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Love Valley/ A Portrait

Of the many small towns that dot the U.S., North Carolina is home to a unique exception to the small town rule. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Love Valley is the continuum of a lifestyle forgotten yet admired by many. Founded in the mid-fifties by mayor Andy Barker, it has proven to be his and many others' dream of a lifetime. Love Valley, which is based on a love for horses and western culture, has over the years collected a number of dwellers that live there year round and visitors that call it home on the weekends.

Barker found the land just north of Statesville in 1954 and his dream of establishing his own western town began to take shape. Modeled after mid-1800's architecture,uptown consists of less than a dozen buildings including the Barkers' home which Andy built and furnished. Over the years the area has grown to include a few dozen homes and permanent campers along with an arena that hosts local rodeos. Although Love Valley is known for its miles of riding trails, local color and atmosphere is what keeps bringing the people back.

Because the titles to a majority of the hills of the area are split up between grandchildren, the furture of the valley stands on collecting the money to buy all of the surrounding hills that are now considered Love Valley. Recently, a group called the Love Valley Horse Association, has gathered to attempt to buy all the land before it gets into developers hands. This group is working hard with membership drives and weekend group rides to assure that Love Valley can be a part of the lives of an upcoming generation of horse lovers.



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Jennifer Jones
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