Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

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Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Lake Junaluska.jpg
Location of Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Location of Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°31′40″N 82°58′35″W / 35.52778°N 82.97639°W / 35.52778; -82.97639Coordinates: 35°31′40″N 82°58′35″W / 35.52778°N 82.97639°W / 35.52778; -82.97639
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Haywood
 • Total 5.8 sq mi (15.1 km2)
 • Land 5.5 sq mi (14.3 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 2,559 ft (780 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,734
 • Density 483.6/sq mi (186.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28745
Area code(s) 828
FIPS code 37-36480[1]
GNIS feature ID 1021078[2]

Lake Junaluska is a census-designated place (CDP) in Haywood County, North Carolina, USA. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,675 at the 2000 census and 2,734 at the 2010 census. It is notable as the site of the headquarters of the World Methodist Council, a consultative body linking almost all churches in the Methodist tradition. The WMC headquarters is itself located on the campus of the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, an assembly for the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church which hosts Annual Conferences and other United Methodist and religious conferences and events. As well, the Lake is home to the Foundation for Evangelism incorporated by Harry Denman to provide funding to various seminaries, professorships, and youth ministries. As well, the Foundation provides resources and open source software for the local church.

Contrary to popular belief that Lake Junaluska is named after the famous Cherokee Indian leader Chief Junaluska, the assembly is actually named after nearby Mount Junaluska (now North Eaglenest Mountain), which is itself named after Chief Junaluska.[citation needed]


Lake Junaluska is located at 35°31′40″N 82°58′35″W / 35.52778°N 82.97639°W / 35.52778; -82.97639 (35.527829, -82.976495).[3] It has a beautiful setting: Haywood County is known for the 18 peaks over 6,000 feet (1,829 m), more than any other county east of the Mississippi River. The 200 acres (0.81 km2) lake is surrounded by 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) of beautiful rolling hills and valleys.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.8 square miles (15 km2), of which, 5.5 square miles (14 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (4.98%) is water.

Lake Junaluska has an oceanic climate with monthly averages ranging from 37.2 F in January to 70.9 F in July. Precipitation averages 46.1 inches annually and snowfall averages 13.8 inches. [1]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,675 people, 1,262 households, and 861 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 483.6 people per square mile (186.8/km²). There were 1,848 housing units at an average density of 334.1 per square mile (129.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.65% White, 0.37% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.

There were 1,262 households out of which 18.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.57.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 16.2% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 20.6% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 28.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $46,932, and the median income for a family was $54,444. Males had a median income of $38,224 versus $29,219 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,031. About 4.2% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.9% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.

The grocery stores of Lake Junaluska are dry.


On June 25, 1913, the Second General Missionary Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South convened in the new auditorium, beside a lake yet to be filled, created by damming Richland Creek. There were only 13 homes, and no hotel until 1914, so 4000 people had to stay elsewhere. Junaluska Inn was built in 1917 but burned the next year. A new hotel in 1921 went up on the same site, eventually to be named for Bishop Walter Lambuth; additions were made in 1956 and 1964. In 1923, a classroom building called Shackford Hall went up on the lake's west end. Both Lambuth Inn and Shackford Hall have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.[4][5]

In 1922, the Junaluska cross was built on a hill overlooking the lake on its east side. In 1994, a replacement cross went up, and the original was eventually restored and moved to Mount Shepherd Retreat Center near Asheboro, North Carolina.[6]

The assembly went bankrupt, but in 1936, Methodist bishops raised $100,000 to pay off the debt, and the Methodist Church took over in 1940. The Southeastern Jurisdiction became the owner in 1948.[4] The George R. Stuart Auditorium, named for the first director of the assembly,[7] was enclosed, and The World Methodist Council moved its headquarters to Lake Junaluska, in the 1950s.[4]


Today, the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center hosts events for the United Methodist Church beginning in April and lasting through the fall of each year. There are events for all ages, ranging from a summer day camp for children to various Elderhostels. Events in June, 2009, included the Music and Liturgical Arts Week and the Native American Summer Conference, among others. The Center also includes lodging, dining and recreational activities in a beautiful lakeside setting. The most famous tradition for Lake Junaluska youth is performed on the last day of each retreat week, highlighted by Youth In Missions week. On the final night, visitors walk to the outdoor chapel near the cross and sing "Pass It On." On the final words, the youth yell "Praise God!" into the mountains. The sound can be heard for miles as it echoes throughout the lake.

Lake Junaluska is mentioned in the song "St. Joseph's" by the Avett Brothers.

Merger with Waynesville[edit]

Residents of Lake Junaluska have talked about merging with the nearby town of Waynesville in 2013, due to financial problems.[8]

A survey was done and 60 percent of the 2,734 residents wanted to become apart of Waynesville.

In August 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly thwarted the action to become part of Waynesville, but residents say they aren't giving up.[9] And now service fees will go up in the community. Even so, with 2014 conditions the typical Lake Junaluska property owner would likely see little to no cost savings under the annexation scenario. The contemplated annexation is a complicated issue. If the annexation outcome is contingent on the opinions of the Lake Junaluska property owners, residents, or registered voters, then a balanced public presentation of points and counterpoints is needed



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b c Neill Caldwell, "A Brief History of Lake Junaluska,", Retrieved on 2008/06/17.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  6. ^, Retrieved on 2008/06/17.
  7. ^, Retrieved on 2008/06/17.
  8. ^
  9. ^

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