In 1885 Chimney Rock began its long history as a tourist attraction when the first stairway to its 315-foot granite summit was completed. Missouri native Lucius Moore purchased the spectacular rock outcropping overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge in 1902. The family operated the property as a private park until recently. Its facilities include a nature center and visitors’ center and a tunnel and elevator to the spire overlooking Lake Luke. A network of trails highlights natural features including the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls. In 2007, the state of North Carolina purchased the 996-acre park from the Morse family. It will become the centerpiece of a new state park under development in Hickory Nut Gorge. A significant Appalachian treasure of biodiversity and natural heritage will be preserved for future generations.