About Land Harbor - Beginnings

In the late 1920s, Howard Marmon, founder of the Marmon Motor Company and maker of the ill-fated Marmon automobile, came to Avery County and purchased land in the Pineola area. He built a manor house complete with servants’ quarters where the coppice of woods now stands south of Huskins Motor Court.

Included in the lands purchased were the 243 acres east of US 221 and a portion of the area west of US 221 that now comprises Land Harbor. Mr. Marmon built the fish hatcheries that were abandoned by Land Harbor due to water problems and were later destroyed to make the RV storage area. The land west of US 221 was developed into a nursery that he named Anthony Lake Nursery because the stream that flowed into it was Anthony Creek. He built the dam, which formed the lake.

A major flood in 1940 destroyed the dam, and in 1943, Mr. Marmon sold all of his property, except the homestead, which was used as the Moose Lodge in years past and still stands today. The 243 acres east of US 221 was sold to the State of North Carolina for the sum of $13,000. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission continued to operate the fishery until 1965 when it was merged with a similar facility near Marion. Bill Wakefield (B-135) lived in the house near the RV storage area and ran the fisheries from 1953 until 1965.

In 1969, the Carolina Caribbean Corporation (henceforth referred to as CCC) bought the State of North Carolina property, the Anthony Lake Nursery, and other properties, which now make up Land Harbor.

The Carolina Caribbean Corporation planned to develop two resort areas primarily for RV owners. One was to be at Little River, South Carolina, and the other at Linville, North Carolina. They were to be under the title of “Land Harbors of America.” Thus, this development was designated “Linville Land Harbors.” CCC was also developing Beech Mountain and had plans to develop an island in the Caribbean. Lot owners could rent out their lots if they chose to do so. The rates in 1973 were: $6.00 per night, Sunday
through Thursday; $7.00 per night, Friday and Saturday; $36.00 per week; $32.50 per week on a monthly basis at Linville; and $7.00 per night, Sunday through Thursday; $8.00 per night, Friday and Saturday; $42.00 per week; $36.00 per week on a monthly basis at Little River.

Dick DeBell, Sales Representative for CCC, owned an Airstream “Land Yacht.” It is believed that he named the organization “Land Harbors of America” because it would be a mooring place for “Land Yachts.” On May 2, 1969, Ernie Hayes (M-65) and Douglas Miller met with Ken Winebarger, CCC Engineer in charge of construction, and Harold Burkett from the engineering firm in charge of surveying property lines, lot surveys, road, water and sewer lines at the point where the entrance from US 221 is now, and planned the
entrance. It was necessary to come into the property from Goose Hollow Road, there being no entrance from US 221.

At that time the old lake bed abutted US 221 on the west side. What is now the main entrance to Land Harbor and the Parkway up to the bridge across the Linville River was filled in using soil from the two clay pits north and south of the entrance. The north clay pit was sold to Burton Construction Company; later the property was owned by John Basler and used as a show place for his exotic cars. This property was acquired by the Linville-Central Rescue Squad and the facility moved from its location on SR 105 to this site in 2002. The clay pit to the south is no longer a part of Land Harbor.

An imposing entrance from US 221 was developed. It consisted of a guardhouse and a large sign with “Linville Land Harbor” on it. By 1998, the sign and guardhouse had so deteriorated that they were both safety hazards. These were torn down and the present entrance developed. Many consider our entrance the most beautiful in the area.

When work began on rebuilding the dam, it was widened, two additional flood control gates were installed, and a 100-foot emergency spillway was constructed. Simultaneously, construction was under way on the main office building, the recreation building and swimming pool; roads were being laid out and constructed; power and water lines laid; wells drilled, and the water storage tank and the sewage treatment plant installed. These were busy times.

The original layout plans for Land Harbor showed 18 sections. Seven sections, designated RV sections, were:
Section A (Spruce Hollow), Section B (Mountain View), Section D (Oak Hills); Key Ridge, Highland Hills, Linville Meadows, and Laurel Hills.

Two sections were designated Port-A-Homes where one could have both a house and an RV. These were Pine Ridge and Golf Ridge.

Nine sections, for homes only, were: Ridgeview, Laurel Brook, River Knoll, Grandview, Harbor Heights, High Crest, Lakeview Hills (Section M), Harbor Lake Hills (Section C), and Lakeview. Two more housing sections, River Bend and the Town Houses, were added later. This made a total of 20 sections. The original plats showed 1933 lots. Of this total, 1510 were for RVs, 372 for houses and 51 for Port-AHomes. By May 1, 1993, that number was reduced to 1641 of which 1401 were developed lots. Of this number, 871 were houses.

A Land Harbor acreage chart prepared in June 1973 by Lee Davis shows 980.01 acres in Land Harbor, less the Ledford property and cemetery. It is interesting to note that the list of homes-only sections does not include seven sections - Golf Ridge, Grandview, Harbor Heights, Laurel Brook, River Bend, River Knoll, and the Town Houses. There is disagreement as to the total acreage, but the chart does give some idea of the size of the development.

In order to reach lots sold at that time, one entered Land Harbor from Goose Hollow Road at a point near the Tate Cemetery and followed trails through the nursery to the Tweetsie Railroad loading docks, used primarily to load live shrubbery for shipment. The loading docks and storage sheds were near where Bill and Millie Webb (PR-12) lived in Pine Ridge.
In 1994, under a court order the POA Board honored an old CCC promise to a group of land owners to incorporate 5+ acres of land adjoining the Highland Hills Section into Land Harbor. Residents in this area pay a $100 per lot access fee and have the option of becoming full-fledged POA Members. This area was named Linville Acres.
In 1999, honoring another promise made by CCC, eight lots with a total of 44+ acres west of Harbor Heights was added to Land Harbor. This area was named Linville Estates. Residents in this area must become POA Members and pay membership fees.

The Tweetsie line came to Pineola (formerly Saginaw) from Montezuma (formerly Aaron) along what is now Goose Hollow Road and through the Anthony Lake Nursery. The tracks ran through what is now the frontnine holes of the golf course. A number of trestles and cuts were necessary for the line to reach the turntable near where the Pineola Inn is today. There the engine was turned around and made ready for the return trip to Montezuma where it joined the main line of the railroad which ran from Boone to Johnson City, Tennessee. The shrubbery loaded at the nursery loading docks had to be transferred from the narrow gauge cars to the wider gauge cars at Johnson City. The crew that loaded shrubbery in Pineola had to go to.

Johnson City to reload the shrubbery onto the wide gauge cars of the main line. The 1940 flood washed out many of the trestles, and the railroad was abandoned. Callaway Inn and Pineola Inn were famous resort spots in those days. One may still see the foundation of Callaway Inn on the left of Goose Hollow Road, about 200 yards before Loven Lumber Company. From the Laurel Country Store at the junction of US 221 and SR 181, looking north one may see a derelict windmill which supplied water for the Pineola Inn. It is interesting to note that the tallest peak on Grandfather Mountain is Calloway Peak; but, that is a different story.

The Sales Office opened on July 3, 1969, in the west building in what is now the RV storage area east of US 221. The first lot was sold to Stacey Rowell, Vice President of Beech Mountain Development, which was also a CCC development. Many of the lots sold at that time were selected by drawing numbers from a hat. The first available lots were in Sections A, B, and M.

In August 1969, an Airstream Rally was held at the Foscoe RV Campground. Land Harbor presented information to the group and some 12 lots were sold as a result of this meeting. After the Rally Area in Land Harbor was opened, numerous RV rallies were held and many lots were sold. Some sections were inaccessible. Lots in those sections were selected by drawing numbers from a hat.

What is now Overlook Park was developed as an RV park complete with full hookups. Ultimately there were 104 full-service spaces, in what came to be called the “Rally Area.” In addition, there were two dump stations--one near the entrance of the Rally Area and one on the Parkway almost across the road from the entrance to Section M. RV rallies were held as inducements to RV owners to buy lots.

By October 1972, the development was well under way. The office building, recreation building, utilities, and roads were either completed or were nearing completion.

Ernie Hayes, with the help of Harold Burkett (engineer for CCC) and Tom Jackson (golf course architect), laid out and developed the first nine holes of the golf course. Work on the front-nine holes of the golf course was begun in 1971 and the course was ready for play in 1972. Ernie Hayes, Odell Matthews, Jim Parnell and Dwight Crater, President of CCC, made up the first group to tee off.

Work on the second (back) nine holes, which was designed and developed by Ernie Hayes, began in 1979 and opened for play on June 12, 1982, ten years after the front-nine opened. Ernie Hayes and Odell Matthews along with Banks Finger, President of LHDA, and Jim Thompson, President of POA, were in the first group to tee off. They were followed by Boyd Coffey, Vice President-Utilities; Dick Bailey, Men’s Champ; Betty Nord (GVT-1), Women’s Champ; and Ted Wall, Golf Professional. The first foursome to play the full 18
holes was Joe and Lynette Green (GV-33) and Will and Aileen Saunders (B-68).

In August 2002, Ernie Hayes was notified by the President of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association that “it is my pleasure to inform you that the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association has chosen to recognize your immense contribution to the game and our profession with the 2002 Carolinas GCSA Distinguished Service Award... this is the highest honor the GCSA can bestow.”

The rest rooms and shelter on the front nine were paid for by contributions from members and were opened with a ceremony in 1978. Darb Drewyer (B-100) was Master of Ceremonies. A minister from Resort Area Ministries gave the dedicatory prayer and Charles Talton, a major contributor, gave the dedicatory address. Golfers attended in their golf carts. Refreshments were served and a good time was had by all.

On October 9, 1972, Articles of Incorporation were issued creating the Linville Land Harbor Property Owners Association (POA). All of the members of the Board of Directors were associated with CCC. Article V, Voting Rights, stated: “Voting rights are granted only to Developer and Individual Lot Owners as follows: “Developer - Developer shall have ten (10) votes for each lot it owns in the subdivision. For areas that have not been platted of record as of any record date for determining votes, Developer will be entitled to treat each
full acre as the equivalent of eight (8) lots, entitling Developer to eighty (80) votes per acre in addition to the ten (10) votes per lot for platted lots.

“Individual Lot Owners - Individual lot owners shall be entitled to one vote for each camp site lot or each cottage site lot and to that number of votes for each commercial site lot as equals the total consideration paid to Carolina Caribbean Corporation on the initial purchase of such lot for commercial site lot divided by Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) to wit: a commercial lot originally purchased from Carolina Caribbean Corporation for $50,000 carries with it the right of the owners thereof to have 10 votes in this corporation,
while individual camp site or cottage site owners have only one vote per lot regardless of cost.” At a meeting held in 1974, of the 33,204 eligible votes, CCC had 32,124 votes. There is no evidence that CCC ever used these votes to thwart the desires of the membership.

The October 9, 1972, Articles of Incorporation named Keith A. Weber the registered agent of the Corporation. Article of Amendment to the Charter dated March 10, 1975, changed the registered agent of the Corporation to Herbert M. Isaac. The Articles of Incorporation were further amended on November 13, 1975, naming Ernest Hayes as registered agent of the Corporation. This amendment also changed the voting rights.
Whereas there were four categories of voters, this amendment reduced that to only one. Prior to this amendment, membership in the Property Owners Association (herinafter referred to as POA) was optional. This amendment made membership mandatory. Fees were set as follows: Membership - $55 plus $70 for maintenance and $15 for twice weekly garbage pickup. In 1974, 886 property owners paid assessments of some sort.

On April 23, 1976, Articles of Incorporation were issued establishing POA as it exists today. CCC was no longer involved in Land Harbor. Named as formers of the Association were C. Banks Finger, Alfred J. DeBell, Robert Arnold, Charles Wilson (M-66) and A. Merrill Wiles. Banks Finger was made registered agent of the Corporation.