crow flies.
Local Media Coverage
The dam once powered the Coolemee Mill, which was the heart and soul of this community. I’m not sure where things are presently, but plans were in the works to fully restore the old mill. I found a nice article in Our State Magazine, and also a segment on Fox 8 news that talks more about it. ~MB
A Day Trip to Cooleemee
Nikon D200 with 18-200 mm VR 3.5-5.6 lens. All images © Matt Bennett Photography.