I posted a while back about the wedding we just catered. I wanted to tell you a little about the venue where the wedding was held. This was actually the third wedding we have catered at Hightower Falls. The first ones we did were about 10 years ago and it really hasn’t changed hardly at all. I think they may have enlarged “the back porch” as they call it. I don’t remember it being able to seat that many people before.
It really is a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony. The last time we catered a wedding there we were going through kind of a drought and the falls weren’t quite as pretty as they were this time. I did a little research on the falls and I’m going to share with you the background on it.
The info was taken from Wikipedia and the website on the falls. They pretty much are identical with the exception that one says that Elias Dorsey Hightower bought the falls in 1843 and one says 1845. Since I wasn’t around I couldn’t swear to which one it was. So here is the info, somewhat paraphrased and I have added pictures that we took while there.
Hightower Falls’ history dates back to 1832 when a cotton gin was built next to an 80-foot waterfall in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1845 (or 1843 depending on who you listen to) Elias Dorsey Hightower, then around 35 years old, purchased approximately 2,000 acres and the cotton gin. Ginning is the process of removing the seeds from the picked cotton. Cotton was somewhat the mainstay of the South’s agricultural economy. Hightower built the three-story mill using local stone and slave labor. Wheat and corn were ground on the large stone wheels to make flour and cornmeal. Wool from sheep raised on the grounds by professional Welsh herders was carded on the second floor of the mill and stored on the third floor.
During the Civil War, Mr. Hightower had feared for the safety of his home and mills. The Union troops camped on his property during the war but miraculously left it undamaged. He continued operating the mill after the war and raised the falls several feet by building a dam at the precipice. He then added a tannery and a sorghum syrup mill and had bee hives on the property for honey. The mills continued to operate into the 1930s.
With lack of use, the wooden mill has since been lost to time. The slate roof on the stone mill has fallen in, but the walls remain today. There is actually a tree now growing in the middle of the floor. It does make a beautiful backdrop for pictures for weddings and other occasions. Between the mill, the bridges, the brook and the waterfall, there is a plethora of natural beauty to choose your best photo opportunity.
The Hightower home, built in 1857, is located 2 miles from the mills and has been extensively refurbished by its new owners even though it still looks very much the same. Mr. Hightower served in the General Assembly until his death in 1892.
For many years after the 1930s, people came to the falls on an individual basis to picnic, court and explore the grounds. In 1972 Hightower Falls Park opened to the public. It consisted of 120 campsites, restaurant, gathering hall, stables, 12 cabins, and a camp store. The Park was short-lived and closed within 2 years.
After the present owners purchased the property in 1996 as a homestead, they realized the significance of its heritage, and so once again, Hightower Falls became available to the public through private bookings for special occasions and activities. The present owners’ goal is to present the beauty of nature in an inspiring and captivating setting, and to allow its visitors the opportunity to once again “return to nature.”
You can book the Falls or find out more information by following this link: http://hightowerfalls.com/index.html
The only problem we found with the facility as caterers is that the kitchen is a little “dated” and it’s hard to really do more than warm up and prepare things that have already been cooked. They do have an ancient oven that works with some substantial preheating but it’s best to cook
off sight and then prepare there. They do have a small microwave and a standard sized refrigerator.
The “back porch” facility will only seat around 100. You could seat more outside which is fine for temperatures a little cooler than what we had. It was a little too hot to do much more than the ceremony outside. The poor DJ I know had to be spent by the end of the evening as he had his “station” set up outside and he was out there almost the entire time.
Please enjoy the photos and if you’re looking for a beautiful place to hold a small wedding, give them a look.