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Establishment of the Park

Kings Mountain National Military Park was established by act of Congress on March 3, 1931. This was the climax of years of effort by individuals and patriotic organizations to win national recognition for the area.

grave marker
Marker at the grave of Maj. Patrick Ferguson. The mound of stones follows a Scottish custom of placing rock cairns over graves.

A series of dedicatory celebrations had previously focused public attention upon it. The first of these celebrations, in 1815, was primarily local in nature. It did, however, mark the date when the first memorial stone was placed on the battlefield. This was in memory of Major Chronicle and three other South Fork boys, who were buried in a common grave. It was also the forerunner of the more elaborate celebrations held in 1855, 1880, 1909, and 1930. Despite inadequate means of travel and few access roads, they were all well attended.

The centennial observance of 1880 is of particular interest. To insure a successful celebration, the Kings Mountain Centennial Association was formed in 1879, composed largely of men from the towns of Kings Mountain and York. These citizens sponsored the purchase of 40 acres of the battleground and the erection of an appropriate monument. Generous contributions were received from individuals and the State Legislatures of North and South Carolina, resulting in the acquisition of most of the battlefield ridge and the construction of the Centennial Monument.

Soon after the celebration, the Kings Mountain Centennial Association was disbanded. Ownership of the battleground was transferred to the Kings Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, with headquarters in York, S. C. These patriotic ladies used their influence to win the support of the Congress of the United States for the idea of establishing a national historical shrine at the battleground. They were encouraged also by increased public support for their project. When the Congress appropriated $30,000 on June 16, 1906, for the erection of a new monument, the reaching of their goal was not too far away. The monument was completed in time for the celebration of 1909 and was dedicated before dignitaries from Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. It is an 83-foot obelisk of white marble and stands as a symbol of the recognition by the Federal Government of the significance of the Battle of Kings Mountain.

The celebration of October 7, 1930, provided the final impetus to the movement for the establishment of a national military park at Kings Mountain. One year ahead of the celebration, President Hoover was invited to be the guest of honor. His address at the celebration was heard by an estimated 80,000 people and wide press coverage of the speech brought nationwide attention to Kings Mountain. His presence also gave the prestige of his office to the long-standing proposal that the area was deserving of greater national recognition.

Although Kings Mountain National Military Park was finally established 151 years after the battle it commemorates, the Federal Government did not at first own any of the land included in the park. In 1933, responsibility for the development of the site was transferred by Presidential executive order from the War Department to the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior.

On September 24, 1935, the Kings Mountain chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, located in York, S. C., donated the 40 acres of the battleground to which the chapter held title. This was the nucleus of the park, and additional lands acquired between 1936 and 1940 raised the total holdings within the area to the present 4,012 acres.


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Last Modified: Mon, Dec 2 2002 10:00:00 am PDT

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