The cross on Mount Lyn Lowry still lies dormant, but repairs are under way with hopes that the bulbs will be shining again by Easter.
The 60-foot cross is a nighttime landmark in the Balsam mountains between Waynesville and Sylva. It went dark last November — the first time in its nearly 50 year history. Repairmen couldn’t make it up the road to the 6,000-foot peak until winter had passed. When they did, they discovered the culprit was a lightning strike that left the icon’s electrical systems damaged, said its longtime caretaker Marvin Bolick.
“The lightning strike, it just messed everything up,” said Bolick. Electricians have been working with Progress Energy to fix the components fried by the strike, as part of the damage was to the company’s systems.
Judy Meyers, who can see the cross shining from several rooms in her house nearby, said she feared the cross had shut off permanently.
“At first we thought it was due to clouds or fog coverage which sometimes occur, but then we noticed on the clear nights that it was still dark on top of the mountain. We kept watching to see if the lights would come back on but they didn’t,” said Meyers.
She was pleased, she said, to learn that the problems were simply electrical.
It was erected in 1965 by General Sumter Lowry, as a monument to his 15-year-old daughter Lyn who died of leukemia. It’s now maintained by the family through a foundation.