NC - Statesville (US-21) - Fort Dobbs SHS

Fort Dobbs State Historical Site, 438 Fort Dobbs Rd, Statesville, NC 28625. Phone: 704-873-5882.

Site of a 1760 attack by hostile Indians against a small garrison fort. Fee free and open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Picnic tables, nature trail, and gift shop available.

A Nice Place To Rest A While

Riders traveling up or down US-21 on weekdays will find a quiet and relaxing stop at Fort Dobbs. The site is located about one mile west of US-21 and the turn is from a stoplight just a bit north of I-40/US-64.

The fort was constructed in 1756 to defend area settlers during the French and Indian Wars. The three story structure wasn't fancy, but it did prove up to the task when it was attacked by a small band Cherokee in 1760. The defenders managed to kill a dozen or more, losing only two of their own - one by scalping.

Visitors expecting to see akin to Colonial Williamsburg will be disappointed by Fort Dobbs. The original structures can only be seen as sketches and a small wooden model on display in the interpretive center. The field where the buildings were erected is barely a cleared acre or two with several depression visible where various foundations were located.

The interpretive center is very small, four or five people inside would make it feel crowded. Regardless of that fact, the State of North Carolina goes a long way in providing a good experience for visitors, because this is a living history site. The Ranger/Docents are clad in period costumes and are fully prepared to greet you in character.

Scott Douglas, pioneerOn the day I visited I was greeted by Scott Douglas, a long time state employee, wearing a typical outfit that would have been expected of any common pioneer of the mid 18th century. Douglas, a historical scholar, was able to take me back to a time when living in frontier settlements was a test of ones physical skill and character.

Aside from the opportunity to learn something of the French and Indian Wars, a stop at Fort Dobbs offers a place for a quiet picnic and a short walk in the woods. A shelter area can easily accommodate a dozen or two for lunch and has restrooms. The nature walk area loops just over a half mile and isn't very difficult, and you will likely see some small animals and unusual plants along the way.

The parking area is all gravel and slightly sloped. Riders pulling a trailer should have plenty of room to maneuver, even on relatively busy days. From the parking lot of Fort Dobbs you are less than five minutes away from food, fuel, and lodging at the intersection of US-21 and I-40.

Enjoy your visit!