Friday, January 9, 2009

Meeting of the Waters

Meeting of the Waters is the spot where two spring branches converge, one (no name?) originating about where The Pit on UNC campus is and the other (Chapel Spring Branch?) about where Venable Hall is. Meeting of the Waters Creek drains from there into Morgan Creek just above the OWASA treatment plant.

Meeting of W Ck

I went for a walk down near the mouth of the creek today (and a hike up onto Laurel Hill), and noticed that very near the mouth stands this:


Quite evidently an old stone milldam! I was surprised because I have read up about this area a lot and never before seen a reference to it. But there it is (or was). It appears that the dam was at one time determined to be too small and was then used as the foundation for a much taller earthen dam. The stone dam used to be about 8 feet tall, but the earthen dam that was laid on top must have been 16 feet high or more.

We could see that the hillside above the bank of the creek had been significantly excavated and it appears that the soil and rock was used to build the earthen dam. The mill race appears to have been on the south bank, so the mill building must have been on that side as well. This former dam is on public property, either OWASA's or the Botanical Garden's, I am not sure which, but it is not on any Bot. Garden trail and OWASA appears to be in the process of fencing off the area to keep people out of the treatment plant property.

It looks like it will still be possible to get there by scrambling down the bank from Old Mason Farm Road.


  1. Mark, you should talk to Johnny Randall and ask him what, if anything, he knows about this.

  2. Good suggestion, Sally. I called Johnny and he said he did not know much about it, but he questioned whether it was really ever a mill. He suggested that it may just have been a livestock pond.

    And maybe so, but it looks to me like there were two dams here: 1. an 8' high stone dam and 2. a 16' high earthen dam built on top of it. So it seems like someone was trying to maximize the power from this site. In other words, it looks like it was a milldam. But who knows?