(Information provided by four long time Butternut Road Homeowners)
(Rosan, Marylu Dow & David)

(Message posted by Rosan – Dated May 30, 2018)

In the Beginning:
Bobby Roberts and his brother were the original developers of Five Oaks—the plan was to have townhouses/condo, smaller garden or patio homes, and larger single family homes all in the Five Oaks development.  In 1974, the 4100 townhomes were constructed and furnished models helped potential buyers decide which townhouse they were interested in buying.  The first single family houses on Butternut Road were shells under construction and unfinished until Rosan bought her house in Fall of 1974 and she moved into the house in early 1975.  The developers had their architect design four houses and after building one would reverse the plan so that the four designs appeared to be eight different houses—the designs are quintessential 1970s architecture.

Long Time Residents:
Only two of the original owners of houses still live on Butternut Road—Mary Jane and Rosan.  Many long-time residents still reside on Butternut—parents of young children when they bought their homes and now they are grandparents.  In 1975 the pine trees in Rosan’s front yard only came to the roof line – now they are huge!

Security Guard Booth:
With all the construction going on in 1974, the developers installed a security guard booth and gate at the entrance to the development to prevent construction equipment and materials from being stolen and which were removed once the Roberts Brothers were gone.

In 1974:
The 11 miles of I-40 (from 15-501 to joining I-40 going to Raleigh) had not been built and land was vacant between East Gate Shopping Center and the Five Oaks development.  Utility lines were buried and all homes were electric until gas lines were installed several years later.  Water was furnished by the City of Durham and residents were billed at the outside-city rates.  Residents had private garbage pick-up twice a week but there was no recycling or yard waste pick-up.  The original developers turned Five Oaks Drive, Butternut Road and Pine Cone over to the State and thus the homeowners have never been responsible for repairs or repaving of these streets.  For some reason the streets for the town houses were not turned over to the State of North Carolina and therefore the homeowners (HOA) are responsible for the repairing and maintenance of their streets.  A tertiary sewage treatment plant was built into the development and the treated sewage discharged into the holding pond (a.k.a. “lake”).  Once the City annexed Five Oaks the sewage treatment plant was abandoned but the building is still present at the back of the property.

Recreational Assn:
Townhouse and condo owners are required to join the Five Oaks Recreational Assn. and once the developers were gone, the Board of Directors of each HOA became responsible for decision-making, assessments for repairs, etc.  A swimming pool with lifeguards and tennis courts with a tennis pro on site were early amenities for the Members, and although initially for only the residents of the Five Oaks development and their guests, membership was later opened to others outside the Five Oaks community, including the Butternut Road homeowners.

Moving of Clubhouse:
The Clubhouse had to be moved when the 11 miles of I-40 connecting 15-501 to the I-40 corridor to Raleigh was under construction due to requirement for a noise buffer between residential areas and an Interstate highway.    The original location of the Clubhouse did not allow for sufficient noise abatement from I-40 traffic and was moved a short distance.

For the first decade, the Five Oaks development was unincorporated within Durham County.  The Durham County Sheriff’s Office provided police protection with the Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department providing fire service and a volunteer E.M.T. service.  Duke Power (a.k.a. Duke Energy) installed and maintained the street lights.  Both Chapel Hill and the City of Durham sought to annex Five Oaks for the revenue.  Residents addressed the City Council asserting that they did not want nor need to be annexed into either Chapel Hill or Durham City since they had all of the services they needed and it would mean doubling property taxes for the Five Oaks residents.  Unfortunately, the N.C. General Assembly passed a statute that enabled municipalities to annex areas without the consent of affected residents.  Five Oaks was annexed into the City of Durham and went on City Water and Sewage treatment, fire, E.M.T. and police protection as well as the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, and solid waste pick-up changed to weekly.

Five Oaks Lake
(app 10 acre)

The Five Oaks “Lake”
(a.k.a. tertiary sewage treatment holding pond):
The lake has been periodically stocked with fish and people did fish in the small “lake”.  It has had to be drained on several occasions due to beavers building dams and causing problems.   Muskrats may also have been burrowing into the soil under the lake; at least one beaver has been spotted in the lake lately.   The pond has to be drained slowly, the debris from the aquatic rodents removed and then the pond allowed to refill from rain water.  Geese are attracted to the lake and no longer migrate becoming year round pond residents.  Loss of habitat in Durham county for wild life has resulted in a herd of small white-tailed deer in the development and we also have a mated pair of Red Shouldered hawks year round.

Speed bumps:
The design of the original speed bumps on Clubhouse Drive were the raised Five Oaks logo in concrete that spanned across the street but they had to be removed due to constant complaints regarding tire and front-end alignment damage caused by these creative speed bumps.



Note f/Ellen:  Our thanks to the four long time Butternut Rd residents for their help in preserving the history of our lovely Community.
Note f/Ellen:  It is no longer necessary to stock the Lake with fish, and fishing is enjoyed, but on the Clubhouse side only.

Do you have any information about our history/tidbits or old photos about our Community?  Also if you should see anything amiss (misspellings) on the website; have something to contribute, and/or any suggestions, on this page or any Blog within the site, please feel free to leave a Comment here (scroll way down below). 


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