In its heyday, North Fork, located to the northwest of Black Mountain, had a population larger than the nearby City of Asheville. But as Asheville grew, forward-thinking officials determined the need for a watershed to serve its residents. They condemned the land in North Fork and residents were forced to leave their homes. Soon after the city built a dam, the church, school, and many former homesites were flooded.

Today, Asheville’s Watershed is closed to the public and descendants of the former residents are barred from access. This program focuses on the history of cultural impacts of submerged towns, using the North Fork community as a case study.

Anne Chesky Smith is the Executive Director of the Western North Carolina Historical Association at the Smith-McDowell House in Asheville. Prior to her tenure at WNCHA, Chesky Smith spent eight years as Executive Director at the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center in Black Mountain. During her time at SVM, Chesky Smith arranged and conducted significant research on the submerged North Fork community with stakeholders from the surrounding community. She holds MAs in Appalachian Studies and Cultural Anthropology.