Andrews Geyser in Old Fort : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

Hi, I'm trying to find some information on how the Andrews Geyser came about. Do you have any information on that? I would be most grateful. Many thanks, Lynne Gantz Editorial Assistant

-- Lynne Gantz (, October 07, 2003


Andrews Geyser was built in the early 1880's to honor Alexander Boyd Andrews, a VP with the Richmond & Danville Railroad that purchased the Western North Carolina Railroad shortly after its completion of the Swannanoa Tunnel. Within 18 months, the WNCRR was completed by the R&D to the Tennessee line, after struggling to reach said point since 1855. (That's the VERY simplified story).

Andrews was from the Old Fort area, and the man-made "geyser" was made by diverting a natural stream in a pipe, and spewing it upward into a fountain below the hotel at a point popularly known as "Round Knob."

By 1911, the fountain had fallen in disrepair, and a well-to-do New Yorker, whose name escapes my memory, but whose name I have on file, was traveling on a passenger train. He marveled at the scenic ride, and was disappointed by the broken "geyser" and was determined to honor the man who built the railroad across the mountains. Thus, he personally paid to have the fountain restored, which actually meant rebuilding it entirely. Details are fuzzy, but the original mountain spring was no longer sufficient, and a new fountain/geyser was built across the larger Mill Creek in a new location.

Though Andrews got the credit for "building the railroad", by far, the most unsung heros of the Western North Carolina Railroad effort were Samuel McDowell Tate and James W. Wilson. If not for these two men, Andrews would have never had a geyser, nor gotten so much glory that he really didn't deserve. Check out and click on briefs, then click on the WNCRR link. The book on this railroad is almost complete, and if you need more details, feel free to email me.

-- Matt Bumgarner (, October 07, 2003.

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