Prior to the arrival of European settlers, much of the land in the area was natural grassland grazed by herds of buffalo and elk. The peaks marked the boundary between the hunting lands of the Catawba and Cherokee Indians, and major trading routes crossed Crowders Mountain. By 1775 approximately 80,000 settlers had migrated to the area from colonies to the north. A treaty in 1777 allowed white settlers as far west as the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Catawba retreated peacefully southward. Conflicts between the settlers and the Cherokee persisted until after the Revolutionary War.
As part of the Piedmont, the post-Revolution history is both varied and somewhat unique. Famed botanist André Michaux passed through the region discovering and naming the Big leaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) and many other species that still bear the Latin names he provided. During the latter part of the 1800’s into the 1900’s, Crowders Mountain was the back drop for a mineral spring resort, a seminary, an all women’s college, and an African-American college. The Pinnacle was used as a backstop for Camp Chronicle, a United States artillery range during the last few weeks of World War I. From that time period until recently, the majority of the land within and around the park was primarily used for agricultural products like cotton, tobacco, corn, and soybeans as well as livestock.
Perhaps closer to the heart are stories of the families that once farmed this land. While they were paid for the land that founded Crowders Mountain State Park, all were not eager to sell land their families had owned and tended to since the 1800's. Brevard, Brooks, Ormand and Short are among the family names with heritage tied to the land we all appreciate and protect today.
The Brevard family once owned the land that now contains the park campgrounds. Jacob and Rebecca Brevard were born as slaves but worked hard to become some of the early African-American/Cherokee Indian landowners in Gaston County. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Brevard owned 24 3/4 acres of farmland where they raised 14 children.
The geology of the park is also part of the human history because the land was a source of metals like iron and gold. Minerals such as kyanite, talc, white mica phyllite, and barite were also mined from a few locations within the park boundary. These mines were both open-pit and strip mines, but evidence of these mining operations can only be found far within the park. The remains of another monadnock just south of the park in South Carolina, Henry’s Knob, stands in mute testament to what a large scale mining operation might have done to either Crowders Mountain or The Pinnacle. Ironically, interest in the mineral rights for both of the park’s summits is what initiated the creation of Crowders Mountain State Park.
A Park Established: When exploratory drilling and excavation began in 1970, the threat that Crowders Mountain would be mined led local citizens to seek its preservation. The Gaston Conservation Society was organized in order to block mining operations and encourage the state to acquire and protect the mountain. Based upon the group’s proposal and local support, the state approved Crowders Mountain as a potential state park. A year later funds were appropriated for land acquisition. The park was created in 1973 but did not open to the public until 1974. It was not until 1978 that the summit of Crowders Mountain was included within the park boundary. The Pinnacle and additional acreage were acquired in 1988. In 2000, an additional 2,000 acres was purchased connecting the park to Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina.
Crowders Mountain State Park
November: 7am - 7pm
December-February: 7am - 6pm
March-April, October: 7am - 8pm
May-September: 7am - 9pm
Day use areas (Linwood Road Access and Boulders Access) and all trails close at the closing time posted at all entrance gates.
8am - 5pm daily