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NC School of Science and Mathematics

2004 Student Intensive

The Search for Fish Dam Road

Notes from the field

Joe Liles, Instructor

Wednesday, March 31

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  Fish Dam Road followers,

We just got back from our second day exploring Fish Dam Road.  It was a very dreary morning, but the students made the best of it.  We started at a very generous landowner's house off of Lawrence Road in Orange County.  This is Mrs. Mozelle Ray whose husband (now deceased) constructed a huge corn field behind their house, right on the edge of Fish Dam Road.  The students and I negotiated the dense growth of young sweet gums, etc. in the abandoned corn field and found the road.  We followed very pronounced roadbed for 3/4 mile, heading west, until we dead ended into a trash dump behind a mobile home park.  This is very close to where Fish Dam Road merges into the pavement of Highway 70 business and runs to where we left it yesterday.  We had one landowner come out to see what we were doing, and my students and their project won them over to seeing us as allies instead of trespassers.  This landowner had always wondered about the old road bed and was thrilled to know about Fish Dam Road and where it went.  I'll be sending her a map.  We reversed our steps and followed the road back to our vehicles.  Once again Jim Wise accompanied us.

We next visited Occoneechee Golf Course, courtesy of the Jim Ray family, and saw the one remnant of Fish Dam Road that still exists there.  We followed a line of old trees that mark one edge of Fish Dam Road to the eastern end of the golf course and into a pocket of woods.  It is in this small wooded area that a remnant of Fish Dam Road takes a dramatic turn to the north where it joined with the old road to Oxford precisely where the pavement of Highway 70 bypass is.  This old Oxford Road is what heads to Cabe's Ford across the Eno.  Fish Dam will head back to the south and east so as to avoid the Eno.

We next pulled into the Hidden Treasures secondhand shop at the intersection of Highway 70 business and Highway 70 bypass.  We parked there and all the students had a short tromp through the woods to take a look at one of the deepest, most impressive gouges of Fish Dam Road that I have seen anywhere along its route.  This gouge leads right into Highway 70 and out the other side, the south side of 70.

Tomorrow, we will be meeting with the developer of Red Hill Farm on this south side of 70.  He says that his original property plat actually has Fish Dam Road on it.  I am anxious to see if his map lines up with what I have seen on the ground.  This is a very surprising place for Fish Dam Road to be!  I have found evidence of the old road following a small, beautiful creek as it comes down from the area we left it today and into the Seven Springs area on the south side of 70.

You will be receiving the student report of the day soon.

Forever yours,
Joe