Nation Ford Historical Marker


January 14, 2013

Media contact: Mary Lynn Norton



For more information contact CHM Historian, Michael Scoggins, directly at 803.909.6768

Nation Ford Historical Marker located on Celriver Road Re-Installed

Rock Hill, SC  – In 1960, the York County Historical Commission and Southern Railway erected a large, detailed historical marker at the intersection of Celriver Road and Red River Road, adjacent to the Southern railroad line that crosses the Catawba River. This marker designated the location of the historic Nation Ford and the Nation Ford Road, both of which were named for the Catawba Indian Nation. Nation Ford was an important crossing on the Catawba River, and both the ford and the road were used from prehistoric times into the late 19th century. In 1852, the Charlotte & South Carolina Railroad erected the first of several railroad trestles at the Nation Ford crossing, and the ford fell into disuse as ferries, railroads and county road bridges transported traffic across the river. The original wooden railroad trestle was burned by General George Stoneman’s Union cavalry in April 1865, and the steel trestle that replaced it was destroyed by the Great Flood of July 1916. The present railroad trestle is the third one at that location.

The Nation Ford historical marker is not a traditional South Carolina state historical marker. It is much larger and heavier than the standard state markers, so much so that it requires two support posts instead of one. In addition to text describing the history of the Nation Ford, the marker includes a detailed map showing the historic roads, homes, ferries, and other points of interest in the Nation Ford community. Included on the map are the locations of two nearby textile mills that have since been demolished—Randolph Yarns (formerly Carhartt Mill No. 2 or “Red River Mill”) and the Celanese Corporation’s Celriver plant.  About ten years ago, CHM staff members removed the marker from its original site and brought it to the McCelvey Center in York for repairs. By that time, the marker was in bad shape; the paint on the marker was faded and peeling, and the original concrete-and-aluminum support posts were falling apart. CHM repainted the marker, and Freeman’s Machine and Fabrication in Clover manufactured two new steel support posts for it. With able assistance from York County Engineering and the City of Rock Hill maintenance staff, CHM has re-erected the marker at its original location on Celriver Road and the Norfolk-Southern railroad intersection, where it once again commemorates the important role played by the Nation Ford and the Nation Ford Road in the history of York County and the Carolina Piedmont.