Located in McDowell County, Andrews Geyser is a man-made fountain that was constructed in 1885. It was constructed on land that was part of the grounds of a stylish hotel called Round Knob Lodge. The creation of the Geyser began with the damming a stream, which in turn created Mill Creek.
Mill Creek was about 200 feet higher in elevation than the spot that became home to the Geyser. A pipeline was run from Mill Creek downhill to the Geyser. Gravity was then able to create the waterspout. At times, conditions were optimal enough for the Geyser to shoot water 250 feet into the air every 2-3 minutes. The Geyser was known nationally by the 1890s. In 1903, Round Knob Lodge burned down, and the Geyser fell into disrepair.
George Fisher Baker, a New York banker, began restoring the Geyser in 1910. He wound up having to relocate the Geyser to the other side of Mill Creek. Baker then named the Geyser in honor of Colonel Alexander Boyd Andrews. A native of North Carolina, Colonel Alexander Boyd Andrews was the Vice President of the Southern Railway Company. In the late 1800s, a railroad was constructed between Old Fort and Asheville, and Andrews was one of the individuals responsible for the construction.
Andrews Geyser marked the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and was built adjacent to the tracks of the Southern Railway. The Geyser was visible from the train as it traveled across the mountain. After Baker restored the Geyser, Southern Railway maintained it for as long as the trains passed through the area. As passenger train service declined in the area, Andrews Geyser fell into disrepair again. In 1975, the Geyser and the two acres of land it sat on were deeded to the town of Old Fort by Southern Railway.
After the Andrews Geyser Restoration Fund was established, the Geyser was repaired and rededicated on May 6, 1976. Andrews Geyser is now used by the town of Old Fort as a public park. Today, the Geyser draws its water from a pond and valve that is located by the Inn on Mill Creek, which is a local bed and Breakfast.
An underground cast iron pipe that is six inches in diameter runs downhill from the Inn to the Geyser. There is a lever located on the property of the Inn on Mill Creek that opens the iron pipe and allows the water to flow from the pond to the Geyser. The difference in elevation between the two points is 500 feet. As a result, the Geyser is able to shoot water 80 to 100 feet at times. Sometimes, it is even able to shoot water even higher.
The Geyser is surrounded by a concrete basin, and the waterspout comes out of a nozzle that is about one half of one inch. A historical marker with information about the Geyser is located west of Old Fort on SR 1400, which is Old US 70. There is an estimated 200,000 visitors to Andrews Geyser each year.
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