Friday, December 9, 2011

THE MYSTERY BUILDING ON THE MOUNTAIN ABOVE SCONA LODGE FOUND

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
A couple weeks ago on a visit to the Scona Lodge site I saw a strange building high up the side of a mountain above and to the left of where Scona Lodge was located.  I have been going down to that lodge site for over three years and never saw this thing.  Today we, Falcor and I, would boat across the lake and hike up the mountain to investigate this sinister looking place.
As usual;  we got to the lake late and the sun was getting high in the sky.  The scenery was fantastic on the lake and the boat ride to Scona was great fun.
We eventually came up on the ferry landing on the opposite side of the lake from the Scona Lodge site.  The ferry landing is still there with a chain across the entrance to it.  It's on a pretty little peninsula and kept well manicured by the Alcoa people.  The town of Calderwood used to sit at the back side of that peninsula.  Calderwood was created to house the people who built Calderwood Dam.  It thrived even after the dam was completed but soon suffered economical hardships and the inhabitants left.  The town was moved to a new location, or I should say, started again at a new location and still thrives today.  About all that's left of the original Calderwood is the remnants of an old Baptist Church.

The old ferry landing on the highway side of the lake

The ferry landing as seen from Scona Lodge
I have photos of the Baptist Church in my files but can't put my fingers on them at this time.
We drove up the coast where Scona Lodge would have been had it not been destroyed.  The ferry landing on the lodge side of the lake was surrounded in kudzu, that dreaded plant that suffocates everything that it covers.
The ferry landing is there on the left side of the above photo.  Below is a closeup shot of the landing.
It would be useless to put a boat on that landing.  An attempt to walk in land would be futile.  Below is one more picture of the landing.
The following pictures are of the shoreline where the Scona Lodge property boasted a number of beautiful cabins/homes, the fantastic, extravagant lodge itself, a building named the Cherokee Room that contained thousands of Cherokee Indian artifacts and a gorgeous golf course that ended at the water's edge.  It was all destroyed.  That story will be told at a later time.
All that I have described above was located on this shoreline.  It was a place that belonged in a fairy tale.
It's hard to believe that a gorgeous golf course came down to the water where you see the mess in the above picture.  The lodge and associated buildings, Cherokee Room and the golf course all would be able to be seen along the above shoreline.  All that plus a fantastic array of roses in a rose garden second to none anywhere.  Up the shoreline from the above photo was located a trap and skeet range.  Across a narrow lane from those ranges were elaborate cabins, really houses, made of the finest wood.  Between the skeet and trap ranges and the lodge was a specially built trout pond for the guests.  All that is left of the pond is a heavily silted depression containing shallow water.

The overflow for the trout pond
 A wooden foot bridge spanned the opening of the overflow, long since destroyed.  The sinister looking building sits atop the mountain side to the left of the trout pond.  It is that which we are here to find.  We went upstream of the trout pond and put the boat ashore on a sandy piece of lakeside bank.
It was all uphill from here.  And, I do mean uphill!  It seems that uphill is the only kind of hiking I do anymore.

If the kudzu weren't covering the bottom of the mountain at Scona, I could simply walk to the trout pond and go straight up to the building in question.  But, it's impossible to walk through this stuff.  So, up, up, up we go.
This mountain side is really steep!  Gotta keep going.

"Hold yer pelt on fir face;  I'm comin."

"Look;  you got four good legs.  I only got two.  Gimme a break!"

The top, at last!
 Of course you know who's already up here waiting for me.  Reminds me of another friend I once knew.
The building or whatever it is should be just over the top and down off this flat a little way.
It came into view just ahead.  It was a big, old water tank alright.
Part of the water piping is still in place and runs out toward a trace that leads down the side of the mountain parallel to the creek that flows past the Gibson's houses.  It does not run toward Scona Lodge.  I don't believe this tank served any purpose for Scona.  It probably fed the houses that were located far back in the hollows of these mountains.  It was high enough that gravity would have handled the job of water distribution.  The Gibson's probably benefited from this tank.
The water pipe leads off down the trace below.  The pipe has been unbolted and removed from the point above in the picture, and beyond.
Note the date scratched into the water tank below.  That date coinsides with the dates I have when Scona Lodge was killed.  Note how the word destroyed is spelled.
For what it's worth; it looks like the water tank was made in 1952.  I guess one could call it a relic.
That's about all there is to see up here.  It's time for the climb, or fall, down off this mountain.  I'm getting too old for this stuff I think.
The views are spectacular from up here.  I think the air is thin at this altitude.  I'm breathing hard.  Actually, the views are "breath taking."
I'm thankful I'm in good health and able to climb these mountains to enjoy the privilege of viewing our beautiful wild places from these high vantage points.

View of the ferry landing on the highway side of the lake from on high.
Wow;  this is a steep mountain!

Now, where is he?

What's this?  He's at the boat already!  How'd he do that?

"Fir face; you're a piece of work."
I was sure glad to see that boat.  It meant this hill climbing was over with.
"Falcor;  where are you."
"Come on Falcor.  We have to go.  Are you hiding from me?  Come--Now, I said!"
"You don't want me coming to find you.  It won't be pretty when I find you."
I finally gathered up man friend and we were off down the lake.  We cruised past the shoreline of Scona Lodge one more time.  I feel like I've actually seen Scona Lodge when I view all the information I've collected in my mind.  It's like leaving an old, old friend and going away never to come back.
Rest in peace----old one...