Water seems to be everywhere in the mountains of western North Carolina--indeed, so much rain falls that parts of the region are classified as temperate rain forests.

The many springs, creeks, and rivers help define the landscape and many areas still bear a name that relates to some local body of water. 

Water is also an important feature of any farm or homestead. Farmers have always needed water for their own households as well as for their livestock.

Read on or return to the Virtual Tour Map.

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An article explaining two alternatives to carrying water in from a well: a hydraulic ram that could be used to pump water up a a short grade and a system that used gravity to deliver water to points below the source. From the Farmers Federation News, May 1940.

Springs and Wells

It is difficult to overstate the importance of water to a home and a farm. Especially in the era before electricity reached rural areas, someone often needed to pump or carry all the water required for everyone and everything on the farm. This led early settlers to think carefully about where to build their homes and place their farms. Proximity to a bold spring could save a tremendous amount of labor. Farmers could also deliver water to their homes and livestock using other methods, two of which are outlined in the article to the right.

Eventually, many wells were outfitted with pumps that could deliver "running" water to a home or a barn. As the Farmers Federation News cover below suggests, this was far more convenient than drawing buckets out of the well and then carrying them to the house.

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From the Farmers Federation News, May 1951.



Image from the McClure Photographs collection.

Farmers could also create ponds that stored large amounts of water. As the articles below discuss, ponds also helped control erosion and could be stocked with fish.