In Memory of Ellen Gilmartin – March 2020

Ellen moved to Five Oaks from Woodcroft in 2002.  The new Manager, Josh was hired by Five Oaks about the same time, and she walked over to the Clubhouse to welcome him, and ask if she could help in any way in the office ~~ stuff envelopes or anything!  *Anything* proved to be quite a lot of *everything*. She volunteered full-time for four (4) years, and then put on the payroll.  Ellen had retired from a busy pleasant New Jersey law firm after thirty (30) years, and applied her amazing talents to her work at Five Oaks.

Ellen Gilmartin

There was nothing going on at the Clubhouse in the way of social activity.  But it didn’t take too long to have a bustling Clubhouse with Bunco, Bingo, Poker, Knitting Classes, Waltz Classes, Tricky Tray, Gold Nights, Pot Lucks, Garage Sales, a List Serve, Dog Park,  Breakfast on Beechnut, Pizza Parties & Holiday Parties ~~ even published a Five Oaks cookbook for the benefit of our Swim Team.

Our Community is a delightful one.  Ellen has been blessed with good neighbors, as well as a Townhouse on the Lake.   She enjoyed the wildlife that visits our lake, and had fun reporting about them through the many years on the Listserve that she created before the days of Nextdoor.


She was asked to say something interesting about herself for this website and stated:

I was a ballroom dancer for thirty (30 years); maintained a dance telephone service called *Dial A Dance* (where to go dancing), and published a dance newspaper called *Footprints*.  Through the years I have been asked which dance was my favorite ~~ Quickstep, with the Waltz a close second.  I was obsessed!

We will always cherish the years of service that Ellen gave to her community.  Her spirit lives on in all of the successful events, programs and processes that she created.

Mark Morrison Donates Drone Photography!

Mark Morrison Donates Drone Photography!

Mark Morrison, grandson of longtime resident and our (Mark Morrison Donates Drone Photography!), Ellen Gilmartin, volunteered his expertise yesterday to get us some amazing drone shots of our Five Oaks property! See the photos below. Thank you so much, Mark!

Mark Morrison














Spring Cleanup at Five Oaks

Spring Cleanup at Five Oaks
(Stay tuned for our next Cleanup)

We have a large dumpster on-site at the clubhouse for members to use for discarding household refuse this week and through the weekend (or until it is full). It is exclusively for use by Five Oaks members only.

Please do not discard the following items into this dumpster: yard waste, construction debris, chemicals, cleaning products, television, electronics or flammables.

If it’s not trash, don’t toss it! Donate it!

BUT stay tuned! He’ll be back!

(Posted 5/9/2018)  Sorry everyone, our dumpster done did his duty,  He left Five Oaks with a full belly.

Five Oaks History

Five Oaks History a/k/a Tidbits – updated May 31, 2018
(a work in progress)
Five Oaks Lake
(approximately 10 acre lake)

Did you know that the Five Oaks Dam runs off into New Hope Creek- and New Hope Creek runs from Orange County into Jordan Lake? Did you know that Clark Lake, on the west side of the current Pope Road, across Route 40, is in its original position and is the main source of Five Oaks Lake water?  Interesting, eh?  It is believed that our Lake is a ten (10) acre lake and if you should take a walk around the entire lake, we have had several guesses that you would have walked a quarter of a mile. If anyone has walked around and knows the exact distance, please share that information with us by way of a Comment (scroll way down).  We know the Lake is man-made, and sometime after 1987, it was drained ~ but when and why?  Would you happen to know?  Do you have any old photos?  Again, please share this information by way of a Comment.


Did you know that the Title to the Five Oaks property was granted and transferred to a developer known as Devonshire in 1975?  The Clubhouse followed soon after in 1976, and was built right smack in the middle of the now Rt 40 (built in 1976 and moved in 1984).  It is my understanding the developer Devonshire was in business until 1978.  Devonshire built our Communities of 4100, Butternut Road (the roads and curbs) and some of the current housing, and Pine Cone Drive to Farrington on the west, and to that point which is now the beginning of Pin Oak Drive on the west. It is believed that seven (7) houses on the north side of Butternut Road and five (5) houses on the south side were built before Devonshire declared bankruptcy. The entire south side of Pine Cone Drive was swampy, entirely uncleared of original vegetation, and with a small pond existing somewhere near the current dam area.

Although this is debatable, some of the long time Residents mentioned that Five Oaks was once a *gated* community? How about it? Can you contribute a *Did you know*?  We now know ~~ read on!

Dated: Mar 25, 2017) Posted by Marylu (long time Butternut Rd Resident):
(Gated Community:) Five Oaks was a gated community. A gate house was on the left side of Old Chapel Hill Road entrance with three guards sharing 8 hour shifts. At that time, Pine Cone was a gravel path. When Abe Greenberg went bankrupt and Chase owned the mortgages, the homeowners decided not to pay salaries and benefits for three personnel and the gate was removed. Pine Cone was paved and we had two access roads. The gate house remained for many years (without a door and AC/Heat).  School kids used it as a bus stop shelter until it was removed because it needed too many repairs. (Note b/Ellen): It has also been suggested that this building was originally installed to eliminate theft, while construction was going on. (Clubhouse Deck)  I am not sure what I know (or my mom who was one of the original folk); but to add to Mack’s story when the clubhouse was moved, all the decks were taken off to fit each half of building onto the truck,  and new ones built after it was in place. (Snack Bar & Very Strange): When I ran the Snack Bar at the Clubhouse, I was curious why there were light switches to nothing,  and copper plumbing to nothing ~ strange.  It was found that it was just easier to reconfigure with new plumbing and some electrics than to splice it all back together. (Theft): Oh, and one more thing: I always wondered why some of the kitchen appliances were situated in the places where they were bolted down ~ strange.   The Clubhouse originally was open 24/7, and someone just backed in a truck and STOLE everything.

Posted by Angela (long time Five Oaks Resident):
(Clubhouse Architect:)  Donald Stewart designed the Five Oaks clubhouse (built in 1976),  as well as other buildings in the area including the old Chapel Hill Library and UNC’s Carmichael Auditorium. Donald, along with his wife Brenda, witnessed the moving of the clubhouse. They were earlier residents of Five Oaks and moved back to Five Oaks upon retirement. Donald passed away in August 2012, but Brenda continues to live in Five Oaks.  MORE ON DONALD

Donald Stewart: 1926-2012 (Architect of our beautiful Clubhouse)
Packed, Jacked & On the Move (Jan 5, 1984)

Provided by Mack (long time Social Member)  (Packed, Jacked & On the Move):  The Clubhouse  was in the path of the final link of I-40 and there was also a question of noise buffers, so the Five Oaks Association had it moved about a quarter of a mile east. It was a huge undertaking. The two story structure was jacked off its foundation onto big beams, then trucks were hitched under the building.  It was pulled by two trucks, and it called for careful driving ~ inasmuch as they had to match speeds to keep the building stable. In speaking with a long time Five Oaks member,  I was told one of the trucks had a few problems in doing so – engines burning out. They started to move the Clubhouse on a Monday and arrived at its present location four days later, on Thursday, January 5, 1984.  Kudos to Brewington House Movers of Dunn, NC – for a job well done!

Five Oaks Logo

Five Oaks Logo:
Our Five Oaks name and logo was taken from five huge Oak Trees on Old Chapel Hill Road (cut down several years ago).

Four Communities:
We have four Communities within the Five Oaks Community (4100, Hickory Downs, Farrington, Lakeside; 4100 being the first homes built & the Pin Oak area the last (Pin Oak is the only Community with garages).   Each with their own Board, and, of course, the Recreational Association, which totals five Boards.  Unofficially, through the years, we have referred to the Pin Oak area as Lakeside 11, and Pine Cone, Beechnut, Pinyon as Lakeside 1.  OUR FOUR COMMUNITIES

A 1987 photo (Beechnut on the Lake)

Provided by Judy (long time Five Oaks Resident)
In 1987 one of the last homes  (Lakeside 1) on the Lake was near completion (original owner is still the occupant).  Now, of course, thirty-one years later you wouldn’t recognize it as the same house.  (see 1987 photo and 2018 photo).

Dated: May 28, 2018 (Butternut Rd, et al)
Our newcomers may not be aware, but Butternut Rd is split in two. The one section that intersects with Beechnut Ln are the Lakeside 1 townhouses; and the other section that intersects with Pine Cone Rd & Five Oaks Dr, are the independent homes. There are also a few independent homes on Pine Cone. The independent homes (although many have chosen to be Members) are not subject to the mandatory membership for the Recreational Assn.  (Lakeside Butternut townhouses do fall under that mandatory provision).


2018 photo of the same home!

Provided by Rosan (long time Butternut Rd Resident)
Rosan, was the very first resident on Butternut, moving into her home in 1975, with quite a few long time residents still living there. At that time, the 4100 section had already been built, and next came the Hickory Downs area. The land that Five Oaks was built upon was farm land, and you can actually still see the plowed furrows in several of the Butternut front yards under the pine needles. (Original Developer:) Bobby Richards was the original developer and he went bankrupt. He and his brother would have subcontractors do the work; then go bankrupt (not paying the subcontractors); change the name of his company, and do it all over again. There were rumors that he was sent to prison for fraud! (Private Rd:) Butternut was originally a private road, but the developer turned it over to the State. Therefore the Butternut Single family independent homes were no longer responsible for the repair and maintenance of the road. (Annexation of Five Oaks): Both Durham and Chapel Hill looking to annex Five Oaks. Residents addressed City Council and stopped the annexation. MEMORIES GOING BACK 44 YRS ~ TO READ ON!

Message from Andrew Bonner, 4100 resident (dated 6/6/2018)
Fascinating stuff! I was intrigued by the ballpark guesses on the area and circumference of the lake, and did a little measuring in Google Maps satellite view. Turns out a walk all the way around the lake (hugging the shoreline, which is not entirely possible or desirable as one cuts through swampy inlet and people’s backyards) is about 2,807 ft, or about half a mile. The area contained by that circumference is 360,911 sq ft, or about 8 acres.  A more reasonable walk, that starts out from the playground, goes to the dam, and cuts up to follow Beechnut Lane and Clubhouse Dr., bypassing the backyards and swamp, clocks in at 0.64 mi. A more reasonable walk, that starts out from the playground, goes to the dam, and cuts up to follow Beechnut Lane and Clubhouse Dr., bypassing the backyards and swamp, clocks in at 0.64 mi.

Dog Park:
The Elma Thompson Dog Park was the last wish of a lovely long time resident (Beechnut Ln), and became a reality through the generosity of friends and neighbors.  MORE ON OUR DOG PARK

Bulletin Board & Bamboo Trees:
Have you seen our new BB (nestled near our Bamboo trees?)  And what about those Bamboo trees?  I have been curious about them for years.

Corner of Clubhouse Dr and Pine Cone (Installed Spring of 2018) Thank you Josh!

Our Kids’ Playground:
Our kids’ playground  was installed in the Spring of 2018, and sits on the lawn overlooking the Lake.

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).  Compliments are also very much welcomed! 

Can’t guarantee anything, but sure will give it a shot.  





(posted by Ellen)