Historic lake crossing re-enacted
When visitors arrived at Lake Junaluska 100 years ago for the first conference held at the Methodist Episcopal Church South’s new Southern Assembly, accommodations were several miles away, roads were sparse, and the auditorium was spacious but scantily furnished with a platform, pulpit and a sawdust-covered dirt floor where wooden pews had been placed.
To reach Stuart Auditorium, conference attendees had to take shuttle trains offered by the Southern Railway from Waynesville to the Tuscola Station located on Old Clyde Road across from the current location of Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church.
According to “The Antechamber of Heaven: A History of Lake Junaluska Assembly” written by lake resident Bill Lowry, visitors paid 10 cents for a round-trip ticket for the 3-mile trip between Waynesville and the Tuscola flag stop.
The first year, visitors walked to the newly built auditorium across a dry lake bed, but in later years, visitors walked from the train station built at the lake to a boat dock where they traveled the rest of their journey by boat.
That journey was re-enacted Monday and included descendants of those who made the same journey a century ago.
James Rose was following the footsteps of his grandfather, James Douglas Lewis Rose, and Ashley Calhoun was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who attended the 1914 conference.
The afternoon began at the home of Dr. Don and Charlotte Mosely, who live in Lousiville, Kentucky and have a vacation home in the original railroad depot on the property. Family members dressed in period clothing and provided tours and gave a brief history the station.
"People shared historical tidbits with me," said Mark Cooksey, who is the Mosley's son-in-law and was dressed as a train conductor for the event. "I learned a lot."
The family's participation in the event was orchestrated by Charlotte, who is a history buff, he said. The tour attracted about 200 people throughout the afternoon, a greater number than was anticipated, he added.