A Spring Creek Driving Tour

By Maxine Dalton

Eight to ten kids met the school bus in the 1950's.  Deeds go back to hand written documents from the 1890's.  Indians once camped down on the banks of Friezeland Creek across the road.  Tom Hare and Judie Hansen, now owners of the first farm on the road, have rehabbed the old 1800's farm house and rent it out to folks desiring a farm experience vacation.  They also raise Belted Galloway cattle, cashmere goats, grow organic veggies.
5.2 miles - The big Gardner House had the first phone in Spring Creek and folks would line up on Sunday’s with their dimes to make phone calls. (This is where the mail box reads "Dehart ").

5.4 miles - The creek that is now visible on your left is Friezeland Creek which flows into Spring Creek. Spring Creek flows into the French Broad River after passing under Main St. in downtown Hot Springs. The Cherokees believed that where Friezeland Creek and Spring Creek joined was a sacred place.

6.5 miles – The intersection of Hwy 209 and Hwy 63. Turn right onto Hwy 209.

Hwy 209 itself was not paved until the early 1950’s. In a county that votes on an at-large basis, this side of the county has a smaller population and has often received fewer services. Electricity and phone connections were not provided until the late 1940’s and 1960’s, respectively. Consequently Township 8 has been blessed with resourceful people who look after their own.

7.0 miles – You have arrived at the flats of Spring Creek. This open valley is a beautiful vista, a signal that after a long drive you are finally home.

Some of the earliest landowners in the Flats were the Askew’s, the Woody’s, the Plemmons, the Davis’, and the Ferguson’s.
7.1 miles – On your left is Davis Cove Road. The Davis family has lived in Spring Creek since 1850 and perhaps earlier. Part of the Davis farms included an original land grant from the State of North Carolina issued in 1856 to Daniel Davis. The original Davis house has been restored and can be seen from Hwy 209 off through the trees.

7.2 miles – On the right side of the road is the Askew family place. According to family history, the first Askew in Spring Creek was Thomas W. Askew, 1830. Thomas’ grandson, Eulas and his brother, Floyd, with the help of their horses, John and Fred, built the original Hwy 209. The horses are buried on the Askew farm. At that time the road ran along the base of the mountains to the east. An A. Askew is listed as a county commissioner in 1870. Three generations of Askews still live in the Flats.

The white house above the Askew home is where the great great grandparents (Woody – Askew) of the youngest Askew progeny in Spring Creek once lived and it is from this homestead that an Askew went off to the civil war, walking to Hot Springs and riding the train to Marshall. He was killed at Gettysburg.
The Reeves family is also descended from the Askews. Their stone house on the left was built in 1936. The carpenter was William Cogdill and the stone work was done by Newt Gaddy for $90. Clyde Reeves, the grandfather of the youngest Reeves descendent living in Spring Creek told the story that It was to have been his job to carry water to the workers but when they dug the basement, they found a spring in the basement (which still exists today in the basement under the kitchen) and so Clyde never had to carry any water. Clyde’s mother, Lou Askew Reeves (1895 - 1937) taught school at Mt Pleasant Church. She rode her horse up to the school to teach.

The family moved to this house from a home on what is now Reeves Road (7.4 miles). Three generations of the Reeves family continue to live in Spring Creek.
There is a similar stone house off to the right and this was built by the same people during the same period of time.

7.8 Miles – The Flats of Spring Creek Missionary Baptist Church is on the left. This church was one of two that was moved when Hwy 209 was moved. The land for the church was donated by Dr. Swan Woody.

Spring Creek VFD is on the right. The Fire Department was started in 1981 by a group of volunteers after the home of Maudie Plemmons on Meadow Fork was saved from burning to the ground by the quick thinking of Roemane Willett and his wife who just happened to be passing by. More than 20 people showed up to help put out the fire and Mr. Willett remarked, “if this is what we can do when we were not organized, imagine what we could do if we were” The organizational meeting for the Fire Department was held on February 18, 1981. One-hundred people attended the meeting in the Spring Creek School gymnasium and $863 was raised on the first night. Members of the first by-laws committee were Lionel Brooks (Bluff), Bobby Clark (Lower Spring Creek), Glen McNulty (Doggett Mountain), Larry Plemmons (Upper Spring Creek) and Stan McElroy (Meadow Fork).

The Women’s Auxiliary was formed on April 6, 1981 with Ethel Kirkpatrick as president and Joyce Reese as vice president. Stan McElroy was the first fire chief. The first president of the Board of Directors was Joe Justice.

The first fund raiser for the VFD was a raffle for a 250 pound Duroc/Yorkshire hog.

7.9 miles – The Old Spring Creek School was built in 1920 and many of the folks living in Spring Creek today attended this school from 1st grade through high school.
After consolidation in 1989 the school was allowed to fall into disrepair and today the children of Spring Creek are on the bus for more than an hour and a half each way to attend Middle School and

Although consolidation undoubtedly brought benefits county-wide in terms of economies of scale, it has worked undue hardship on our local children who are on the school bus for many hours each day.

A dedicated group of people – both locals and newcomers, has worked diligently for more than 7 years to restore the school as a community center with sweat equity, grants, and regular fund raisers. The restaurant, GRITS, is now open and the plan for the future is to have shops, a gymnasium, a library, and meeting rooms within this community center.

8.1 miles - The old Meadows Home place. During Reconstruction, two brothers fleeing from the law came to Spring Creek from the Eastern part of the state and built the first two rooms of this house. During their time in Spring Creek from 1867 to 1870, these brothers, developers of sorts, built two story houses -- perhaps the Ferguson house on Caldwell Mountain Road and the Ebbs-Plemmons house on Meadow Fork Road but this is not certain.
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