By Mark Wineka
The National Register of Historic Places has kept the door slightly ajar that it could consider an expanded historic district related to Trading Ford.
But as of now, historians for the National Register say they don't have adequate information to determine if there are archeological resources connected to Nathanael Greene's crossing at Trading Ford during the Revolutionary War or the Battle at Camp Yadkin during the Civil War.
"It's clear-cut, but it's not clear-cut," historian Paul R. Lusignan said Thursday.
The Keeper of the National Register was asked to determine whether four resources or "properties" in an I-85 project area were eligible for individual listing on the National Register. If so, any future I-85 expansion would have to take safeguards to protect those resources.
The four historic elements in question were described as the Trading Path and Trading Ford, the Yadkin Ford and Ferry, Greene's crossing at Trading Ford and the Battle at Camp Yadkin.
Under three criteria, the four resources "have not been demonstrated to be eligible for individual listing," the National Register said in review comments issued Jan. 6 and received by the Post Thursday.
That decision was based "on the documentation provided and all comments and information received from interested parties," the review states.
Under a fourth criterion, as it relates only to Greene's crossing and the Battle at Camp Yadkin, "we are unable to determine if any archeological resources possess the significance necessary to qualify for listing in the National Register," the review said.
National Register historian Daniel Vivian and archaeologist Erika Seibert said because documentation their office received Nov. 23, 2005, from state and federal highway officials failed to include any new information ... "our opinion on archaeological resources remains unchanged."
"The information provided is inadequate to determine if archeological resources associated with Greene's Crossing at Trading Ford and/or the Battle at Camp Yadkin are present," they said.
So the door could be slightly open, if someone provided better archeological information.
Lusignan agreed Thursday that there "appears to be some information lacking."
The National Register had sought additional information related to archeology on Oct. 29, 2004, and during a teleconference Dec. 16, 2004.
Salisbury historian Ann Brownlee has worked to have the four resources mentioned earlier listed on the National Register in advance of any new I-85 bridge and widening project across the Yadkin River.
Meanwhile, the N.C. Department of Transportation, State Historic Preservation Office and Federal Highway Administration have proposed the National Register eligibility of a smaller "Yadkin River Crossings District" that apparently would not affect any future highway project.
The National Register agrees that the existing transportation-related resources in the area include the remains of Beard's Bridge (circa 1820), the 1924 Wilcox Bridge, a second U.S. 29/70 bridge from 1953, an N.C. Railroad bridge built in 1907 with 1855 abutments from an earlier bridge, a second N.C. Railroad bridge built in 1919 and a .8-mile trace of the Trading Path, documented at least to the late 17th century and possibly earlier.
The National Register's review comments say the area has served important transportation purposes for centuries. Native Americans and early European explorers forded the Yadkin River in this area and followed a well-established Indian path, also used by settlers, which evolved into one of the earliest roads.
The comments also note the important military actions that took place in this "transportation corridor" during the Revolution and Civil War.
"In all, the site reflects several centuries of transportation use and military actions associated with the two most important conflicts fought on American shores," the review comments say.