New documentary is out on history of White Lake - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

UNC student produces documentary on White Lake

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But back in the twenties, a string of popular vacation places began to pop up at White Lake, and it was Melvin's Beach that started it off. But back in the twenties, a string of popular vacation places began to pop up at White Lake, and it was Melvin's Beach that started it off.
WHITE LAKE, NC (WECT) -

Robert Kinlaw, a 19-year-old journalism sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, has been working for two years to produce a documentary.

He has been shooting video, collecting old pictures and interviewing people of what White Lake used to be like, and has put all of that work into a documentary called White Lake:  Remembering the Nation's Safest Beach

"A lot of the lake's history is really rich and not that many people know about it," said Kinlaw. "I have taken it for granted, but I was hoping that by making this documentary in particular, I could bring that to a lot of people who don't know."  

The Pavilion at Goldston's Beach and the amusement rides next door is what people are familiar with at White Lake today. Just up the road is the giant Camp Clearwater Campground, and nearly the rest of the lake is surrounded by private homes and campgrounds. 

A string of popular vacation places began to pop up at White Lake in the 1920s, and it was Melvin's Beach that started it off.

"Melvin's Beach is gone now, Crystal Beach is even gone now," Kinlaw explained. "I felt like that history needed to be recorded before that history slipped away because a lot of the people who lived back then are getting old now, and it needs to be preserved." 

And another way people were able to enjoy the lake was aboard one of the many tour boats that used to operate on White Lake, including the three versions of the "Lilly." 

Kinlaw's documentary tells of the day when the big bands played on a regular basis at White Lake, including the Johnny Long Band, and places like the Hayloft were popular places for people to do the jitterbug. 

In more recent years, the Ski Heels entertained crowds at shows on White Lake. 

"The White Lake Ski Heels were hugely important and it is just amazing how many great skiers originated right out here," Kinlaw said. 

All of these historic facts are included in Kinlaw's documentary. He says he is still undetermined how his future in film making will turn out, but last month, he signed a contract with North Carolina's public TV network to have the documentary air soon state wide. 

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