DAVIDSON – From a Main Street that resembles a postcard of Old World Americana to surrounding farmland where horses graze on a sunny day, Davidson is visually appealing.
The Iredell County Board of Commissioners took the first steps to create a six-mile scenic byway that will pass from Davidson across the Iredell County line on Sept. 17.
Roy Alexander, executive director of the Davidson Lands Conservancy, came before the board to request that they support asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to admit a winding strip of land into the state’s Scenic Byway Program.
The state’s 54 scenic byways are meant to allow travelers a way to drive along appealing mountainous, rural and coastal routes that bypass commercial areas and major highways.
Alexander explained to commissioners that the DLC is a nonprofit land trust that works with willing landowners to save land in Davidson to preserve a healthy and natural environment for future generations.
“(The route) will tell the story of the scenic and vibrant town that was sparked by the creation of Davidson College way back in 1837,” Alexander said.
He added this will be the first scenic byway in either Mecklenburg or Iredell counties.
The route would begin on N.C. 115 at the Granville Grant historic marker and continue along North Main Street in Davidson and then on to Concord Road.
The Granville grant formed the northern half of the North Carolina colony prior to the American Revolution. It’s southern boundary was run to a point three miles east of the marker in the fall of 1746, according to the road sign.
Next, the path winds east to Grey Road. At this point, it turns south to Shearer Road and ends at the Fisher Farm Park entrance.
It will pass the town’s first cemetery as well as Davidson College’s original dormitory buildings, Oak and Elm Rows, which were constructed in the 1830s.
Responding to a question by Commissioner David Boone, Alexander said that placing a billboard along the route would cause the path to lose its special designation.
Alexander told The Herald Weekly he'd already received formal permission for the project from both the Davidson and Mecklenburg County commissioners. He should hear back from the state's board of transportation regarding the final verdict by spring 2014.
Davidson is already on the National Register of Historic Places, and Alexander believes the route will help celebrate the history, recreational potential and rural beauty of the area.