Weekly Acorns

Archive for May, 2008

Oak Crest (Part 5) - Harmon Avenue

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Weekly Acorn #33

Harmon Av, originally a boulevard style street, is located south of and intersects with Oak Crest Dr (now Polo Rd).   It is a subdivision of parcel 27 and was platted in July 1927 by Hinshaw & Marshall, C. E. (Civil Engineers) and was owned by N C Hines Inc and others (Lettie Billings was one of the others). 

The name Harmon originated from the Harmon family who owned the land just south of parcel 27 (what is now Woodberry Forest).  There was a small cabin on the Harmon farm and two or three (I have heard both numbers) sisters lived there together. 

Harmon  Av was divided onto small lots (1 - 47) that were approximately 30 feet across the front and 150 feet deep.  Also, there was a little street cut on the east side of Harmon to access the side street (already developed) from Rosedale Cr.  This connecting side street was already called Rosedale St.  The name was later changed to Hobart St on 8/5/1957.  I am not sure where the name Hobart originated. 

At the same time the Fries brothers revised the subdivision of the west half of Rosedale Cr and resubdivided it into smaller lots.  Lots A, B, H, G, I, J, P, O, Q, and R were resubdivided into lots 48-115 and were about the same size as those on Harmon Av.

Also, sometime during the 1950’s (probably 1957 or after, when OC was annexed into the city) the residents of Harmon (mainly Rev Wilson and Mr Hart) wanted the city to pave the street.  At the time it was a boulevard with a center median of grass and trees.  The city would only agree to pave one, but not both sides of the street.  So, it was decided that the center median would be taken up and the street moved to the center and paved.   Then the former lanes were converted into extended lawns for all of the residents.  Evidence of the former boulevard can still be seen along Harmon such as sidewalks stopping short of the street, old curbs and gutters, and rock walls.


This plat shows the subdivision of Harmon Av from the original parcel 27 into lots (1-47) and the resubdivision of  the west side of Rosedale Cr (lots  A, B, H, G, I, J, P, O, Q, and R) into lots  (48 - 115).  Click on the plat above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

Oak Crest (Part 4) - Rosedale Circle

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Weekly Acorn #32

Rosedale Cr is a U shaped street that is located south of and intersects with Oak Crest Dr (now Polo Rd).   It is a subdivision of the original parcels 24, 25, & 26 and was platted in May 1924 by J E Ellerbie, C. E. (Civil Engineer) and was still owned by JW, FH, and HE Fries.

The parcels were subdivided into large lots (A - T) and were approximately 1 - 2 acres each.  One exception was a large lot (T) which was approximately 11 acres and located on the south end of the circle.  I will discuss more about lot T in a future post.  Also, there was a little street cut on the west side of the circle to access parcel 27 (not yet developed). 

I am not sure where the name Rosedale originated.  Perhaps it is derived from names of family members of the owners or developers (Rose or Dale), but that is only a guess.  The name was also applied to the side street (Rosedale St) which is now Hobart St. 


This plat shows the subdivision of Rosedale Cr from the original parcels 24, 25, & 26 into large lots (A - T).  Click on the plat above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

Oak Crest (Part 3) - Freds Road

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Weekly Acorn #31

Well, Freds Rd is somewhat of a mystery street in Oak Crest.  So far I have not been able to find the original plat with its development date.  What I do have is a plat as it appears in the old plat books downtown.  The old handwritten property transfers contained some clues as to a time frame that Freds was created.  I believe this time frame to be somewhere between August 1923 and March 1927 (I would further guess this date to be closer to 1927). 

Freds Rd is a street that runs between the original parcels 5 and 6 along the north side of Friendship Cr and curves slightly north and runs more through the center of parcel 6.  It was originally divided into 16 lots.  The first lots purchased on Freds Rd were at the end of the street on the west side on 3/22/1927.  Then, on 2/1/1928 the Buena Vista Co purchased the rest of the lots along both sides of the street.  Later, between 1932 and 1938, the Kester family began purchasing all of the lots along both sides of the street (including the first two lots that were sold back in 1927).   The property is still in the family today.  The last 3 lots at the end of the street on the east side are/were the only lots that are not owned by the Kester (now Nisbet) family. 

For a long time I thought Freds Rd was named after one of the Nisbet sons, Fred.  After speaking with Carl Nisbet, Fred’s brother, I was told that it was named after either one of the developers of the street or by their attorney, whos first name was Fred.  Additionally, the street sign reads “Freds Dr” but it is really ”Freds Rd” (see plat below).

Freds Rd may also have a more deep rooted history dating back to the Moravians in the 1700’s, but I will discuss more on this later.


This plat shows Freds Rd as it runs between parcels 5 and 6.  Notice how the street veers to the north making the lots on the east side smaller than those on the west side.  Click on the plat above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

When and if I learn more about the creation of Freds Rd, I will be sure to post it on this site. 

Oak Crest (Part 2) - A Community Of Friends

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Weekly Acorn #30

Last week I shared how brothers J W, F H, and H E Fries created “a community of friends” called Oak Crest in June 1923.  Then two months later on August 19, 1923, an ad ran in the Winston-Salem Journal promoting the new neighborhood.  Both the ad and a (clearer) copy of the original plat (cropped from the ad) are posted below.  This ad contains some very interesting information. 

Click on the ad and plat below to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.




This copy of the original plat of Oak Crest is much easier to read than the previous one that I posted last week.  It enabled me to answer the two questions I had from the other copy.  First, the date, June 1923.  This is the earliest date I have found for Oak Crest.  Since this is when it was platted, anything earlier would probably be the date that the Fries brothers purchased the tract of land or any previous owners of the land.  Second, notice that the faint outline of Freds Rd (from the previous copy) is not present on this copy which indicates that it was created later.   One additional note, the 5 parcels with running water were 3,4, 7,8, and 24 and is indicated by the streams that flowed on them. 

Oak Crest (Part 1) - In The Beginning

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Weekly Acorn #29

This week’s post is the beginning of another multi part series that I am sure will keep your interest.  It’s a timeline that reveals the creation of Oak Crest, the creation of each street, and some other interesting facts.   

The year was 1923 and Winston-Salem was growing westward.    The wealthy and affluent families were leaving the city to build big estates in the country.  The concrete highway (aka Boone Trail Highway and now Reynolda Rd) that led from town to the country became the corridor for many these estates.  The county had just completed a new sand clay road (now east Polo Rd) that began at the concrete highway where the already existing Mount Tabor Rd (now west Polo Rd) intersected.   The new road headed east to intersect with Old Town Rd (now University Pky), Rural Hall Rd (now Cherry St), and ending at Walkertown Rd (now Indiana Av).

About 350 yards east of the concrete highway on the sand clay road was a large tract of land owned by brothers J W, F H, and H E Fries.  They decided to develop the large tract.  The land was divided into 27 large parcels ranging in size from one acre to 16 acres.  These parcels were large enough for a nice home as well as raising vegetables and livestock, and yet close enough to neighbors.  I believe this development was originally intended for large scale homes (perhaps Buena Vista style) as a continuation of the existing new growth in the area. 

This new development was named Oak Crest (perhaps derived from one of the versions listed in last week’s post).  The only streets through this development were the sand clay road and one semi circle side street. 

Oak Crest Drive - Since the new sand clay road had just been completed and ran through the middle of the Fries Brothers new development, they called this portion of the road Oak Crest Dr. 

Friendship Circle - This was the only side street in Oak Crest when it was first developed.  Maybe the name was derived from the name of the developers (FRIEs ~ FRIEndship).  Lets face it, Fries Circle would not have sounded very attractive.   Also, the name Friendship was chosen to imply “a community of friends.”

Below is the the original plat of Oak Crest dated June 1923.  This plat indicates the original 27 parcels of Oak Crest.  Notice that the land where Crepe Myrtle Circle is now located was not included as part of the original development.  Also, notice that the name “Harmon” appears on the south side adjacent to the parcels that are now Harmon Av and Rosedale Cr and the name “Reynolda” appears on the east side adjacent to the parcels that are now Rosedale Cr.  That part of Reynolda is now the campus of WFU.  Lastly, the long parcel that extends way south is the area that is now Aaron Ln and Belle Vista Ct that is accessible from WFU. 


Please note that the bottom portion of this plat is cut off and the top is dark and difficult to read.   Also, there is a faint outline of Freds Rd.  I mention this for a reason.   This was the first copy I had of this plat and I was unsure of two things, the date it was platted and the origin of Freds Rd.  Next week I will post the other copy of this plat that is more clear and will answer those two questions.  

Click on the plat above to view an expanded version or visit the entire Historic Oak Crest Photo Gallery.

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