History of Hyco Lake

            The following excerpt is Courtesy of Hyco Lake Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 1:
From the great turkey buzzards that loom near the lake to the four now dormant power plant stacks, Hyco Lake provides a rich history for Person County [and Caswell County], despite only dotting the landscape for nearly 45 years.
“Hyco” was shortened from the Native American word “hicotaminy”, which means Great Turkey Buzzard. The area that is now home to the 3,750 acre lake was once inhabited by Native Americans and, of course, the great turkey buzzard.
Much of the history of this area lies underneath the water. The region was prominent for its tobacco production. Areas where people spent hot summer days in the fields are covered by water, where people now spend hot summer days enjoying the lake. The products of their labor were turned to cigarettes at one of the first tobacco factories in the United States in nearby Milton.
A major stagecoach line near the North area of what is now Hyco Lake was used to carry tobacco to Virginia markets. McGhee’s Mill was built in` the late 1700s to produce ground meal and flour. The site now rests underneath the Progress Energy after bay. The mill was moved to Roxboro and serves as the office of Donald Wilson, CPA. The economy of the Hyco region was also boosted by nearby Cunningham Plantation (“Waverly Plantation”) and McGhee’s Plantation (“Woodburne”).
The lake was constructed on the Hyco River and has three main tributaries – North Hyco Creek, South Hyco Creek and Cobbs Creek. It was filled in the spring of 1965, thanks to Hurricane Hilda. The lake, also known as Carolina Power Lake, was formed to serve as a cooling reservoir for the Carolina Power & Light Company (now Duke Energy) steam electric generating units.
History is not the only thing covered by the 25 billion gallons of water that fill Hyco Lake. A house foundation lies underneath the water near the power plant. During the drought of 2007, boaters could see the foundation, a reminder that this area was once a homeplace. Nearby the house foundation are two islands. Duke Energy officials are unclear as to why the islands are there, but confirm that they serve no purpose to the power plant.
Four of the smoke stacks that can be seen from many vantage points on the lake lie dormant, a reminder of the past. The new, more environmentally friendly stacks now dominate the landscape with white cloud plums.

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