Tompkins Knob, subject of an article in the Aug. 23 issue, is where Wilkes, Ashe and Watauga counties corner, but Wilkes is a sprawling county and is part of seven other “tripoints.”
In addition to Tompkins Knob, Wilkes also corners with:
•Ashe and Alleghany counties, at an elevation of 3,300 feet at Mulberry Gap, about a mile west of where N.C. 18 North crosses the Blue Ridge escarpment (Eastern Continental Divide). From Mulberry Gap, the Wilkes-Ashe line goes due south for about a quarter of a mile before heading eastward and reaching the top of the Blue Ridge again at Sheets Gap. From the north, the Ashe-Alleghany line follows Darnell-Woodie Road (Moravian Camp Road) from N.C. 18 to Mulberry Gap after following N.C. 18 from a point near the Blue Ridge Parkway;
• Alleghany and Surry counties, on the edge of the Roaring Gap Golf Club at an elevation of about 3,000 feet, about a mile north of the northernmost point of U.S. 21 (peak of first big curve coming up the mountain) in Wilkes;
• Surry and Yadkin counties, at an elevation of nearly 900 feet on the Yadkin River just south of the end of South Street (off Elk Spur Street) in Elkin;
• Yadkin and Iredell counties, at an elevation of about 950 feet just over a quarter of a mile east of where Somers Road enters Iredell from Wilkes and becomes Warren Bridge Road, and almost 1.5 miles east of where Howards Bridge Road crosses the Yadkin-Iredell line;
• Iredell and Alexander counties, at an elevation of about 1,600 in the Brushy Mountains, a little over a mile north of Linney’s Mill on Linney’s Mill Road in Alexander. The Alexander-Iredell line is a little over a quarter mile east of Linney’s Mill on Linney’s Mill Road;
• Alexander and Caldwell counties, on the crest of 2,560-foot Hickory Knob in the Brushy Mountains, about two miles south of N.C. 18 South where it crosses Beaver Creek and the Wilkes-Caldwell line. Hickory Knob is the highest point in Alexander County;
• Caldwell and Watauga counties, on the crest of 2,579-foot White Rock Mountain in the Blue Ridge, about a quarter of a mile southwest of the intersection of Sampson Road and Deer Crossing Lane in Wilkes and .05 of a mile south of Rocky Top Road in Watauga. Wilkes reaches its westernmost point on White Rock Mountain, which is named for its rock outcrops.
When Caldwell was created from Burke and Wilkes counties in 1841, legislation called for the Caldwell-Wilkes line to follow the crest of the ridge dividing Elk and Buffalo creeks south to where Elk Creek enters the Yadkin River and then the ridge dividing Beaver and King’s creeks to the top of the Brushies.
North Carolina has about five quadripoints - where boundaries of four counties meet. They include the intersection of the Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford and Rockingham county lines.
Surry, Yadkin, Forsyth and Stokes counties miss connecting at the same point due to the Yadkin County line curving south as it follows the Yadkin River near East Bend less than a mile west of the juncture of the other three.
The corners of North Carolina (Ashe County), Virginia (Grayson County) and Tennessee (Johnson County) meet atop Pond Mountain, making this the highest point where three states meet east of the Mississippi River. The mountain is just shy of 5,000 feet tall.
A large rock with a U.S. Geodetic Survey monument (benchmark) embedded in 1933 marks where these three states meet on Pond Mountain. The benchmark is in the middle of four chiseled straight lines indicating the four compass points.
John Preston Arthur wrote in his “History of Western North Carolina” that the compass lines were chiseled in 1899 or 1900 by a Mr. Buchanan with the U.S. Coastal Survey.
Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter Jefferson, gave Pond Mountain its name in the 1700s after he surveyed the line for the border of North Carolina and Virginia.
A 2,900-acre tract on Pond Mountain is now a state game lands, overseen by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. This was accomplished through a partnership with the Blue Ridge Conservancy, which acquired the land to protect it. It features beautiful meadows with incredible views of the surrounding mountains.
Horseback riding, hiking, fishing, hunting and cross country skiing are among recreational activities allowed on Pond Mountain, which is about 30 minutes from West Jefferson.