The headwaters of the Scuppernong River were coveted by early settlers to harness as an economic engine. Chester Smith built a saw mill there around 1847 and Curtis Mann and Talbot Dousman created THE PONDS OF THE SCUPPERNONG for their trout farm and built a cheese factory in 1870 at the site of Chester’s mill. As the reputation of ponds, trout and serene location grew, so did the number and frequency of visitors, prompting Mann and Dousman to convert the cheese factory into a hotel, which they called the Scuppernong Spring House. You can read all about it in Robert Duerwachter’s great book, THE PONDS OF THE SCUPPERNONG where he explains “The Last relic of the Scuppernong Ponds, the building which at one time had been a saw mill, a cheese factory, a hotel, a restaurant, and a club house, was destroyed by fire on August 21, 1972, the work of an arsonist.”
Looking south from the site of the Scuppernong Spring House.
Since the fire, the hotel site has been colonized by huge aspen trees and buckthorn. There are some very fine oak and hickory trees on the slopes above the site and these too were under assault from buckthorn. Here is a view of the area as seen from Hwy 67.
Down at the hotel site there was a buckthorn thicket laced with huge fallen aspen and cedar trees; a lot more work than I thought!
I took my time with this mess and when I finished the 6th tank of gas it was almost 4:00pm.
A strolling tour.
Revisiting the view from Hwy 67.
A close up study of the gnarly oak.
I enjoyed a nice walk around the trails and stopped at the stream gaging station to upload .30 to the Crowd Hydrology site. The sunset was beckoning, but I was tired and a little chilled so I headed for home back in Milwaukee.
See you at the Springs!
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