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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Boone Trail Highway Marker (#42), Sanford

  • Type

    Marker

  • Subjects

    Historic Civic Figures

    Geography

    Colonial History

    Early Republic

  • City

    Sanford

  • County

    Lee

  • Description

    This Boone Trail Highway marker has a tablet from 1927 with an image in relief of Alonzo Chapel’s 1861 illustration of Daniel Boone and his hunting dog and a modern bronze plaque attached to a lectern shaped brick and concrete display. The steel Style-3 Boone Highway tablet was primarily used between 1927 and 1938 and is distinguished by the BOONE TRAIL HIGHWAY caption being slightly curved. The modern bronze plaque gives the history of the Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association and the Sanford tablet. The Boone Trail tablet was originally displayed on a stone and masonry arrowhead typical of many Boone Trail markers. The original was still in place as late as 1997.

    This Boone Highway marker was numbered 42 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.

  • Inscription

    Boone Highway Plaque, top: BOONE TRAIL HIGHWAY

    Bottom: METAL FROM BATTLESHIP MAINE IN TABLET / DANIEL BOONE

    Modern Plaque: BETWEEN 1913 AND 1938 THE BOONE TRAIL HIGHWAY / AND MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION, MANAGED BY MR. J. / HAMPTON RICH, CREATED TABLETS WITH THE DEPICTION OF / DANIEL BOONE AND ERECTED THEM AS MONUMENTS / ALL ACROSS AMERICA. THE INITIAL OBJECTIVE WAS TO / BRING PUBLIC SENTIMENT TO BEAR ON NC LEGISLATORS TO / IMPROVE HIGHWAYS IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA. MR. / RICH CONCEIVED THE UNION OF 18TH CENTURY DANIEL / BOONE, AND HIS SUCCESS AS A TRAIL-BLAZER, TO THE / EARLY 20TH CENTURY NEED FOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS. / THE SANFORD NC MONUMENT IS FEATURED AS MARKER NO. / 42, OUT OF THE 135 KNOWN ORIGINAL SITES. IT WAS / PLACED NEAR THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF HAWKINS AVENUE / AND CHARLOTTE AVENUE IN 1927. IT WAS LATER MOVED TO / ITS PRESENT LOCATION ON THE GROUNDS OF THE RAILROAD / HOUSE MUSEUM.

    TODAY, THE MARKER STANDS AS A TRIBUTE TO THREE ERAS / OF OUR NATIONAL HISTORY: 18TH CENTURY PIONEER / SETTLEMENT & EXPANSION OF OUR EARLY NATION, WITHS ITS / RECOGNITION OF ONE OF ITS MOST DISTINGUISHED PIONEERS, / DANIEL BOONE; 19TH CENTURY “REMEMBER THE MAINE” / AND THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR BY INCORPORATING / METAL FROM THE BATTLESHIP MAINE IN EACH TABLET; AND / 20TH CENTURY “GOOD ROADS MOVEMENT” WHEN PUBLIC / PRESSURE WAS USED TO ENHANCE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS FOR / TOURISM WHICH WAS JUST BEGINNING TO BE AN ECONOMIC / ENGINE FOR THE STATE.

  • Dedication Date

    1927

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.481520 , -79.177700 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "J. Hampton Rich," from the "Images of North Carolina" digital collection, Davie County Public Library, (accessed January 21, 2014) Link

      Jones, H.G. “Rich, Joseph Hampton,” NCPedia.org, (accessed March 22, 1917) Link

      Jones, Randell. “Markers for Boone’s Trail Have Rich History,” Journal West (Winston-Salem, NC) November 26, 2013, (accessed March 13, 2017) Link

      Marshall, Everett G. Rich Man: Daniel Boone (Dugspur, VA: Sugar Tree Enterprises, 2003)

      Stanford, Raney. “Shades of Dan’l Boone! Says J.H. Rich,” The Daily Tarheel (Chapel Hill, NC), February 8, 1948

      “Boone Trail Marker #42 - Sanford, NC,” Waymarking.com, (accessed March 16, 2017) Link

      “Daniel Boone, Sculpture,” Smithsonian Art Inventory, (accessed March 28, 2017) Link

      “The Boone Tablet,” Winston Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), May 17, 1916

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Steel, bronze, brick masonry

  • Sponsors

    Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association

  • Subject Notes

    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 Riches’ 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.”

  • Location

    The memorial marker is located in front of the Railroad House Historical Association Museum, on Charlotte Avenue, near intersection with Hawkins Avenue, in Sanford, NC

  • Landscape

    The marker stands near a walkway along Charlotte Ave, flanked by two benches.

  • Former Locations

    The first location was near Hawkins Avenue and Carthage Street, in Sanford, NC. In 1957 it was dismantled to make way for parking lot and moved to the Railroad House Historical Association Museum Grounds on Charlotte Avenue, near intersection with Hawkins Avenue.

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