Bakers Landing

 

History of Bakers Landing and Greystone Village


(This history was provided by Julian Baker, Jr., of Raleigh.)

 

Before the first development of North Raleigh, all of the land in this area was used for farming, pasture land, and timber for hundreds of years, and until the 1980's it was many miles from the city limits of Raleigh.

In the early 1950's, my uncle, Ashby Lee Baker, purchased a piece of land of about 100 acres that was connected to Creedmoor Road by a narrow strip of property containing a driveway. The old entrance to that driveway is still visible on Creedmoor Road, just north of Sawmill Road. That piece of property contained a Y-shaped lake and a farmhouse in a grove of old oaks on the hill above the lake.

Once the land was purchased, my uncle then built a two-story boathouse at one end of the lake, with slots for two fishing boats on the ground floor and a single room upstairs. The single room had screens on three sides and a kitchenette on the fourth. This was in the days when air conditioning was not at all common in these parts.

A couple of years later my father, Julian Baker Sr., bought his first piece of land off of Lead Mine Road. The land along the creek which now feeds the lakes was densely wooded, and my father had trees bulldozed and a dam built to form what is now Baker Lake. He then had a cabin built, with a gravel road that opened onto Lead Mine where the Greystone Baptist church sits now. His cabin was for informal entertainment, swimming, and supper parties. I was at the university in Chapel Hill by this time, and soon added kegger parties with live bands to the mix.

Originally, my father's cabin had two rooms and a large screened-in porch, which it still has. Later, in the 1960's, a bedroom and full bath were added. In addition to the pier which still exists on Baker's Lake, there was a one-story boathouse with a dock for two boats. There were flood and spot lights on the boathouse, and at night the lake could be flooded with light. Sitting out on the lake was a large wooden float to better facilitate swimming. It floated on oil drums and later had to be removed when some folks shot bullet holes in the drums and it began to sink.

My father's good friend and real estate advisor, Peter Williams, lived a bit further out Lead Mine Road and kept my father informed as to when neighboring pieces of land came on the market. Eventually, my father accumulated about 450 acres (including the farm which he inherited from his brother during this time), and the Lead Mine and Creedmoor properties shared a common border at one place.

Our land followed Old Lead Mine Road out beyond Lead Mine school and ended at the drive to the home of Peter Williams' son, Mason, which abuts his father's property. Toward Raleigh, our property line started on Lead Mine just behind the Montessori school. The only missing piece was the large lot on Lead Mine just beside the church property and the small cemetery nearby. What is now Greystone Village was a large open field where younger friends of mine would meet for soccer games.

For some years, there was a sawmill located approximately where the cabin sits on Baker's Lake, though it had ceased operation long before we bought our first holding on Lead Mine. Thus the name "Sawmill" for the street which now connects Creedmoor and Lead Mine. The name "Lead Mine" comes from the many graphite mines underneath Greystone Village, particularly the area south of Sawmill Road that runs along Lead Mind Road . Graphite is a soft mineral used in "lead" pencils, which are not lead at all. When graphite was first discovered in England in the 16th century, it was mistaken for lead; hence its name.