Kings Mountain National Military Park is the only National Park in York County. The site represents the Battle of Kings Mountain, fought on October 7, 1780. The National Park is a great site for a family day trip or easy adventure for those who are curious about our Nation’s history.
Here’s 10 things to know about Kings Mountain National Military Park:
1.It’s free to get in:
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm for all visitors. Unlike some National Parks, Kings Mountain is free. You can access the museum and the battlefield path.
Camping is only allowed at the Garner Creek Backcountry site, which is a three-mile hike to get to the location. You must obtain a permit to camp first. Here’s the information. You can also camp and explore next door at Kings Mountain State Park!
3.Battle of Kings Mountain:
The Battle of Kings Mountain is an extremely important battle that took place on October 7, 1780. This marked the first major American victory following the British invasion in Charleston that took place 6 months earlier. This pivotal battle destroyed a significant section of Lord Cornwallis’ army and half the British’s advance into North Carolina.
4. Connection to Historic Brattonsville:
While the Battle of Kings Mountain was a turning point in the American Revolution, the battle of Huck’s Defeat, just a few months earlier at the Bratton family plantation, now known as Historic Brattonsville, gave the Patriots the shot in the arm they needed to go on to Kings Mountain and gain another victory. Learn more about that battle, here.
The 1.5 mile paved path to the Kings Mountain Monument is an easy, leisurely walk for any age. The paved path makes it easy for strollers or small children. The path takes you along the battlefield. You’ll pass several markers for important figures from the battle. There’s also three other more strenuous hikes, click here for the details on those.
6. Patrick Ferguson’s Grave:
Along the paved path you’ll come across a marker for Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson was a Scottish officer in the British Army that was known for harsh treatment of Patriots in the Carolinas. Ferguson was killed at the Battle of Kings Mountain. This ornate headstone along the path usually has a large amount of stones surrounding it at all times. While the stones can mean a sign of respect, it also became a sting on his grave by Americans.
7. Annual Battle Reenactment:
Every October 7th, the Park honors those who fought at Kings Mountain by holding a morning wreath laying ceremony at the US Monument and a program in the amphitheater at 3:00, the time the battle began. Throughout the year, the Kings Mountain Backcountry Militia, along with other revolutionary war demonstration groups, hold special events show casing militia service, weapons, equipment, life skills such as leatherworking, blacksmithing and woodworking as it would have been in the 1700’s.
The museum and bookstore is one of the best parts of this National Park. There’s a 26 minute film and interactive museum exhibits. Walk through the massive trees that used to fill this area, follow the battle over a light-up map that shows how the Patriots won, and check out incredible artifacts from the battle itself. This museum is perfect for children of any age.
9. The Monument:
At the end of the paved path you’ll find a U.S. Monument that towers over the battlefield. The monument is 83 feet high and is made of white granite from Mount Airy. On each side of the monument you’ll find plaques that tell the significance of the battle, a list of the American and British commanders and a list of the Americans killed in battle. The monument was erected in 1909 by the York County DAR.
10. President Herbert Hoover’s Visit:
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover visited the battlefield a year before it became a National Park for the 150th anniversary of the battle. It’s said that there were around 75,000 people there. Here is a portion of that speech.
“This is a place of inspiring memories. Here less than a thousand men, inspired by the urge of freedom, defeated a superior force intrenched in this strategic position. This small band of Patriots turned back a dangerous invasion well designed to separate and dismember the united Colonies. It was a little army and a little battle, but it was of mighty portent. History has done scant justice to its significance, which rightly should place it beside Lexington, Bunker Hill, Trenton and Yorktown.”
— President Herbert Hoover’s opening remarks at the 150th celebration of the Battle of Kings Mountain, October 7, 1930.