The Mountain Lily steamboat was constructed in 1881 to carry passengers and freight to just east of Brevard, NC, a distance of some seventeen miles. The vessel was the central capital of the French Broad Steamboat Company, owned by Col. S. V. Pickens of Hendersonville. The steamboat was designed to link Brevard, Hendersonville and Asheville.
The Mountain Lily was 90 feet long with two decks and staterooms to accommodate 100 passengers. On the maiden voyage it held some 100 people, friends of Pickens, but was never successful in showing a profit. The Company tried several other ventures with the steamboat, but all were unsuccessful. A flash flood in 1885 pulled the boat from the mooring at Banner Farm Road and it became mired in a sand bar near King’s Bridge near the current Haywood Road in the 1880’s.
The boat was sold for salvage and her wood was used to build the Horseshoe Baptist Church. and her bell was hung in the church belfry. See, Henry G. Pettitt, “The Saga of Mountain Lily,” in Steamboat Bill, Spring 1993, pp. 35-37, for complete details on the “Lily”. Steamboat Bill is a record compilation of Steamship Historical Society of America. http://www.sshsa.org