Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina

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Lake Santeetlah is a town in Graham County, North Carolina, United States, six miles (10 km) north of Robbinsville and within fifteen miles (24 km) of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Santeetlah—which in turn is largely surrounded by Nantahala National Forest. The town has more than two hundred residences, many of them second homes owned by permanent residents of Florida and Georgia. The town was organized in 1989 as Santeetlah; in 1999, it changed its name to Lake Santeetlah.[2] The full-time population was 67 at the 2000 census.



Lake Santeetlah is located at 35°21′49″N 83°51′52″W / 35.36361°N 83.86444°W / 35.36361; -83.86444 (35.363578, -83.864367).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²), all of it land.


Because of its mountainous terrain, Graham County was one of the last sections of the eastern United States to be settled by Europeans. Robbinsville was not incorporated until 1893, and it had only two hundred residents in 1915. The area known as Santeetlah along the Cheoah River was sparsely settled, and in any case, the river valley was flooded after Santeetlah Dam was completed in 1928.[4] In 1939, the U.S. Forest Service purchased from Carolina Aluminum Company the land now occupied by the town of Lake Santeetlah.[5]

The father of Lake Santeetlah was Kenneth S. Keyes, Sr. (1896-1995), a native of Detroit, who became an extremely successful real estate dealer in Miami, heading over fifty corporations that operated hotels, office buildings and other realty enterprises in Florida, New York, and Canada. In 1957 he served as president of the National Association of Realtors.[6]

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