"As a child, it started out as camp.
Now, it's my getaway."
– Todd Leoni, owner
History of Osceola Lake
In 1908, a group of developers began building Osceola Lake in the Valley Hill community.
The lake is fed by Findley, Perry and Tony’s creeks. It is drained by Shepherd Creek. The lake was named for the Seminole Indian chief, Osceola, who waged war against the United States in Florida as a result of the Indian Removal to Oklahoma in 1832.
The developers of the lake had the dam nearly completed by September 1908 and improvements on the surrounding area were taking place, reported the French Broad Hustler, a local newspaper at the time.
The water was turned on at the lake on a Tuesday in March 1909.
In 1914, the lake covered about 12 acres and today covers 32 acres and had a maximum depth of 30 feet,
A book published in 1915 by the Southern Railway Co., “Autumn and Winter in the Land-of-the-Sky,” mentioned the lake: “Osceola Lake affords excellent boating and fishing” the authors wrote.
During the Flood of 1916, the dam collapsed and was washed away. In the early 1920s, the dam and lake were restored, said Frank FitzSimons Jr. in his book “From the Banks of the Oklawaha.”
In 1926, the Osceola Lake Co. was offering lots for sale along the lake, with small cash payments and liberal terms, the Times-News reported.
A summer camp originally built in Laurel Park moved to Osceola Lake in Valley Hill in the 1920s. This camp later moved to South Mills River and became known as Camp Blue Ridge.
The present owner of Osceola Lake, Todd Leoni, went to camp as a boy and loved the experience so much that he dreamed of owning it some day. Well, dreams do come true. In 1990, Todd purchased the 32 acre lake and in 2006 the Mountain Lake Inn with eleven camp suites surrounding the property. Every year, Todd enjoys the Mountain Lake Inn as his summer retreat with his family. Todd has built and purchased additional homes around Osceola Lake as well as developing the Mountain Lake Village log cabin community where you can purchase land and build your own cabin getaway in the western North Carolina mountains.