Doing a little spring cleaning on the computer, I ran into a screenshot of this old map of Merry Oaks and nearby Plaza Midwood, from about 1950 or 1955.
The map gives some clues to topography and the effects of urban development in the years since it was made.
It also confirms some neighborhood tales. See the oval just below Cosby Street in Merry Oaks? That's a lake, now Birchcroft Apartments, named Lake Jared or Lake David, perhaps.
Smaller ponds dot areas in Plaza Midwood, uphill from Briar Creek to the left. Peppercorn Lane, paralleling a water branch that flows into Briar Creek, was not that long in recent years, and trees filled the area around the branch until infill development came to Plaza Midwood about 10 to 15 years ago.
Older maps are available too: A 1930s map showed empty spaces where Merry Oaks would grow, after World War II. I wish I could link directly to the site where I found this; but my only clue is a partial address in the original screenshot: http://gisarcims.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/historicasp/historicmaps/Charlotte_Offi
...the rest of the address is cut off.
But it's likely the site was linked through Mecklenburg's Polaris system, or a Mecklenburg County website. If you find it, please share.