Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fern Bank Walk

Kemp Plummer Battle's History of the University of North Carolina (1907) states on pages 767-768:

"We will now cross the ridge to the north, descending into the valley of Bowlin's Creek. Rising to the north we see the Iron Mountain [now the Ironwoods neighborhood], where excavations show a goodly quantity of valuable ore, but up to this time too far from coal to be merchantable. We pass the University water works [the UNC pump station, the remains of which are in Umstead Park] and come to a most romantic defile, called Glenburnie. In it was the oldest pre-Revolutionary mill in this section, called Yeargin's [parts of the dam are still to be found in Umstead Park]. The mud sill may still be seen. Along the stream on the south bank is a lovely path of countless ferns, which I name the Fern Bank walk."

fern bank walk

On the 1896/1918 topo map of Chapel Hill the "Fern Bank Walk" is shown on the north bank of Bolin Creek, but Battle clearly states that it was the south bank. There is still a ferny trail through Umstead Park on the south bank of Bolin Creek - at least as popular today as it was 102 years ago. It would be nice to formally designate that as the Fern Bank Walk. And for that matter, there is enough local history in Umstead Park, that it would be nice to have an interpretive sign put there about the mill, the water works etc.

The 1896/1918 topo map shows a number of other sites that are mentioned in Battle's History. I'll do another post on that topic soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment