Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie is an unincorporated area in northern York County, South Carolina. Not to be confused with the actual physical “lake” of Lake Wylie. Lake Wylie is situated on a peninsula on Lake Wylie. Since it is unincorporated, the United States Census Bureau classifies the Lake Wylie area as a census-designated place (CDP). There are not legally filed or defined borders of a CDP other than what the Census Bureau establishes. The CDP for Lake Wylie, as defined by the Census Bureau, is a total area of 4.7 square miles. Of this 4.7 square miles, 3.5 square miles is land, and the remaining 1.3 square miles is water. The zip code 29710, and the area codes are 803 and 839.

Per the United States Census Bureau for Lake Wylie

Population per 2010 Census: 8,841

Male population: 47.7%

Female population: 52.3%

Population under 18 years: 26.4%

Population 65 years & over: 16.1%

Median home value 2015-2019: $322,200

Owner-occupied: 77.1%  

Total households 2015-2019: 4,869

High school graduate or higher 2015-2019: 97.4%

Bachelor’s degree or higher 2015-2019: 50.08%

As of the 2012 U.S. Census, there were 1,096 businesses within the Lake Wylie CDP.  

Lake Wyle History and Interesting Points

Dr. Walker Gill Wylie (1848 – 1923) is the namesake of the lake and area bearing his last name. Wylie, born in Chester, South Carolina, traveled to New York City and attended Bellevue Hospital for his medical training to become a doctor. He later became a professor of gynecology and specialized in abdominal surgery, and grew wealthy practicing medicine.

Wylie became interested in hydroelectric power generation in the 1890s. Tobacco tycoon James B. Duke was a patient, and Dr. Wylie convinced him to invest in the construction of a dam and a hydroelectric plant on the Catawba River. In 1899, Wylie founded the Catawba Power Company. He was president of the Catawba Power Company and the Southern Power Company, Duke Power’s predecessor companies. In 1900, he received a South Carolina charter to operate a hydroelectric station on the Catawba River. The Catawba Dam and 6,800-kilowatt hydroelectric station was completed at India Hook, South Carolina, and was dedicated on March 30, 1904.

The lake created by the Catawba Dam was originally named the Lake Catawba. However, on October 3, 1960, the lake’s name was changed to Lake Wylie to honor Dr. Wylie’s contribution to power generation. In 1960, South Carolina Governor Ernest F. Hollings said of the late Dr. Walker Gill Wylie, he was “the father of modern electricity in South Carolina.” 

Lake Wylie, the actual lake, is a man-made lake located in both South Carolina and North Carolina. In South Carolina, the lake is located within York County, and in North Carolina, the lake is located in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. Lake Wylie is approximately 13,443-acres with an average depth of around 20 feet, with a maximum depth of 82 feet. The shoreline totals 325 miles. 

Being the oldest lake in the Catawba River Basin, Lake Wylie is just one of eleven such lakes on the Catawba River. The shores of Lake Wylie are home to the Catawba Nuclear Generating Station and the Allen Steam Station. Duke Energy maintains six public boat access ramps around the lake.   

The Buster Boyd Bridge is probably the most prominent landmark or reference point when someone discusses the Lake Wylie area. This is especially the case when asking for directions. It is common to hear people say Buster Boyd so quickly or in such a way that it may sound to the unaccustomed ear that the person said, “Buster Boy [sic] Bridge.”  

The Buster Boyd Bridge connects SC Highway 49 and NC Highway 49 across the Catawba River or Lake Wylie. The north side of the bridge sits in Lake Wylie, York County, South Carolina, and the south side of the bridge sits in Steele Creek, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It is a four-lane bridge with a pedestrian sidewalk. The bridge is recognized as the only bridge, with North Carolina being the southern point of the bridge, while South Carolina is the northern point.

The bridge’s name is in honor of a Mecklenburg County political figure, William Monroe “Buster” Boyd. He was instrumental in the construction of the original bridge in 1923. The contract to construct the bridge was awarded to Hardaway Construction of Charlotte around October 1, 1921, and the bridge was completed around February 15, 1923. At the time, this construction period of seventeen months was deemed excessively long. This stands in contrast to today’s highway construction time frames which are typically measured in years and not months. 

The dedication and official opening of the bridge on August 17, 1923, was a large event with approximately 12,000 people in attendance. There was a picnic with 3,200 pounds of free barbecue given out. Speakers included a long list of dignitaries, headlined by South Carolina Governor McLeod and North Carolina Governor Morrison. 

During the initial construction of the bridge, an interesting legal question arose. The question being, could Mecklenburg County pay for two-thirds of the bridge’s construction if half of the bridge was outside of the county and in another state? This question went to the North Carolina supreme court, and in their ruling, it was deemed Mecklenburg County could pay for the entire bridge if they found a bridge advantageous to their county’s population.

The final construction cost of the original Buster Boyd Bridge was $103,446. With inflation, that $103,446 would be $1,615,536 in today’s dollars. York County paid one-third of these costs, and Mecklenburg County paid two-thirds. At 1,378 feet long, the original bridge was constructed of concrete and steel. 

Economy

During the 18th and 19th centuries, agriculture was the leading economic driver for York County. Raising cotton started to be prevalent in York County starting around the 1840s. Textile manufacturing became an economic factor around 1890, and by the turn of the 20th century, textile manufacturing was slowly replacing agriculture. Textile manufacturing became the dominant economic driver by the 1920s and continued to grow into the 1970s. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, ratified in 1993, was one factor that expedited the decline of domestic textile manufacturing. The workforce of the textile industry had been steadily declining for over a decade. However, NAFTA intensified this decline.

To overcome this shifting textile-based economy, York County and the state of South Carolina began an aggressive job in attracting new businesses and industries to the Lake Wylie area. Lake Wylie also has a distinct economic advantage because of the physical lake of Lake Wylie. The lake attracts homebuyers and vacationers. The lake with its visitors is a large local driver of the economy.

In the past thirty years, the largest driver of Lake Wylie’s economy is the proximity to Charlotte. Charlotte’s economic growth has spread to Lake Wylie and all the surrounding counties. Lake Wylie is just sixteen miles from downtown Charlotte making daily commutes an easy option for people looking for a lake lifestyle or lower taxes. 

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Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie is an unincorporated area in northern York County, South Carolina. Not to be confused with the actual physical “lake” of Lake Wylie. Lake Wylie is situated on a peninsula on Lake Wylie. Since it is unincorporated, the United States Census Bureau classifies the Lake Wylie area as a census-designated place (CDP). There are not legally filed or defined borders of a CDP other than what the Census Bureau establishes. The CDP for Lake Wylie, as defined by the Census Bureau, is a total area of 4.7 square miles. Of this 4.7 square miles, 3.5 square miles is land, and the remaining 1.3 square miles is water. The zip code 29710, and the area codes are 803 and 839.

Per the United States Census Bureau for Lake Wylie

Population per 2010 Census: 8,841

Male population: 47.7%

Female population: 52.3%

Population under 18 years: 26.4%

Population 65 years & over: 16.1%

Median home value 2015-2019: $322,200

Owner-occupied: 77.1%

Total households 2015-2019: 4,869

High school graduate or higher 2015-2019: 97.4%

Bachelor’s degree or higher 2015-2019: 50.08%

As of the 2012 U.S. Census, there were 1,096 businesses within the Lake Wylie CDP.

Lake Wyle History and Interesting Points

Dr. Walker Gill Wylie (1848 – 1923) is the namesake of the lake and area bearing his last name. Wylie, born in Chester, South Carolina, traveled to New York City and attended Bellevue Hospital for his medical training to become a doctor. He later became a professor of gynecology and specialized in abdominal surgery, and grew wealthy practicing medicine.

Wylie became interested in hydroelectric power generation in the 1890s. Tobacco tycoon James B. Duke was a patient, and Dr. Wylie convinced him to invest in the construction of a dam and a hydroelectric plant on the Catawba River. In 1899, Wylie founded the Catawba Power Company. He was president of the Catawba Power Company and the Southern Power Company, Duke Power’s predecessor companies. In 1900, he received a South Carolina charter to operate a hydroelectric station on the Catawba River. The Catawba Dam and 6,800-kilowatt hydroelectric station was completed at India Hook, South Carolina, and was dedicated on March 30, 1904.

The lake created by the Catawba Dam was originally named the Lake Catawba. However, on October 3, 1960, the lake’s name was changed to Lake Wylie to honor Dr. Wylie’s contribution to power generation. In 1960, South Carolina Governor Ernest F. Hollings said of the late Dr. Walker Gill Wylie, he was “the father of modern electricity in South Carolina.”

Lake Wylie, the actual lake, is a man-made lake located in both South Carolina and North Carolina. In South Carolina, the lake is located within York County, and in North Carolina, the lake is located in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. Lake Wylie is approximately 13,443-acres with an average depth of around 20 feet, with a maximum depth of 82 feet. The shoreline totals 325 miles.

Being the oldest lake in the Catawba River Basin, Lake Wylie is just one of eleven such lakes on the Catawba River. The shores of Lake Wylie are home to the Catawba Nuclear Generating Station and the Allen Steam Station. Duke Energy maintains six public boat access ramps around the lake.   

The Buster Boyd Bridge is probably the most prominent landmark or reference point when someone discusses the Lake Wylie area. This is especially the case when asking for directions. It is common to hear people say Buster Boyd so quickly or in such a way that it may sound to the unaccustomed ear that the person said, “Buster Boy [sic] Bridge.”

The Buster Boyd Bridge connects SC Highway 49 and NC Highway 49 across the Catawba River or Lake Wylie. The north side of the bridge sits in Lake Wylie, York County, South Carolina, and the south side of the bridge sits in Steele Creek, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It is a four-lane bridge with a pedestrian sidewalk. The bridge is recognized as the only bridge, with North Carolina being the southern point of the bridge, while South Carolina is the northern point.

The bridge’s name is in honor of a Mecklenburg County political figure, William Monroe “Buster” Boyd. He was instrumental in the construction of the original bridge in 1923. The contract to construct the bridge was awarded to Hardaway Construction of Charlotte around October 1, 1921, and the bridge was completed around February 15, 1923. At the time, this construction period of seventeen months was deemed excessively long. This stands in contrast to today’s highway construction time frames which are typically measured in years and not months.

The dedication and official opening of the bridge on August 17, 1923, was a large event with approximately 12,000 people in attendance. There was a picnic with 3,200 pounds of free barbecue given out. Speakers included a long list of dignitaries, headlined by South Carolina Governor McLeod and North Carolina Governor Morrison.

During the initial construction of the bridge, an interesting legal question arose. The question being, could Mecklenburg County pay for two-thirds of the bridge’s construction if half of the bridge was outside of the county and in another state? This question went to the North Carolina supreme court, and in their ruling, it was deemed Mecklenburg County could pay for the entire bridge if they found a bridge advantageous to their county’s population.

The final construction cost of the original Buster Boyd Bridge was $103,446. With inflation, that $103,446 would be $1,615,536 in today’s dollars. York County paid one-third of these costs, and Mecklenburg County paid two-thirds. At 1,378 feet long, the original bridge was constructed of concrete and steel.

Economy

During the 18th and 19th centuries, agriculture was the leading economic driver for York County. Raising cotton started to be prevalent in York County starting around the 1840s. Textile manufacturing became an economic factor around 1890, and by the turn of the 20th century, textile manufacturing was slowly replacing agriculture. Textile manufacturing became the dominant economic driver by the 1920s and continued to grow into the 1970s. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, ratified in 1993, was one factor that expedited the decline of domestic textile manufacturing. The workforce of the textile industry had been steadily declining for over a decade. However, NAFTA intensified this decline.

To overcome this shifting textile-based economy, York County and the state of South Carolina began an aggressive job in attracting new businesses and industries to the Lake Wylie area. Lake Wylie also has a distinct economic advantage because of the physical lake of Lake Wylie. The lake attracts homebuyers and vacationers. The lake with its visitors is a large local driver of the economy.

In the past thirty years, the largest driver of Lake Wylie’s economy is the proximity to Charlotte. Charlotte’s economic growth has spread to Lake Wylie and all the surrounding counties. Lake Wylie is just sixteen miles from downtown Charlotte making daily commutes an easy option for people looking for a lake lifestyle or lower taxes.

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Contact Us