Helen Norman & Patricia Page

Some thirty years ago, I set out to explore the depths of Lake James in scuba gear. With friends, we dropped into the chilly waters at Nebo, where the Linville River enters the lake. A few minutes after diving below the surface, we saw remains of a rough road and evidence of a house foundation. Little did we know at that time that were swimming over the former property of J. T. McGimpsey.

Only years later would the story of the "lost village" below the waters of Lake James be revealed. While the town of Fonta Flora was but a memory, Pat Page and Helen Norman collaborated to reveal the details of an area long flooded by the power company in order to electrify the Catawba Valley.

Rarely does a book of this size and depth contain as much documentation and research. A bibliography, as well as sources and references including a full-name and general index accompany this well written history.

The book, GLIMPSES OF FONTA FLORA, accompanies a wealth of high-quality images and first-person accounts of life as it was back then. The book is arranged in logical order and illustrates the land plats of property owners and the residents prior to the flooding of the area in 1916.

One of the most prominent researchers of Burke County land grants is Dr. Robert L. McNeeley. He has been enthusiastic in his praise of Helen Norman and her work. Having worked with Dr. McNeeley, I have the highest measure of  respect for his recommendations  and opinions. His work speaks for itself.

I have reviewed many books for inclusion on this BOOK PAGE.  In my opinion, this one is most deserving of  accolades and the highest recommendation for books of  local history.  To those seeking to know more about the land and people that currently lie below the waters of Lake James, this book is the best and most complete I have ever seen.

 Derick S. Hartshorn

Western North Carolina historians and genealogists have long awaited the disclosure of information that would acquaint them with mysteries of the land that was flooded in 1916 to create Lake James.

The historic Yellow Mountain Road, which once ran directly through Fonta Flora on its way to the frontier settlements across the mountains, had also faded into myth. Its specific route seemed lost to history but has now been resurrected based on a thorough study of the early land grants.

Finally, a documented history of the village of Fonta Flora, complete with maps, land plats, photographs, and more, has become a reality. Complete with bibliographies, sources, references and indexes, this volume is a treasure that is finally available.

Soft-cover, staple-bound, fully illustrated, the volume contains 142 pages, 8" X 11" with a full-name and general index.

 To purchase a copy, contact the author at:

Patricia Page <

The cost is $24.65 + $3.99 S&H

May also be purchased from Amazon or the History Museum of Burke County


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