At Planet Rockwall, the second most common question we are asked is, “Where can we see the Rock Wall?” The structure that gives the city its name seems to be as elusive as it is mysterious. To this day, debate rages as to its origin, natural or man-made. But where is it?
The simple answer is that it’s right under your feet, assuming you happen to be standing atop the path it takes in a roughly 30 mile route around the county. In short, it’s all underground. If it hadn’t been discovered by accident by a couple of farmers digging a well over a century ago , we might never know to this day that it’s there. Rockwall might instead bear the name of one of its early settlers, Bourn, Boydstun or Wade, to name a few.
In the years since its discovery, parts of the wall have seen the light of day through the efforts of curious landowners, geologists, archeologists, and even a family who unearthed a section of it on their property to sell glimpses of it to the public for a quarter. In each case, however, the wall was re-buried.
No one has ever seen the entire wall, or at least what is thought to be the entire wall. Most of it is covered by development or land that the owners would like to develop some day, precluding any chance of its appearance on a permanent basis. In 2012, a bond issue was floated which would have allowed the City to purchase a parcel of land covering one section, unearth the wall and turn it into a public park. However, the voters turned down the bond issue, leaving our landmark to remain hidden for the foreseeable future. A group of local citizens is rumored to be working to resurrect this plan, so we’ll just have to stay tuned.
This is not great news for those who insist on viewing the wall in its natural state. But there are a couple of options for those who are not so picky. A few years ago the county obtained stones from a past excavation and had a small section re-created in front of the historic courthouse downtown. Unfortunately, the workmen assigned to the job were a bit haphazard in the way they fit the stones together, leaving gaps and even placing one stone in a vertical orientation (which never appears in the natural wall) just to fit it into place.
Another, more authentic, alternative will soon be available to view. A batch of stones from the latest dig last year was delivered to the Rockwall County Historical Foundation museum at Harry Myers Park. They were placed into the berm to the west of the carriage house behind the museum in the exact order and orientation they were found in the original wall.
So, original stones, original orientation, just not the original location. That’s the best we get for now.
That takes care of our second most common question. The first? “Where are the best fireworks in the area on July 4?” Hey, priorities are priorities.
Article by Bob Lewis ~ Photos courtesy of the Rockwall Historical Foundation, Jack Palmer Photography and Planet Rockwall