Lewisville Historical Society presents future Shallow Ford site plans

Published 12:05 am Thursday, June 29, 2023

LEWISVILLE — The public is invited to attend the Lewisville Historical Society membership meeting to enjoy a presentation of the story of the history and the establishment of the new Shallow Ford State Historic Site.

The site is not open yet but will be available for public use soon, offering interpretive markers, walking trails, picnicking and more for the public.

Never heard of the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin River?

The Shallow Ford, an important crossing place in the Yadkin River, allowed buffalo, Native Americans, frontiersmen and settlers to cross the Yadkin River safely. Its hard rock bottom spans 100 feet wide and 300 feet from bank to bank. Used in the 18th and 19th centuries to the early 20th century, it allowed farmers with heavily laden wagons to bring their products from the backcountry to sell in Winston, Salem and beyond.

It was a link in the Great Wagon Road, the principal frontier migration route from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Augusta, Georgia. This road went right through Forsyth County and Lewisville. The Shallow Ford allowed movement from east to west and contributed to the settlement of the American West.

The history and significance, state site establishment process, and the plans for the site will be explained by a panel of speakers: Merrikay Brown, President of the Lewisville Historical Society; Andy Kelly of the Bethabara Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution; and Scott Douglas, Site Manager of Fort Dobbs and Shallow Ford.

There will be a slide show of views of the 245-acre site.

The property owner, Jean Messick, wished to preserve the site, as she understood the significance of the Shallow Ford in the River and the Great Wagon Road cut that runs across the property, which later became the Salem to Shallow Ford Road.

Messick appreciated its beautiful rolling hills and forests and thought it should be a place to enjoy for the community.

In 1992, when the Yadkin County and Lewisville Historical Societies began regular Shallow Ford Walk events that continue to the present time, the significance and need for preservation of the site connected with the community.

Then in 2018, with the leadership of the local Bethabara Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, the effort to preserve the Shallow Ford began. With the help, vision, and support of local citizens, historical groups, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, the Conservation Fund, and North Carolina legislators, the Shallow Ford State Historic Site was established, planned, and then dedicated on December 13, 2022.

The event will be held on July 10 at 6 p.m. at the Mary Alice Warren Community Center, which is located at 7632 Warren Park Drive in Lewisville.

Light refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. There will be a short business meeting and announcements at 6:15 p.n., and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m.

After the program, the following books will be on sale: The Shallow Ford: A National Historic Site by G. Galloway Reynolds; Historic Shallow Ford in Yadkin Valley: Crossroads Between East and West by Marcia D. Phillips; The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road in Forsyth County, N.C., 1750-1770 by R. Kyle Stimson.

The event is free and open to the public. The Lewisville Historical Society and the Lewisville Branch Library co-sponsored the program. For more information, call 336-766-5842.