Wilson Creek and the ghost town of Mortimer


Still having some time off to fill, I traveled up to Wilson Creek and the ghost town of Mortimer in Caldwell County, NC. This area is quite beautiful, but quite remote. The road is not paved, and can be quite narrow at times, making passing a vehicle coming from the other direction at the wrong time a delicate ballet. The altitude is about 1500 feet, with the high mountains just off to the west. Some of the mountains I saw on the way up were capped with snow from the day before, but I didn't see any snow on the mountains surrounding Wilson Creek.

Most people I saw there were fishing, some fishing waist deep in the creek. A few bicyclists were on the road getting their exercise, making the area was mostly mine to explore. My first stop was Wilson Creek Visitor Center.



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Wilson Creek Vistor Center
The Wilson Creek Visitor Center has a nice collection of photographs and artifacts showing and telling the history of the area.

Photos and and a still

Next to the visitor center is a country store, but I didn't go in.



I noticed parking areas of varying sizes spaced out along the roadside allowing easy access to the creek. I took advantage of that to take some photos of the creek and also observe the evidence of past flooding the area is known for.


My next stop was Mortimer, NC, a ghost town. Mortimer was a thriving mill town of about 800 people until a devastating 1940 flood drove people out of the area. The Wilson Creek Visitor Center has photographs of Moritmer, including the mills shown below.

Cotton mill ruins
Mill ruins
My next stop was the Mortimer Campground, built by the CCC back in the 1930s. On the way, I noticed the ruins of a train trestle so I made an extra stop.
Ruins of railroad bridge


The campground is closed to visitors for the winter, but you can still walk through it if you choose. I was more interested in taking a photo of the white building that survived the 1940 flood.


Having taken all the photos I planned to take, it was time to turn around and head home. Heading back down the road, I noticed a monument I hadn't spotted the first time through.


I also spotted more railroad bridge ruins.

And I also had to take one more photo of Wilson Creek before the sun got too much lower in the sky.


The Wilson Creek area is quite beautiful. I look forward to coming back again someday. It's a pity it took so long (about 2hrs one way) to get there and back so I could have spent more time there.

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