Lake Junaluska — Celebrating 100 years

Brown shares 90 years of Lake Junaluska memories

By Sara Queen Brown | May 11, 2013

Sara Queen Brown, now 91, may well be the oldest person around who has had a life-long connection to Lake Junaluska.

She made her first trip to the lake as a 2-month old baby who was carried there in one of several Indian baskets to participate in Haywood County Days, an annual event that celebrated the seasonal opening of the Assembly. The Queen family, which lived within walking distance to the lake, had long-standing business ties to the development. A family member helped build the dam and operate the electric plant, and Brown’s father operated a milk delivery service to lake residents. The Queen children, Richard, Sam and Sara sold fruits and vegetables to the residents and took in many of the programs and activities, as well.

“I sold many a gallon of blackberries for a quarter and thought I was rich when I earned a dollar,” she recalled in her book, “Ancestors and Descendants of Sam Love Queen and Glee Clark Queen.”

“For many years, movies were shown twice a week in Stuart Auditorium,” she wrote. “The auditorium was not enclosed and had wooden benches with sawdust covering the floor.  We saw all the musicals. … It was here I learned to appreciate music other than the Grand Ole Opry, which we listened to on the radio every Saturday night.”

Brown looks back with amazement and gratefulness at the programs and activities available to her.

“I first learned about the laisse-faire doctrine and philanthropy while attending a lecture with my parents,” she wrote. For two years, my Grandmother Clark won the spelling bees held by Duke faculty in the auditorium. Spelling in syllables, she correctly spelled and pronounced every word given to her from Websters Blue Back Speller.”

On Sunday afternoons, a story hour was held at the original Ivey Playground, she recalled. Other enrichment activities included hearing the Junaluska Singers, admiring the beautiful dahlias and landscaping at the lake, and being part of the fund-raising effort to build the Bethea Welcome Center.