Lake Norman Facts
Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in NC with 520 miles of shoreline.
Built by Duke Power Company in 1964 for power production.
Named after Norman Cocke, a retired president of Duke Power.
Lake Normans deepest point is 100 feet and the average depth is 25 feet.
Lake Norman holds approximately 3,200,000,000 gallons.
32,400 acres of land
Lake Norman is bordered by four counties, Mecklenburg, Catawba, Lincoln, and Iredell.
There are three generating plants on Lake Norman: Cowans Ford Dam,
Marshall Steam Station & McGuire Nuclear Station.
10 Public Access Areas
Avg Annual Temperature: 60 degrees
Avg. January Temp: 39 degrees
Avg. July Temp: 79 degrees.
Call (800) 829-LAKE for daily lake level
Lake Norman History
Lake Norman in North Carolina is the largest man-made lake in NC, and is located in the northern part of Mecklenburg County, just 18 miles northwest of Charlotte. It is sometimes called an “Inland Sea,” with over 520 miles of beautiful shoreline.
The Lake Norman area actually consists of several small towns and communities surrounding the lake and Lake Norman State Park. It is now one of the most rapidly growing and popular areas in North Carolina.
The Great River was named after the people who lived by it, the Catawba Indians, known in their own language as the Kawahcatawbas, “the people of the river.” As the settlers began moving into the fertile lands along the Catawba, they brought with them diseases from Europe that the Catawbas had no resistance to, and in less than 175 years, their population dwindled from over 5,000 to less than 400.
These settlers built their cabins and farmed the land beside the Catawba River, but before long they were drawn into battle against the British Crown. In 1781, General Cornwallis proclaimed Charlotte to be “a damned hornet’s nest of rebellion.” At the battle site at Cowan’s Ford, General William Lee Davidson, along with a band of Catawba Valley farmers were able to slow the advance of General Cornwallis. Early in the battle, General Davidson was shot and killed at the river bank. A monument honoring Davidson is located near the present site of Cowan’s Ford Dam, but the exact location of his demise is under the waters of Lake Norman.
After the United States became an independent nation and the Civil War left the people demoralized in spirit, the people along the Catawba were simply existing. Ambitious James B. “Buck” Duke, president of the American Tobacco Company,
saw a future in the textile industry in the Carolinas, using the waters of the Catawba
to generate power needed to provide clothing for a growing nation. Buck and his brother, Ben, set out to learn everything they could about hydroelectric power.
Dr. W. Gill Wylie, who had already experimented with hydroelectric
power in South Carolina with his Catawba Power Company, soon
began discussions with the Duke Brothers while tending to their illnesses. Wylie introduced the Dukes to William S. Lee, a brilliant
young engineer who was designing the Catawba Power Company’s
dams and power plants. Wylie needed funding, and Duke needed
power. Duke, Lee and Wylie were looking at the larger picture ?
Electricity would attract business and industry to the region.
The Southern Power Company was formed and William S. Lee’s dream
of transforming an entire river valley into a hydroelectric system was coming true. In 1927, the Southern Power Company became the Duke Power Company, and by 1928, ten dams were completed with a dozen powerhouses, making the Catawba “the world’s most electrified river.” William Lee’s grandson, Bill Lee III, had the honor of designing and completing the one final dam which would be the largest undertaking
of all, creating not only the largest lake in the Duke Power system,
but the largest lake in the Carolinas.
Homes, family farms, and entire towns would end up under water.
The village of Long Island, once a bustling river town with three textile mills, would be completely submerged. Some land owners refused to
sell their land, but traded it for land along the future lake. Those who
kept it long enough did very well indeed.
Lake Norman Public Lake Access
Lake Norman State Park Iredell County – 159 Inland Sea Lane, Troutman, NC 28166, (704) 528-6350
Offers the only Swimming Area
Hager Creek Access Area I-77 North to Exit 33, then Left on Williamson Rd, Left on Brawley School Rd and Right on Mckendree Rd
McCrary Creek Access Area On I-77 take exit 36 onto NC 150 west for 3.9 miles. Before crossing Lake Norman, the access area entrance is on the left.
Pinnacle Access Area From I-77 take exit 36 onto NC 150 west for 4.4 miles. Before crossing Lake Norman the access area entrance is on the right
Stumpy Creek Access Area
I-77 exit 36, travel west 2 miles, turn right on Perth Road, watch for sign on left.
Beatties Ford Access Area On I-77 take exit 25 onto N.C. 73 west and follow to N.C. 16. Turn right onto N.C. 16 north and continue for 2.3 miles to Unity Church Road and turn right. Follow for 2.4 miles and turn right onto S.R. 1438. The access area is at the end of the road.
Little Creek Access Area On I-77 take exit 36 onto NC 150 west and cross Lake Norman 3 times before turning left onto NC 16 south. Follow NC 16 south for 4.5 miles to Webb Road. Turn left onto Webb Road and follow for 1.7 miles. Then turn left onto SR 1376 (Burtan Lane). Follow SR 1376 for 1.0 mile to the access area on the right.
Long Island Access Area On I-77 take exit 36 onto NC 150 west across Lake Norman. Turn right onto Sherrills Ford Road and follow for 10.0 miles. Then right onto SR 1833 (Long Island Road) and continue for 4.1 miles. The access area is on the left.
Ramsey Creek Park 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius, NC 28078, Ph:704-336-8869