North Carolina is incredibly rich with history. But sometimes that history is all but intact, sometimes it’s left in ruins, sometimes it’s an example of whole towns submerged beneath water during a flood. Between ghost towns, forts, mill towns, and even a bridge…these amazing ruins will let you experience history firsthand.
1. Brunswick Town
In its heyday, Brunswick Town was a thriving port city and seat of political rulings for southeastern North Carolina. This Colonial ghost town was once inhabited by the first royal governor, George Burrington. The British Invasion caused many residents to flee and what was left is what you see today. The ruins have been used on the show Sleepy Hollow and also as a uniquely beautiful wedding venue.
2. Henry River Mill Village
Henry River Mill Village made its claim to fame as District 12 in the Hunger Games movies. Yet these eerie ruins are a reminder of an industrial past. The textile village had its own mill, dam, water source, and even began to get walkways and a company store. The mill shutdown in the 1960s and caught fire in 1977. Today, former mill houses remain and the town is on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. Lost Cove
You'll find Lost Cove in Yancey County on the TN-NC border. Like most small, western towns, moonshining dominated the income. Due to boundary disputes and isolation...many residents chose to leave and move on to bigger and better. Lost Cove was inhabited by the last remaining residents until 1958. Today, many cabins, buildings, and even a car sit forgotten along the quiet mountainside.
Located in Caldwell County, Mortimer was once a thriving mill town. After an epic flood, the 800 surviving residents were forced to relocate and start their lives anew. Today, you'll see several remains that still speak eerie echoes of life. There's former machinery from the mills and the foundation of buildings both residential and commercial.
Proctor nearly vanished after the creation of Fontana Lake. The mill town was flooded and almost completely submerged in water. Today, you can find reminders of Proctor's past...ruins, houses, even a gravesite. Proctor got its notoriety from a (probably fake) picture of a 700-lb. snake pulled from the Lake Proctor.
6. Yancey County Swinging Bridges
Today, you can experience history and walk across the amazing bridges. They were built over rivers so neighbors could visit each other.
7. Endor Iron Furnace, Cumnock
Originally built in 1861, the furnace was in operation until 1864 due to large iron deposits on the Deep River. It was also used by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Today, you can walk down to the furnace and experience the history for yourself.
Portsmouth Island was once a fishing and shipping village. The island lies west of the Northern Outer Banks. Today, a few buildings stand showcasing the history of this coastal town.
9. Operation Bumble Bee, Topsail Island
Operation Bumble Bee started as a top-secret U.S Navy project. It involved the testing of rocket launching into the ocean. During this time, the island was largely uninhabited. Today, you can see the original towers.
10. Fort Macon
Fort Macon was built in the 1800's to protect Beaufort from potential British attacks. It was used off and on during the Spanish American War, the Civil War, and WWII. Today, it is a State Park with a beautifully rich history.