Boone Trail Highway (# 4), Winston-Salem
A memorial to pioneer and trail maker Daniel Boone stands at Summit Street in Winston-Salem. The monument is a large granite arrowhead; in the center of the arrowhead is a bronze tablet with a bas-relief image of Boone, seated with his gun and accompanied by his dog above a map of roads leading west and northwest from Winston-Salem. Below the map is an inscription in memory of Boone, a facsimile of Boone’s signature and the monument committee members.
The history of this marker began over 13 years prior to its dedication when J. Hampton Rich of Winston-Salem formed the Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association to promote improving the road and highway system in western North Carolina. A part of his campaign to drum up support was to place a series of commemorative highway markers featuring the likeness of Daniel Boone. The tablet mounted to the arrowhead in Winston-Salem was the first Rich ever had produced and is one of a kind. It is considered to be the “Mother Marker” for the hundreds of others that followed yet it was not placed and dedicated until 11 years after it was cast and 10 years after the first Boone Highway marker in North Carolina was dedicated at East Bend in Yadkin County. The East Bend tablet and all that followed were made of steel and only held the depiction of Boone and his dog. In place of the longer inscription wording was added that the metal was salvaged from the U.S.S. Maine.
The dedication date for this tablet was first announced for the fall of 1915 over a year before it was actually received from the foundry. Money appears to be the reason for the delay. It was even held at the train depot when it arrived until more funds were raised to pay the freight. The original site would have been at Grace Court a few blocks from the current location where a piece of granite said to be the largest one piece monument in North Carolina had been delivered in 1915 and awaited the tablet. The memorial was never completed and in August 1917 the city of Winston-Salem had the granite block broken up and removed. J. Hampton Rich retained the “Mother tablet” and used it to promote his plan to commemorate Daniel Boone which by 1917 had expanded far beyond the borders of North Carolina. It was finally given a home with its dedication in October 1927.
This Boone Highway marker was numbered 4 by Everett G. Marshall. His interest and research of the markers led to the book, Rich Man, Daniel Boone. The numbering system was simply the order in which he found or became aware of a marker.
Images: Daniel Boone with gun and dog | Map of the Boone Trail and inscription
BOONE TRAIL HIGHWAY / [Picture depiction of Daniel Boone with gun and dog to right] / DANIEL BOONE
IN MEMORY OF TRAIL MAKER / HUNTER AND PIONEER / DANIEL BOONE / WHO HUNTED, FISHED AND FOUGHT / IN THE STREAMS AND FORESTS OF / THIS AND ADJOINING COUNTIES DURING / THE MIDDLE OF THE 18TH CENTURY
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY / THE BOONE TRAIL HIGHWAY ASSOCIATION / COMMITTEE / R. H. HANES / C. T. MICKEY / W. A. BLAIR / T. B. PINDER / O. B. EATON / J. H. RICH / R. S. GALLOWAY
Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association
October 29, 1927
36.101250 , -80.261020 View in Geobrowse
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Marshall, Everett G. Rich Man: Daniel Boone (Dugspur, VA: Sugar Tree Enterprises, 2003)
Rich, J. Hampton. “New Bridge Over Yadkin River Is Opened To Public,” Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), April 3, 1915
Rich, J. Hampton. “New Forsyth-Yadkin Bridge—A New Gateway of the City of Winston-Salem and the County of Forsyth,” Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), January 30, 1916
Stanford, Raney. “Shades of Dan’l Boone! Says J.H. Rich,” The Daily Tarheel (Chapel Hill, NC), February 8, 1948
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Granite arrowhead, bronze tablet
Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association
Preceding the monument dedication, the Boy Scouts held a field event in Hanes Park and took part in a variety of competitive activities, including first aid and fire building. Troop 11 from the Children's Home won the competition. When the monument was dedicated, two Wiley School students spoke on the life of Daniel Boone. A group of students carried flaming torches to illuminate the evening ceremony.
Cast at a foundry in Baltimore, Maryland.
J. Hampton Rich was a well-known figure in North Carolina’s “Good Roads Movement” during the early 20th Century when public pressure was used to force enhancements in the public highway system. Attaining minor celebrity status he eventually extended his vision beyond the borders of his home state. Using the legacy of Daniel Boone as a hook, he first began to cross North Carolina and then the United States drumming up support for commemorative highway markers. Between 1917 and 1938 Rich was one of the most prolific commemorators in the United States. He claimed responsibility for hundreds of markers, some in places that had no connection to Boone at all like Washington, D.C.; Boston, Massachusetts; Pike’s Peak, Colorado and at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Rich was born in 1874 on land where the family of Daniel Boone may have once lived. What is certain though is that Daniel Boone spent many of his 21 years in North Carolina living in the area near Mocksville in Davie County and surely Rich's lifelong passion for Boone was influenced by his immersion in local lore surrounding the famous frontiersman. Rich, who became a well-known newspaper man in Winston-Salem, also developed a passion for good highways in the state. Very likely taking a lead from a series of markers to Boone placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution beginning in 1912, Rich combined his two passions and came to the idea of capitalizing on the pioneer’s fame as a way to encourage the building of better roads.
In 1913, Rich established the Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association with the chief purpose to raise awareness of the need for better roads in North Carolina. Rich also wanted to educate the public about the history and heritage of the pioneer era and promote patriotism. Beginning with the first documented marker, placed at East Bend in Yadkin County in 1917, Rich claimed to have placed about 360 tablets across the United States by 1938. Of that number, (which came from Rich) less than 60 originals are still known to exist and it may be impossible to ever know how many were actually incorporated into a highway memorial. Although it is known that he sold some in the early years Riches method of operation was typically to give a tablet, sometimes multiple tablets, to a community with their promise to raise funds to erect the highway marker. In some cases it was years before a marker was ever constructed and it is almost certain that many markers were never completed. The number of markers with documented proof of being completed is less than 150. As more digitally preserved newspapers from the period become available this number will likely increase.
Each tablet with the image of Daniel Boone includes wording that it contains metal from the Battleship USS Maine sunk in Havana harbor in 1898 at the outset of the Spanish-American War. In 1916 with the help of then Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, Rich had acquired 300 pounds of metal salvaged from the ship. It is questionable that each plaque actually contained some of this metal. In a 1948 article from “The Daily Tar Heel” Rich is quoted as saying “the first tablets contained... metal from the battleship.” In addition to those featuring Daniel Boone, Rich also created tablets featuring “Cherokee Chief Sequoia” and a bison in an effort to mark ancient buffalo traces used by Native American and then Colonial settlers from the coast at Wilmington through the Great Smoky Mountains in the west. Very few of these were produced and few examples remain. Other efforts include tablets to Abraham Lincoln and possibly Davey Crockett. Regardless of the image on the tablet, these are lumped together under the heading of Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association markers. The best current resource is Rich Man: Daniel Boone by Gary Marshall. His research efforts and the book’s publication in 2003 generated interest in finding and protecting the remaining markers.
Rich lived in Chapel Hill in the years prior to his death in 1949 where he could be seen “striding down the village streets wearing his coon skin cap and maybe with his long rifle thrown over one arm.” He was also "apt any day to walk into one of the University’s history classes clad in his furry cap, and always on these occasions he is introduced to the students by the professors as Daniel Boone."
The marker is located at the intersection of Reynolda Road and West End Blvd, on the left when traveling south on Reynolda Road, in Winston-Salem, NC. It stands at the east end of Hanes Park.
The memorial marker is surrounded by evergreen bushes and large shady trees.
Daniel Boone’s birthday is periodically celebrated by the local Boy Scouts.