About Davidson's Fort
In the Beginning:
By the mid 1700's, European settlers had come into the Catawba Valley. In 1763, the British made a treaty with the Cherokee Nation agreeing that Europeans would not settle west of the Blue Ridge Mountains; nonetheless, in the early to mid-1770's several settler families -- among them the brothers John, Samuel, William and George Davidson -- took up land in what is now McDowell County, including the present site of Old Fort. The summer of 1776 saw an increase in Cherokee violence against settlers, and, as a result, a small fort was constructed on land acquired by the Davidsons at the headwaters of the Catawba River. Built by North Carolina militia soldiers, it was called Davidson’s Fort and was continually garrisoned by militia troops for the protection of North Carolina’s far-western settlements. Davidson’s Fort was the final departure point for some 2700 militia troops led by General Griffith Rutherford as they began a campaign into Cherokee territory in the fall of 1776.
Walk in the footsteps of our colonial ancestors. It is 1776 and for the next 20 years, you stand at the westernmost outpost of present day North Carolina, and just over the hill, the Cherokee have sided with the British. You live close to the fort built by the North Carolina Militia because the Cherokee stage raids on you and your neighbors. Stand and watch 2,700 militiamen led by General Griffith Rutherford bivouac around Davidson’s Fort before they set out and march up the valley along the Catawba River and the Catawba Falls to attack the Cherokee Nation.
The Growing Years:
Tourism is one of the state's largest industries, generating more than $15.4 billion per year. Travel and tourism is the business to be in. This vast industry is on a fast growth track that impacts every industry segment. For Americans, this means more and better travel products. For American communities, this means increased jobs and revenue. What are the benefits of cultural heritage tourism? Studies have consistently shown that cultural heritage travelers stay longer and spend more money than other kinds of travelers. Good cultural heritage tourism improves the quality of life for residents as well as serving visitors. The members and volunteers of Davidson's Fort Historic Park pledge to accomplish their goals and objectives and state as a group;
Where we're going:
We will preserve, conserve, protect and interpret the rich history, natural beauty, ecological features and recreational resources of western North Carolina for local residents, tourists and school-aged children particularly, the impact of the Fort during and after the American Revolution.
We will provide an educational venue interpreting the lifestyle and events of early settlers and Native Americans during the early pioneer era and the Revolutionary War era in and around the former Davidson's Fort and western North Carolina.
We will offer a site that visitors can experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.
We will aid the Superintendent of the McDowell School Board with a hands-on teaching tool for young people.
We will provide outdoor recreational opportunities in a safe and healthy environment, Senator Joe Sam Queen is working towards achieving the inclusion of Davidsonï¿½s Fort in a proposed national trail, Rutherford Trace. Rutherford Trace starts at Davidson's Fort which his men originally built in 1776 and travels throughout western North Carolina.
We will provide environmental education opportunities that promote stewardship of cultural and heritage tourism in Old Fort and McDowell County.
We will support community and economic development efforts with a main focus on the cultural and heritage tourism in Old Fort and McDowell County
Click here to view our NC Charitable Solicitation
Click here to view our NC Charitable Solicitation License
Mark Hall, founding member of Davidson's Fort Historic Park, Inc.
Joe Hall, original member of Davidson's Fort Historic Park, Inc
Lissa Silver, original member of Davidson's Fort Historic Park, Inc.
Richard Acrivos, original member of Davidson's Fort Historic Park, Inc. A 20 year Army veteran served in command Intelligence Centers as an alalyst and briefer to commanding Generals. Currently owns a campground in Old Fort, serves on the Chamber of Commerce and helps local non profits.
Robbie Gilbert, current president of Davidson's Fort Historic Park.