Exploring Upper Otter Creek Road
Having lived here for over four years, I’ve explored most of the area, but the one place I had never been until this morning was the hidden farm at the top of Otter Creek Road. According to local lore, the same family had lived there since the Civil War, and there were dogs and a heavy metal gate preventing outsiders from entering their private domain. As I walked with the dogs along Otter Creek, I noticed that a large dead tree has fallen over Otter Creek Road in the direction of the farm, and since we hadn’t had a storm for almost a week, I realized that no one had been up that road for awhile. Climbing past the tree, I could see an open gate in the distance, and since there were no tire tracks, I knew that the farm must be deserted.
I walked through the large open gate and around a curve until I could see an old barn ahead, and an even older cabin past the barn. There were no dogs, and no vehicles at the house. Finally I was about to discover a remarkable piece of mountain history right in my own back yard.
The house is a wooden two story cabin with a major rock chimney on one side, and a Carolina porch across the front. Two large mill stones are standing in the front yard, and the largest Red Cedar tree (below) I’ve yet seen in these mountains is next to the porch. It is the oldest wooden cabin I’ve found anywhere in the mountains. Usually all you see is the rock chimney standing alone in a field or along the road. The dogs began smelling around right away. The house was empty!
Although the cabin was not a log, it was made with wide hand hewn boards, and the craftsmanship in the rock chimney was first class. Most likely the house was built in the 1870’s or 80’s, and very little, other than a tin roof, had been added since then.
The porch was wide and narrow, and looked much like the Piedmont farm houses of Northern South Carolina.
I have a feeling that this historic property is about to be offered for sale. Whomever is lucky enough to acquire it will have a genuine piece of Appalachian history to restore and preserve for future generations.