April – Double Chimneys

April_OV
Latitude 36º 5′ 34.04″ N /
April_CU Longitude 79º 0′ 29.22″ W

How to get there:

DRIVING DIRECTIONS Double Chimneys from I-85 North, Exit 170: at the bottom of the ramp, merge onto Hwy. 70. Immediately move into the left lane and make a U-turn using the median cut-through. You are now heading west on Hwy. 70. Move into the right lane. Turn right at the first light onto Pleasant Green Road. You will pass the Pleasant Green Access and cross over the river. In 2 miles, turn left onto Cole Mill Road. You will reach the Few’s Ford Access of Eno River State Park in less than 1 mile. The physical address is 6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham NC 27705. Take the second right after passing through the park gates. Park here at the Piper-Cox House parking lot.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS to Double Chimneys from I-85 South, Exit 170: at the bottom of the ramp, merge onto Hwy. 70 West. Stay in the right lane and turn right at the first light onto Pleasant Green Road. You will pass the Pleasant Green Access and cross over the river. In 2 miles, turn left onto Cole Mill Road. You will reach the Few’s Ford Access of Eno River State Park in less than 1 mile. The physical address is 6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham NC 27705. Take the second right after passing through the park gates. Park here at the Piper-Cox House parking lot.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS to Double Chimneys from I-85, Exit 173: head north on Cole Mill Rd. away from Hillsborough Rd. Stay straight on Cole Mill Rd. for approximately 4 miles. You will cross the river and come to a stop sign at the Pleasant Green Road intersection. Continue straight and in less than 1 mile you will reach the Few’s Ford Access of Eno River State Park. The physical address is 6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham NC 27705. Take the second right after passing through the park gates. Park here at the Piper-Cox House parking lot.

HIKING DIRECTIONS to Double Chimneys: Take the Buckquarter Creek Trail (blazed with red dots) from the Piper-Cox House parking lot. You will quickly reach the river at Few’s Ford. Take the small footbridge to your right then make a right onto the upper, ridge side of the Buckquarter Creek Trail. Stay on this trail until you reach the intersection with the Ridge Trail (blazed with blue horseshoes). Take the Ridge Trail to the right. You will reach Buckquarter Creek in ½ mile. Here you must rock hop across the creek using the large rocks provided. Do not attempt to cross the creek after heavy rains or when the large rocks are underwater.

Once across the creek, you will come to the intersection with the Shakori Trail (blazed with yellow horseshoes). Turn right onto the Shakori Trail. You will hike down a slight hill and along a flat section before crossing a small piped stream. After crossing the stream, look to your left to see the old road to the homesite. Continue uphill on the trail (not the road). The vegetation to your left should begin to change (larger trees with more open space). At the top of the hill, there will be a tree stump in the middle of the trail. Turn to your left and walk straight into the brush away from the trail. You should see a large cedar tree on your right. The Double Chimneys will appear in front of you approximately 150 feet off the trail.

After exploring, go back the way you came. But, on the return trip, we suggest taking a right on the lower Buckquarter Creek Trail where the Ridge Trail ends. This is a more scenic route that follows along Buckquarter Creek to the Eno, then downriver to Few’s Ford. Roundtrip to the Double Chimneys and back to the Piper-Cox House is approximately 3 miles.

About the Double Chimneys

Can you figure out what is going on at the Double Chimneys site?  Were there two houses or one house with two different style chimneys? Who lived here and what did they do?

These are interesting questions about this month’s hidden gem, but the answers are difficult to ascertain. We have no historical data on who lived here and when; however, if you had the time and inclination, then you could probably find the answers through land and deed records. To find out what was going on at Double Chimneys, all you have to do is take a walk around the site. You’ll soon discover a curious looking foundation west of the chimneys (the same direction you took from the Shakori Trail). Here lie the remnants of a tobacco barn where bright leaf tobacco was flue-cured. Given the age of forest and the presence of plow rows nearby, there is a high probability that this area of the park was farmed for tobacco and the residents of the Double Chimney homesite were farmers.

We hope this exploration peaks your curiosity and causes you to want to know more about the rich cultural history of the Eno River Valley.  If this is the case, then you should check out local historian Jean Bradley Anderson’s Durham County, A History of Durham County, North Carolina. And if you come across any research or resources about any of the hidden gems featured in this year’s calendar, then please pass them along to us at calendar@enoriver.org.

The photos below (by Ken Hermey) are of the Double Chimneys in the winter (left) and the summer (right). Notice the difference in vegetative cover. We suggest you only hike to this spot in the cooler months of the year when ticks and chiggers are not as likely present.

Have you been there? We are having a contest to see who can make it to all 12 locations in 2014. If you go, bring a camera and upload a photo to our Flickr photostream. Tag your photo as “Hidden Gems of the Eno” (you must use quotes around it!) and be sure to title each photo with your first name and last initial. Send an email to calendar@enoriver.org to let us know you are participating in the contest. We will honor those who make it to all of the locations at our annual calendar celebration at the end of the year and give you a special gift!

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