Description

Religion spread swiftly across our new nation with the help of camp meetings where families, taking a break from farm labor, gathered for inspiration and socializing. The late-19th-century religious experience expanded the concept by adding educational and recreational opportunities. Permanent campgrounds appeared, the most renowned being Chautauqua in New York. In 1913, Southern Methodists created their own institution with the first conference at Lake Junaluska in western North Carolina. Capitalizing on the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, Lake Junaluska Assembly, a conference center of the United Methodist Church, became an attraction for inspiration, instruction, relaxation, and recreation. Renowned preachers such as Billy Graham and speakers like Eleanor Roosevelt have filled its iconic round auditorium. Approximately 200,000 annual visitors join a residential community to make Lake Junaluska a destination in its own right amid the attractions of nearby Asheville, Waynesville, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.