KNOXVILLE (press release)—Anchor South, a Knoxville-based resort and marina management company, has entered a multiyear agreement to manage Fontana Village Resort, a year-round, vacation destination nestled in the Nantahala National Forest in Western North Carolina.
Anchor South has family connections to the Fontana community, and the partnership is aimed at protecting and enhancing the future of the resort as a long-cherished destination for both locals and tourists and as an economic driver for the region.
“We successfully own and manage a variety of resorts and marinas in the Southeast, and the team at Anchor South is delighted to have the opportunity to oversee one of the most unique properties in the region that offers an abundance of activities and amenities for tourists, vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts,” Anchor South CEO Mitchell Jones said.
“We look forward to applying our resort experience and management skills to this gem that borders the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.”
Located in Fontana Dam, North Carolina, Fontana Village Resort offers a range of accommodations, including rooms in The Lodge, suites, cabins, and RV and tent camping along the Little Tennessee River. The resort also features a marina and supply store, boat rentals, convention and event space, restaurants, shopping, massage and fitness center, pools, championship disc golf course, whitewater rafting and miles of on-site trails for bikers and hikers.
“Their proven success and desire to provide our clients with the highest level of service made Anchor South the ideal choice for us,” said Jeannie Stewart, general manager of Fontana Village Resort. “This is a very special and historic village and resort, and Anchor South has the experience and expertise to ensure its success and growth for generations to come.”
Fontana Dam and the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the dam, are longtime visitor attractions for the region.
“I’m grateful to Anchor South for choosing to partner with Fontana Village Resort,” U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said. “Tourism is a crucial part of the local economy, and the Fontana Village Resort is one of the largest employers in Graham County. Under this new management, I am confident that the historic Fontana Dam will continue to grow as a unique and popular attraction in Western North Carolina. I want to thank everyone involved in making this crucial investment in Fontana Village possible.”
“The significance of Fontana Village Resort remaining a successful economic driver for our region cannot be overstated,” added Paul Worley, director of economic and workforce development at Tri-County Community College. “With the recent closing and relocating of other local businesses, our region relies even more heavily on the tourism industry, and the resort is essential to the economic health of rural North Carolina. A partnership with Anchor South aimed at preserving and growing Fontana Village Resort is welcome news for all of us in Robbinsville and the Tri-County region.”
Fontana Village has a rich history that dates to January of 1942, when Fontana was converted by order of the federal government from a mining town to a construction site for a 480-foot-high hydroelectric dam. Led by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the dam was designed to provide electric power for the war effort, specifically at the nuclear facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The TVA Fontana Dam also was designed to alleviate seasonal flooding in the greater Tennessee River Valley.
By 1945, Fontana was the world’s fourth-largest hydroelectric power dam, and its construction is considered one of the largest engineering feats in U.S. history.
During the construction of the dam, a village community of workers and their families formed. The village housed some 6,000 people who worked around the clock in three shifts, and it included dwellings, a school, hospital, theater and churches.
One of the Fontana Dam workers was Lex Burgess, grandfather of Alicia Jones, the president and co-owner of Anchor South. Her grandparents lived in the part of the construction village that eventually was flooded after completion of the dam.
What once was the construction village became Fontana Village Resort, the last remaining village from the dam-building era of TVA and “The New Deal,” a series of domestic programs enacted under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring “relief, recovery and reform” after the Great Depression.
“I am thrilled to have a part of my family’s past now become a part of our family’s future,” Jones said. “Anchor South cherishes all of the properties we manage and adding Fontana Village Resort is particularly special to the company.”