A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12.16- Raccoon Creek & Hodges St. Causeway

A Great Blue Heron stands near the edge of Raccoon Creek

A gray misty day here in Oriental.

The portion of Raccoon Creek in today's photo is separated by the Hodges' Street causeway from the navigable area of the creek where sailboats tie up at Town Dock and Oriental Marina & Inn and shrimp boat/trawlers tie up alongside the Town's two fish-houses, Point Pride Seafood (on the left) and Garland Fulcher Seafood (right).

The causeway is partially obscured by reeds at the other end of the water in today's photo, but you can see part of the wooden railing along the street.

Originally, Hodges Street ended at the northwest bank of Raccoon Creek (on the right side of today's photo.)

In 1908, the John L. Roper Lumber Company (which owned a large lumber mill across town) offered to supply the Town with the required materials if the Town would build a
"bridge across Raccoon Creek at the foot of Hodges St. and... get a right of way from the foot of said bridge on the East side of the creek out to Factory Street."
Minutes of Board of Commissioners of Town of Oriental, February 4, 1908)

The property over which such road would pass was at that time owned by the Oriental Manufacturing Company, and had been the site of lumber mills and manufacturing operations.

The Bank of Oriental foreclosed on the Oriental Manufacturing Company property, and sold it to H.A. Stephens by a February 6, 1911 deed which specifically reserved an easement for:

"... a strip on the Northernmost end of said land running from Hodges St. to a point on Wall St. the Southern line of which is forty feet distant & parallel with the present Bridge walk across said Raccoon Creek from Hodges St. to said Wall St."

(this is the earliest recordation of the easement, and earliest reference to any causeway across Raccoon Creek so far found in Pamlico County land records... no original easement has yet been found)

At some point the Town replaced the "Bridge walk" across the creek with a road-bearing causeway, allowing vehicular traffic across the creek, but blocking water and water traffic.

Before the causeway blocked water traffic, boats could come up the creek as far as Main Street, which also traverses the creek, and is where I stood to take today's picture. Town co-founder Louis B. Midyette built the road now known as Main St. across the creek some time prior to 1898 (some 1898 deeds for properties between Factory St. and Raccoon Creek describe land as bordering on the "New Road built by L.B. Midyette.)

Boats could come up to a store on the bank of the creek just opposite of where the heron appears in today's picture (just out of camera shot on the left.) L.B. Midyette was an owner and co-owner of the store for awhile.

There has been some discussion removing the Main St. crossing over the creek, and possibly re-engineering the Hodges St. causeway to return the creek to its more natural state as an actual flowing creek...

Many folks don't even realize the bodies of water east of Hodges are the now-blocked remnants of Raccoon Creek. Many refer to the bodies of water between Hodges and Main and east of Main as the "Duck Ponds," which I think is an unfortunate nick-name in that it devalues the waters' actual status as the artificially-blockaded Raccoon Creek.


1 comment:

babooshka said...

This was a really in depth post and the heron is take so beautifully