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sweet spire

Black Ankle, North Carolina

Blackankle is an unincorporated community that lies in the northeastern part of Montgomery County, North Carolina, United States.

Location

The Community of Blackankle is located at the junction of NC State Road 1349 (Ether Road) and NC State Road 1354 (Blackankle Road). It lies approximately ten (10) miles north of the Town of Troy, eight (8) miles northwest of the Town of Star, seven (7) miles north of the Community of Okeewemee, four (4) miles southwest of the Town of Seagrove, five (5) miles northwest of the Community of Ether, and three (3) miles west of the Community of Steeds.

Blackankle is just three (3) miles west of Interstate 73 / Interstate 74 / U.S. Hwy 220, off exit 42 (Black Ankle Road Exit), and three (3) miles west of US 220 (Alt), and three (3) miles east of NC Hwy 134.

The community is just a 1/2 mile south of the Randolph County line. It lies (three) 3 miles west of Moore County, eight (8) miles east of Davidson County, thirteen (13) miles east of Stanly County, and fifteen (15) miles north of Richmond County.

The coordinates of Black Ankle are (35.50208 North latitude and -79.80726 West longitude).

The elevation of the Community of Black Ankle is above sea level.

History

There are many different "tales" of how Blackankle actually got its name.

The origin of the name Blackankle is from the late 1920s or early 1930s when gold was discovered in 1928 near Franklin Mountain. Many people came to the area to try to make their fortune in the mine or to be laborers and make a decent living. About once a week, in the evenings after the working day was over, the miners would all climb on the back of a truck or trailer and ride to Star, Ether or Steeds to restock on supplies they may need to get them through another week. In the area where the Franklin Mountain (Blackankle Gold Mine) is located, the soil is very dark, rich and fertile. These miners most always were shoeless when they went into town and the black dirt from the area, mixed with a little water, made their feet discolored and dark. Everywhere the miners went, people would see the feet of the visitors and say "Here comes the blackanklers." It was soon after the discoverory of gold that Blackankle, from the miners with dirty feet, got its name.

Gold

The Blackankle Mine was not discovered until 1928 when a man named Bud Latham discovered gold. Edward Hedreck, the owner until 1935, reported a total production of $15,000 or about 750 ounces. The workings comprise a pit long, wide and deep, a shaft deep in the pit and a shallow shaft sunk in the bottom of the pit. The ore body as a whole is of low grade, though its gold content is not actually known. Treatment of the material by washing, amalgamation, cyanidation, and other methods has recovered on the average only a few cents to the ton. Considerable gold is to be said to have been lost owing to its extremely fine subdivision and slime produced by a clay like saprolite substance. The Blackankle Mine operated intermittenly until a few years ago.

Blackankle Fort

The Blackankle Fort, originated and built by Lester Singleton, was once known throughout the state of North Carolina as a conglomerate of the unusual. The Fort was built as a museum and a "funhouse" for people and their families to visit. The special events at Halloween, including a haunted hayride and haunted house, attracted people from all over North Carolina. In the spring many "pickers" (mostly bluegrass string musicians) would spend Friday and Saturday nights at the Blackankle Fort honing their skills and sounds.

Blackankle Today

The Community of Blackankle is a very close knit area, with many of its residents belonging to the same families. Family and friends of the Blackankle area enjoys numerous social events during the year, in which a large number will gather. The Big Oak Church of God is the closest place to worship, and a large congregation attends on most services.

Blackankle Bog Preserve

The Blackankle Bog Preserve is one of the few remaining Piedmont bogs. The bog is 284 total acres and is owned by the Nature Conservancy. The tract of land was purchased in 1991 from the Dassow Property Corporation. Over the next 20 - 25 years, The North Carolina Chapter will continue to restore the preserve to its historic condition by setting prescribed burns and replanting longleaf pine tree seedlings grown from local seed sources. The North Carolina Zoo, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the NC Division of Forest Restoration are actively involved in supporting the Blackankle Bog Preserve and the Nature Conservancy in this restoration effort. A patch of climbing fern, a large stand of sweetleaf, and the rare large witch-alder grow on the preserve. Birds such as wild turkey, hairy and pileated woodpeckers, and broad-winged hawk, which are commonly found on large tracts of unbroken woodlands also inhabit the bog. Toward the streamheads, the vegetation shifts from plant communities that require dry conditions such as longleaf pines and chestnut oaks woodlands common to nearby Uwharrie Mountains, to the treeless areas of the bog community. Blackjack and post oaks, and dense huckleberry and blueberry shrubs surrounds mats and sphagnum moss and patches of habenaria orchids, milkworts, sedges, cinnamon ferns, and trumpet and purple pitcher plants. Downhill from the bog the habitat blends into a dense thicket dominated by alder, sweet bay, sweet pepper brush, Virginia sweet-spire and the endangered bog spicebrush grows in these areas. It contains scattered longleaf pines, reminders of the trees that were once prevalent in this area on the border between the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont.

Blackankle Raceway

The Blackankle Raceway is a small, TT-like track that is called the "Little Ascot of the East". The track, once owned by the legendary M.H. Shoaf, draws a consistent crowd of motorcrossers and ATV drivers from North Carolina and other southeastern states to its Saturday-night race calendar. The track is 1/4 mile long and is filled with numerous tabletop jumps (the longest being over 40 feet) and spectacular hairpin turns. The surface of the track is of packed clay.

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References

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