Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Pile of Stones

If you walk around in the woods in Grays Chapel, North Carolina, especially in the winter, it's amazing how much evidence of the history of the area you can see. These images are of an old stone dam on Bush Creek some 300 feet long and 20 feet in height. A lot of the stonework is intact but the center of the dam was breached by a long ago hurricane and the creek now flows freely through. For some people, it probably just looks like a pile of rocks, but the rock work is beautiful and it is very special and significant  to me on a personal level. My great-great-grandfather Isaac Routh built this dam in the late nineteenth century and it held back a five acre pond which powered a grist mill. Isaac and his son Wes ran that mill until it burned in the 1940's (replaced by a nearby engine powered mill) and the pond remained until a hurricane caused a breach in the 1950's. Wes's brother, my great-grandfather John T. Routh, learned his profession as a miller here before he moved on to his own mill business in Bonlee in Chatham County.

(Photographs copyright 2012 by Dan Routh)


Matt Bennett said...

Dan, we have an old rock dam on our farm too. It unfortunately had the same fate as yours. There are quite a few of these old rock dams around this area. Most however did not hold up over the long haul.

Dan Routh Photography, Inc said...

There were lots of mills around here back in the day, and each one had a dam and a millpond. There are a few left, but they are disappearing fast.