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One to Know: Lake Norman native brings lake’s history to life with new book
By Dru Willis   - 06/18/2008

Lake Norman Times

More Info on This Book: Around Lake Norman

Cindy Jacobs is one of those Lake Norman rarities that many say rarely exist nowadays.

Born in Mooresville and later raised on Kiser Island in Catawba County, the 58-year-old Jacobs grew up in the area and on June 16 released a pictorial and narrative book titled "Around Lake Norman."

We all grew up here in town and the lake was not where you lived, it was where you went on (the) weekend," Jacobs said. "You didn't live out there because when you lived out there you were in the country. If you had not brought with you all that you needed you could be out of luck."

Her books is part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series of books and a portion of the profits from "Around Lake Norman" will benefit the of the Helen Keller Branch of the Mooresville Lions Club.

While it took her six months to put "Around Lake Norman" together, Jacobs got the idea while working on her first book, "Around Mooresville," released in April 2007, so it was a matter of collecting photographs and getting the information to include in the book.

"So it was a natural flow sort of," she said of the process she completed in January.

Much of her time was spent going through many black and white negatives, which she admitted to finally having "professional digitizers" convert them to a digital format.

In all she had 1,200 images converted and 205 of them made "Around Lake Norman," some even from Duke Energy themselves.

"And that was from a selection of maybe 15,000 total slides, black and white negatives and color negatives," Jacobs said. "I learned that you should keep those in order because that is not fun going back through."

The most interesting thing Jacobs learned in her research was the effect that the harnessing of the power of "white coal" by then-Duke Power Company had on the Catawba River area and its residents as electricity began to be produced.

"And they had this product that they not only produced but they then had to sell that product and in order to sell that product they had to invent an entire marketing world for that," she said of their harnessing of water power and putting it to use in the area.

Jacobs more or less stumbled into becoming an author after being a journalist for many years.

Officials with Arcadia Publishing got a hold of a pamphlet advertising a local heritage program she does each month at Mooresville's Charles Mack Citizens Center, which is sponsored by the South Iredell Seniors Center and Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce.

"Sometimes people come in with show and tell, you know, bringing in their stories. We have done programs on the hospital, the mill, the lake … the kinds of stories you see," she said.

Jacobs was telling the stories and showing the pictures and this just happened to fit into with what Arcadia doing with their "Images of America" series.

"I'm an accidental author. I said that about the first book and it's still true," she said.

She began telling the stories primarily because she did not know the stories while growing up, though she began to see the significance of the things she took for granted as she grew up as she assembled the book.

"So a lot of it was a learning process for me," Jacobs said.

Learning about her history actually began when Jacobs was with the Mooresville Tribune, which put out a summer magazine in 1983 on Lake Norman focused on how people lived and its history. This eventually became Lake Norman Magazine and Jacobs served as founder and executive editor for it.

"And the more I heard the more I realized I didn't know. Not only about the lake but the Mooresville community too," she said, adding people were really writing the lake's history by doing this.

"Those stories were being written and the new people wanted to know those stories," Jacobs said.

It is the Mooresville community that is actually the focal point of "Around Lake Norman."

"It's almost like you have to start with what you know and this starts primarily from the Port City of Lake Norman," Jacobs explained. "The introduction talks about the river and the development of the river, but this one has more about the Mooresville than the later ones will."

Life around Lake Norman was much different back then too, both before the lake was dammed and after and Jacobs experienced both aspects.

"There was not as much travel. The community was not as much water oriented as it is now. If you wanted to get somewhere you went by car, not by boat," she said.

Lake Norman itself was not as easy to navigate and had a whole lot less channel markers then as well.

"And when it was dark it was really dark," Jacobs recalled. "There were no piers, there were no waterfront, I think the only waterfront restaurant was probably The Galley … down in Ramsey Creek."

The other communities around Lake Norman will not be left out of publishing fame.

Jacobs has plans to author three additional books focusing on the other communities around Lake Norman because the Sherrills Ford-Terrell, Denver and Mecklenburg County areas around Lake Norman all have different perspectives, she said.

"We will recover here and go from there,' she said. "Cause each area has its own unique perspective because it didn't affect each area the same way."

Buy It Now: Around Lake Norman $21.99

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