History

Lake View Park Neighborhood and Beaver Lake

Lake View Park neighborhood was created along with Beaver Lake by noted landscape architect and urban planner John Nolen.

Prior to 1923, Beaver Lake was known as Baird Bottom. It was a meadow where cows grazed quite uneventfully. Then on April 18, 1911, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Lincoln Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915) ceremoniously flew into town to show off his famous aerial stunts over Baird Bottom for the citizens of Asheville. This flight was one of his pioneering flights over the mountains of Western North Carolina. That day, although for a brief moment in aviation history, Baird Bottom was Asheville's first unofficial airport.

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A trolley service ran through Baird Bottom carrying vacationers back and forth between a transfer station near Grace Church on Merrimon Avenue and Weaverville. Merrimon Avenue didn't extend all the way through Weaverville, but ended near Grace Church. Ashevillians would catch the 45-minute to an hour ride from the transfer station into Weaverville where they could escape the hustle and bustle of busy Asheville.

Beaver Lake dam was constructed by the Charles E. Waddell & Company in 1923. This was the same engineering company that built the Biltmore Bridge, and also provided engineering design services to the City of Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. About the same time after Beaver Lake was completed, Dixie Highway reached Asheville, and Merrimon Avenue became a part of the famous Dixie Highway system which extended Merrimon Avenue through Weaverville. This was part of the eastern branch of Dixie Highway which connected the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.

Later on, according to local legend, Thomas Wolfe (October 3, 1900 – September 15, 1938), under the shroud of darkness, would sometimes go skinny dipping in the swimming pool near the Tea House. The Tea House is now a private residence.

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Today, Baird Bottom is a lake, and the trolley tracks, what have been left of them, are hidden under three to four feet of water. Created in 1923, historic Beaver Lake and the adjoining property are privately owned and maintained by the residents of Lake View Park. The park and lake are enjoyed by both Lake View Park residents and guests for activities such as jogging, running, walking, biking, bird watching, watching the sun set, picnicking, boating, and fishing.

John Nolen is still recognized today by landscape architects as the father of urban designing. According to a local landscape architect, Nolen collaborated with Frederick Law Olmsted (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903) in the creation of Lake View Park and Beaver Lake. This was quite likely because Nolen was a student and friend of Olmsted, and Olmsted was familiar with Asheville having designed the rounds at nearby Biltmore Estate.