Built in 1879 as a tourism attraction, Andrews Geyser was an eye-catching site for visitors reaching Old Fort by train during the late 19th century. The geyser was part of the property surrounding the Round Knob Hotel. During those days, visitors traveled from the eastern part of North Carolina and from the lowlands of South Carolina to enjoy the cooler summer months in the mountains at the hotel. In 1903, the hotel burned and the owners decided not to rebuild. The geyser was such a popular attractions, one of its admirers paid to have it moved to the opposite side of the creek and today it's part of a public park owned by the Town of Old Fort.
The geyser was named to honor the vice-president of the Western North Carolina Railroad, Alexander Boyd Andrews. The history of the railroad is interpreted at the Old Fort Train Station and Museum in downtown Old Fort at the corner of Main Street and Catawba Avenue. The park is situated on the banks of Mill Creek, a designated trout stream between the upper railroad bridge and the U.S. Highway 70 bridge.
One of two N.C. Civil War Trail Markers is located here noting one of the last skirmishes of the Civil War in April of 1865. Troops led by Union General Alvin C. Gillem were traveling towards home in Tennessee, after leading a raid on Morganton, when they encountered troops under Confederate General James G. Martin. Martin heard of Gillem's approach to the area and strategically placed his 700 men along the top of the Swannanoa Gap to face Gillem's troops below, where they attempted to ascend the gap. Martin successfully trapped Gillem's 2,800 troops in a horseshoe cross-fire winning the skirmish. Gillem was forced to retreat, returning to Old Fort proceeding into Rutherford County and ascended the mountain through Howard's Gap reaching Hendersonville and marching on to Asheville.
Park hours are dawn until dusk. Picnic tables are available on site, there are no toilet facilities.
Directions: I-40 to exit 73/Old Fort. Drive North on Catawba Avenue crossing RR tracks to stoplight. Turn left onto Highway 70/Main Street then take first right, Old Highway 70. Continue approximately 2 miles, turning right onto Mill Creek Road. Watch for single lane tunnel, drive slowly; park is on the left.
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