Rockwall County Historical Foundation

Preserving the Past For the Future

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The Rock wall

EXPLORATION OF THE ROCK WALL (based on prior written reports)

1852

Discovery of the rock wall formation by Benjamin Boydstun, Terry Utley Wade and William Clay Stevenson.
 

1874

Geologist Richard Burleson examines the exposed sections of the wall and forms the opinion that they are "igneous occurrences."
 

1897

G.R. DeWeese and T.H. Meredith (both laymen) dig a shaft through a cross section of a large rock wall northeast of town (near present-day FM. 549 and Clem Road).
 

1901

Dr. Robert T. Hill, a Texas geologist, publishes an article about the rock wall and classifies them as clastic sand dykes.
 

1909

Sidney Paige publishes an article in Science Magazine entitled, "The 'Rock Wall' of Rockwall, Texas." He states, "The writer was able during the past winter to spend a few days investigating this supposed historic structure. It proves to be not a wall, but a number of disconnected sandstone dykes, strictly speaking, not surrounding the town, but trending in many directions."
 

1922

An article is published in the Dallas News that suggests a different "first discovery" of the rock wall. The author, W.S. Adair, stated that a Mr. Bourn, who farmed about 50 acres between the city and East Fork of the Trinity River, discovered the rock wall while he was digging a well.
 

1925

In February, archeologist Count Byron de Prorok examines exposed sections of the walls and concludes they are constructed by a prehistoric race.
Stuart McGregor's article appeared in the Dallas Morning News on February 22, 1925
 

1925

Dr. R.S. Hyer, former president and professor of physics at SMU, concludes the formation is natural.
 

1927 Both L.W. Stephenson and J.W. Fewkes (Smithsonian Institute) pronounce the structure nature.
 

1933

A map is prepared by Martin Kelsey and Harold Denton with the aid of J.S. Mason, Rockwall County Surveyor, of all the discovered outcroppings of the wall. At the time, there are eleven known outcroppings.
 

1936

Coinciding with the Texas Centennial, a section of the wall is excavated and opened for viewers for a small admittance fee. The attraction is owned by R. F. Canup. In the first few months, the attraction averaged seventy visitors per day.
 

1949

A layman, Mr. Sanders of Fort Worth, conducts an excavation on property near what is now FM. 549 and Cornelius Road. The rocks in this excavation average 12-14 inches thick.
 

1950

Dr. James L.. Glenn publishes his essay, "Photographic Essay on The System of Rock Walls at Rockwall, Texas." Among his observations, Glenn states, "The fact that there is a natural fault here does not preclude the construction of other walls by a prehistoric race within the same region.".
 

1959

Dr. John T. Lonsdale denounces Dr. Hill's earlier claim by asserting that the Balcones Fault has not been traced with any significance beyond the Hill Country and that no known fault system runs through Rockwall County.
 

1970s

Bob H. Slaughter, director of vertebrate paleontology at SMU, concludes the serpent's head is the very tip of the upper snout of a Tylosaurus prolinger, a very large swimming reptile found in the area.
 

1976

The rock wall is excavated under the direction of the county on land located near present-day FM. 549 and Cornelius Road. The excavation is open to the public and hundreds of school children visit the wall.
 

1979

Dr. Kenneth Schaar of the University of Texas at Arlington and his students expose two walls for study. Schaar concluded that both of the sections he examined were natural formations, but does not rule out the possibility that another portion could be manmade.
 

1988

Geologist Brooks Ellwood concludes, "The wall is a natural formation. I base this on having studied and seen the wall at three locations. Man did not build it."
 

1996

Architect John Lindsey conducts a study of the rock wall. After examining excavations, he concludes "After compiling past records, data and documents including recent studies and research, evidence of a prehistoric structure built by man is mounting."

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