The History of Hope Mills Lake
Chartered in 1891, the Town of Hope Mills can trace its beginnings back to 1766, when the wealth of natural waterpower attracted a lumber camp, a saw mill, a grist mill and a pottery business along Little Rockfish Creek.
In 1839, a cotton mill was established and the mill pond it created changed the face of the area forever. Hope Mills Lake became the centerpiece of Hope Mills and its swimming and fishing made it a popular place.
The Lake was a community gathering spot especially for some of the town’s bigger events such as the 4th of July Celebration, and the Christmas Festival of Lights. The park at the Lake featured a pavilion, a gazebo, a children’s playground, a fishing pier, a boat dock, a swimming area and a bicycle / walking path.
The natural beauty of the Lake was one of the main reasons Hope Mills became such a fast growing community. Residents took pride in the area and newcomers wanted to belong to such a town.
On Memorial Day of 2003, heavy rains forced the earthen dam to breach and the Lake’s water rushed down the Rockfish Creek and eventually into the Cape Fear River. Efforts to restore the Lake have been on-going and on March 17, 2006, concerned citizens incorporated Friends of Hope Mills Lake as a North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation.