Born from the need to generate local power for nearby textile mills, Dr. Gill Wylie set out to use the power of flowing water for electricity. In 1905 Dr. Wylie and a prominent Rock Hill man, William Whitner set out to build a dam on Whitner’s property. Years later, Dr. Wylie had a patient enter his office named James Duke. Duke was a wealthy man, making money in the tobacco industry. Dr. Gill Wylie, his brother, Dr. Robert Wylie, and Mr. Duke partnered and in 1925 Mr. Duke raised the dam to its present level of 570 feet above sea level. This was the first of many dams built along the Catawba River.
Today Lake Wylie covers approximately 13,000 acres and has 325 miles of shoreline. It’s owned by the Duke Power company. In addition to supporting Wylie Hydroelectric Station, Lake Wylie also supports Allen Steam Station and Catawba Nuclear Station with cooling water and provides a dependable water supply for Belmont and Rock Hill. Many people ask, “If I buy a home on the lake, will I have to worry about the lake flooding?” Because Duke requires all structures to be built above the “580 line”, in the event of torrential rains, the water will spill over the top of the dam (570 feet above sea level) before flooding homes along its shoreline.
Speaking of homes, Lake Wylie offers many waterfront communities to live in. River Hills, a gated community and one of the original waterfront communities on Lake Wylie offers a championship golf course, a 21,000 square foot clubhouse, country club, tennis and swimming complex, a marina and much more. Equal to River Hills in amenities is the much newer Palisades. The Palisades offers a Nicklaus Design championship Golf Course, private country club, town center for shopping and services, equestrian center, soccer-training complex, boat club, and miles of trails and paths. The list of wonderful neighborhoods and their amenities could go on and on for pages. Among them are The Sanctuary, The Landing, River Pointe, Reflection Pointe, Tega Cay, and many more.
Like Parks? Don’t forget to visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. DSBG has an ongoing itinerary of events that changes as often as their beautiful flowers do. Come get married and have photos that last a lifetime, or just come for a nice picnic near the water fountains (a real hit with the kids). Or perhaps you’d like to go camping? McDowell Nature Center and Preserve offers RV and Tent camping, picnic shelters, a 200 person picnic pavilion, and a waterfront deck beautiful enough to hold weddings and other special events. But this just scratches the surface of the many parks and recreation areas around Lake Wylie.
Peaceful and serene, the lake offers nature at its best. The fishing is good enough for professional anglers on the Bassmaster Classic and the water sport options are endless. On Friday nights during the summer you can find the Carolina Show Ski Team practicing off Windjammer Park.
From beautiful sunsets, vibrant fall colors, quiet fishing coves, and great water skiing to wild Saturday afternoon sandbar parties – Lake Wylie has something for everyone. One local resident recently said of Lake Wylie, “It’s hard to believe that a place this beautiful is so close to a major metropolitan city.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.