High Meadows and Roaring Gap: The Birth of a Mountain Retreat

The striking beauty of the area that makes up Roaring Gap community is enough to take your breath away. High up on the mountains, there are spectacular views into Wilkes, Surry, Caldwell, Ashe, and even Watauga Counties. You can see the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and on a clear day, at just the right place, you can even see Pilot Mountain and the skyline of Winston-Salem.

Today, with well-kept roads from Charlotte and Winston-Salem, including Interstates 40 and 77 and Highways 421 and 21, the communities in and around the Cherry Lane Township, commonly known as Roaring Gap, are a convenient mountain getaway for the state’s larger cities. The area even people from as far away as Florida and other warm areas looking for a cool place to play golf in the summer. But traveling to Roaring Gap wasn’t always this easy. It took determination on the part of many local businessmen and the vision of a few avid golfers to turn this mountainous landscape into a world-class golf resort.

Development of this area really began in the early 1900s. Sparta, just north of High Meadows, was organized in 1866 and founded in 1925. Around that time, a group of businessmen from Elkin and Winston-Salem got together to build the Roaring Gap Hotel, envisioning the area as a mountain retreat and billing it as a short, three hour ride from Greensboro. In reality, it was much harder to get up the mountain, taking as much as four hours in a buggy just from Elkin. This spurred the development of the Elkin & Alleghany Railroad, to make it easier to travel up the mountain to enjoy golf and relaxation.

Around that same time, construction was started on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and High Meadows sits just under four miles away from an entrance into this scenic highway. Together, the Parkway and the train, along with a growing population in Sparta, helped contribute to the growth of the Roaring Gap area.

High Meadows Golf & Country Club entered the scene in the middle of the 20th century, thanks to the vision of Robert Davis. A native of Wilkes County, he enjoyed weekend excursions up to the Parkway, both as a young man and later a young father. Working as a developer for White Pine Paneling Company, Davis acquired 700 acres of land in the area he had grown to love. A developer and a visionary, Davis was able to see a beautiful golf course in an area that was covered in forests.

Davis enlisted the talented George Cobb, a native of Savannah, GA, and a well-respected golf course designer, to create the course to complement High Meadows Estates. Construction began in 1963, and the first nine holes were open for play in 1965. Only a few months later the area received over 11 inches of rain in one hour, washing away topsoil and creating ditches along the course. Much work was needed to repair those nine holes, but with determination, the full 18 were open in 1966.

Today, it is easy to take for granted the beautiful community of High Meadows Golf & Country Club and the amenities found in Roaring Gap and Sparta. But through learning the history of the area, we can see that our enjoyment of this land today owes a lot to the determination and vision of the people who forged their way through the wooded mountains in the early 20th century to create an idyllic retreat.

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