In our previous post, we began with the hidden headwaters of Pigeon House under Cameron Village, and followed it through the the Park Avenue neighborhood and down West Johnson Street to Peace Street, with a reach-out to Capital at Wake Forest, where the heron above (remember all pictures should click to enlarge) found a rocky spot of wilderness. This post backs up to Devereux Meadows and follows Pigeon House Branch down to its intersection with Crabtree Creek. An unhappy course, for the most part. The city is trying to rehabilitate it, one tributary at a time. Below is the map of their plan.
Pigeon House Branch drains the northwestern quadrant of downtown, gathering water east of the Oberlin Road ridge, bringing it through a series of open stone culverts through the Park Drive neighborhood. At St. Mary’s Street it enters the Glenwood South business district and is piped under the roads and railroads tracks and down to Devereux Meadows. The dark blue line is where they want to uncover the creek, and the brown area is where the city wants to create a “Riverwalk” at Devereux Meadows. Below we see the creek as it begins its path through this area.
Pigeon House Branch is under there somewhere! The creek escapes out a large pipe and continues down between West Street and Capital Boulevard. About here is where the 42 inch pipe pictured below delivers all the water collected from Fletcher Park and its $700,000 water park!
Pigeon House crosses back and forth across Capital Boulevard, traveling through wide manmade ditches covered with kudzu. The water passes over the heron’s rock outcrop and turns northeast. It dives under Capital yet again and emerges at Watkin’s Grill, a venerable blue-collar breakfast joint at Old Louisburg Road and Atlantic Ave. Traveling between the north and southbound lanes of Capital, it accepts the water from off the Blount St. ridge (Mordecai to Oakwood), and makes its way through successive parking lots, including Johnny’s Motel, Dunkin’ Donuts, The Foxy Lady and the bowling alley for over a mile, before turning east at Crabtree Boulevard. Here Pigeon House lends its seepage to a small marsh between it and Crabtree Creek. It feeds into Crabtree at Raleigh Boulevard, its mouth visible from its bridge over Crabtree as well as the nearby greenway deck.
Pigeon House is decidedly urban and yet makes its way through former waste lowlands turned into thoroughfares, so its riparian buffer is actually less stressed for space than many other creeks in Raleigh. Thus the heron, thus the opportunity for a high-end greenway at the site where I watched many a minor league baseball game. Much hope can be found for success with the city’s project to rehabilitate Pigeon House Branch.
This is a thorough sequence from Devereux Meadows to Crabtree Creek.