Page 1


On June 20 and 21 work continued at Davidson’s Fort, Mark Hall, Doug Zuendt, Richard Acrivos and two hired workers moved hundreds of feet of soil and pulled tons of rocks to complete the back drop of the future fort. This hill will contain an area overlooking the fort and displaying future brick paths with personalized bricks. If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 442-6601. Every week we will be there starting on Saturday. Donations can be done through our website or

On June 27th Mark Hall, Doug Zuendt, Richard Acrivos, Joe Williams and two hired workers Carlos and Pole, finished seeding and smoothing Overlook Hill. A six pole covered area 12x16 was started; this will be the picnic area that overlooks the fort. The flag, engraved bricks, benches and more will be positioned here for visitors to relax and enjoy the views. The fort’s finished dimensions will be 100x75 feet and a 20x24 welcome center/blockhouse will be built on one corner of the fort. Funds from The Rural Center will be used. If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 442-6601. Every Saturday we will be there starting around 8 am. Donations can be made through our website or


July 12th 2009. Mark Hall, Richard Acrivos, Carlos and Pole started dismantling the fort walls. It took 7 hours to bring down the walls. There are only the poles that are four foot deep left along with the gate which will require machinery to remove. The Rural Center funds have still not been received, as soon as the funds arrive we will contract out the welcome center/ block house. Frank G. Vess stopped by and gave us another donation for $100. If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 4426601. Every Saturday we will be there starting around 8 am. Donations can be made through our website or

July 18th 2009. Mark Hall, Richard Acrivos, Carlos and Pole worked 8 hours at the fort. Mark, Pole and Carlos finished up the framing on the overlook picnic area shelter, the logs were stripped using the same tools as they used in the 18th Century. Rick spent the day mowing the site almost finishing the entire parcel. Don Rasnick President/CEO with eight McDonald’s including Old Fort started donating lunch to the workers on Saturday. Don presented Debbie Acrivos with a gift card for $25 that will be reloaded as needed.

July 25th 2009. Mark Hall, Richard Acrivos, newcomer Dan Barlow from Old Fort, Joe Williams and son, Carlos and Pole worked over 10 hours. Joe finished up the picnic area bolting the logs together. Old Fort native Alan Rumfelt visited the site to see what he could do to help. Alan works with Ronnie Hendrix owner of H&R Landscaping and Grading from Spindale, NC. His company had some equipment in Old Fort and they let us borrow their heavy duty New Holland skid loader, this enabled Mark Hall and Dan Barlow to dismantle the remaining logs in the original fort. 'We all had lunch furnished by McDonald’s, thank you! We rented the excavator from Old Fort Tool Rental, by the way please thank him next time you see Dennis, he discounts the rent for us which helps a lot. Rick Acrivos was able to clear the high land which was blocking the view to the fort area from Lackey Town Road; he was also able to grade the new entrance to the property making a two car width entrance. The back side of overlook hill was graded to match the front side it is now ready to seed. This was a great day, we accomplished so much today, if you have time to spare please come out like Dan Barlow did, we could have used one more to mow grass. If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 442-6601. Every week we will be there starting on Saturday. Donations can be done through our website or July 27, Rick Acrivos returned to mow grass, 2 hours of mowing completed the fort area and parking area outside of the fence line.


August 1, 2009. Rick Acrivos, Doug Zuendt, Mark Hall, Don Barlow, Janet Pyatt from Spindale, Carlos and Pole started digging the footers for the welcome center/block house it was so easy digging we completed it in about 5 hours. We saved about $1000 doing it ourselves; we plan on pouring the concrete on Tuesday. Dough Zuendt was able to mow the fields and Rick Acrivos cleared more land along the fence line with Janesville after finishing the footers. We started laying a rock wall to hold the bank to overlook hill. McDonalds donated lunch and we took our lunch break on overlook hill. If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 442-6601. Every week we will be there starting on Saturday. Donations can be done through our website or

August 8, 2009. One of the hottest days of the year and we felt every degree! We had to deepen the footer for the fireplace and place steel in the footer. Mark Hall, Don Barlow, Joe Williams, started on the footers while Rick Acrivos, Carlos and Ponce got the poles ready for John C. Hall Electric to come by and install the electrical panel, the electric and footers will be inspected on Monday and we hope to pour the footers sometime next week if all goes well. Overlook Hill is greening up, we were able to mow it today for the first time, a maple tree is already growing on the hill side and we decided to let it grow and provide great shade to the picnic area. Mark Hall Tile Company has donated enough trees to complete the welcome center; we will be using very straight small diameter poplar trees for the building, a logger has scheduled the cutting next month. Doug Zuendt mowed the fields on Friday since he could not show up Saturday. We had visits from the 4H Club in Buncombe and the Boy Scouts from Nebo both organizations want to help in the building. The message is getting out, thank you! If you would like to volunteer your time to help in the construction please call Debbie Acrivos at 442-6601. Every week we will be there starting on Saturday.

August 11, 2009 for two grueling hours Doug Zuendt, Don Barlow and Rick Acrivos poured 7 yards of concrete for the footer for the new welcome center. McDowell Cement was very understanding in giving us old men a little more time to work the concrete.

August 15, 2009 Mike Post from Buncombe County 4H joined our team this week, Don Barlowe, Carlos, Ponce, Mark Hall, Rick Acrivos and Joe Williams got the footers ready for block laying. Debbie Acrivos brought Allan Nelson who is a contractor to help us put together a materials list for the footers. Allan Nelson is from England but is glad to help us colonials.

August 22, 2009. Joe Williams, Don Barlowe, Mark Hall and Rick Acrivos worked 10 hours. We were able to square up the block house and lay two courses of block. We completed mowing the entire parcel it really looks nice when everything is mowed. We are planning on having a Family Fun Day on Sept 19 so mark your calendar; we will have inflatable rides, music and hot dogs and drinks. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the day

Aug 29, 2009 Mark Hall, Rick Acrivos, Don Barlowe, Carlos and Ponce did a good days work of laying block. The first layer takes time to cut block so the finished product comes out right. We must insert flood door gates

on the side so water can flow in case of floods. The outside of the blocks will have rock so it will look authentic.


September 5, 2009. Labor Day didn’t stop Mark Hall, Carlos and Ponce from almost finishing off the welcome center footers. They had to return on Sunday to finish it off. Nice straight poplar logs were cut and delivered to the site, these logs will be the floor and walls of the welcome center. Don’t forget our family fun day fundraiser on Sept 19th. Music rides food and drinks; bring a chair and enjoy a fun filled day at the fort. or call 828-668-4831. September 6, 2009 the footers were completed and the white oak was delivered, we will make roof shingles from the white oak.

September 12, 2009. A great day, we finished the roof on the picnic area, moved all the logs from the center for the upcoming fun day festival, moved all the rocks to the footers to start the rock work on Tuesday and put in the corner logs for the fort. Jerry Wheeler from Skyisland Campground brought his skid loader to move all the logs. Harris Stoneworks brought their skid loader so Rick Acrivos from Catawba Falls Campground could move dirt and rocks. Mark Hall from Hall Tile along with Joe Williams, Don Barlowe, Carlos and Ponce finished the picnic area on overlook hill. Debbie Acrivos came by to supervise the clean up for our family fun day and was just in time to help put in the first log of the palisades.

September 13, 2009. Rick Acrivos returned to take advantage of the skid loader on site. Finished moving all the rock, placed the large river rocks on overlook hill, cleaned up the piles of branches and dirt, filed in holes with dirt and leveled many spots. The parking area and fort area was mowed so we can set up the tents and kids rides for our Family Fun Day on Sept 19th. PLEASE mark your calendars, this coming Saturday, $5 gets you rides all day long kids 2 and under are free. Bring a lawn chair, umbrella or shade tent, we will be cooking hotdogs and singing all day long. Here are pictures showing what the fort is looking like, but it looks better in person, come and put a log in or find artifacts in buckets of dirt, we will have some nice artifacts on display.

Fort footprint block house on left top, overlook hill picnic area,

Sep 19, 2009. Mother Nature put a damper on our Family Fun Day, with the field much too wet to support cars and not enough cover for visitors we had to make quick decisions to move some of the event to SkyIsland Retreat and Campground on Harlowe Noblitt Road. Mark Hall brought some of the Indian Collection, Debbie Acrivos and Debbie Jarvis got the food together and Jerry Wheeler contacted the singers. Rick Acrivos sent out the mass email and contacted WBRM to announce the change. Amazing things happen sometimes; people heard about the change and came. Andy Webb dropped by early to talk with us about his upcoming campaign and get updated on what the Fort has been doing. David Cody came and sang his heart out. We had raffles with donated fish fryers, David Cody CDs, de-hydrators, and cash 50/50 drawings.

Sept 25, 2009 Jerry Wheeler/SkyIsland Campground and Rick Acrivos/Catawba Falls Campground spent 8 hours sorting and setting logs in place to go up. Work stations were created from steel I beams logs were placed on the beams to be worked on sharpening points and preparing them for the walls. Volunteers are determined to have a full work day on Saturday. Sept 26, 2009. Rain, Rain and more Rain did not stop determined volunteers. A tent was set up for our coffee and sandwiches Debbie Acrivos and Debbie Jarvis from SkyIsland wanted to make sure that the volunteers had something to eat and drink, coffee was donated by Catawba Vale Café’ thank you Dru. For the first time that I can remember a large workforce came together for a common dream; Sky Island Campground / Jerry Wheeler and Tommy Lee (a descendant of General Robert E. Lee), Cody’s Roofing, Siding Gutters & More / David Cody and Danny Mitchell, Hall Tile / Mark Hall and Marc Ellmaker, Swickle Technologies / Mark Swickle, Catawba Falls Campground / Rick, Ricky Jr and Debbie Acrivos. Twenty Six, 14ft logs were set 4 ft into the ground, we rented an auger and bob cat from Old Fort Tool Rental, what a difference!, every hole was drilled within 4 minutes no more post hole diggers! Jerry Wheeler picked up the logs with his bob cat and with a few flips of the forks he set the poles in the holes while workers plumed them and packed them down. Everyone was soaking wet by 3pm and the thunder came in so we knocked off. We are planning on spending Sunday working on the rest. Sept 27, 2009 Jerry Wheeler, Mark Hall, Ricky Acrivos, Marc Ellmaker, Scott Swickle, Rick Acrivos and Brian Butcher came together to complete the last parts of the palisades and of course set the flag on the last log. All the 14 ft logs that are 4 ft in the ground have been set along with the front gate. A special thanks to Jerry Wheeler and David Cody, we accomplished more in one weekend than we have been able to complete in two years.

Before and After


October 2, 3, 4 2009 we attended Old Fort Oktoberfest this weekend, Sheehan’s Auction set up their Antiques Roadshow and saw some impressive old flintlock rifles. All funds were donated to the fort, thank you Sheehan’s. Rock work started on October 6th and should be finished by this weekend. We plan on having another full weekend of work this weekend so come on out. DON’T FORGET Family Fund Day October 17, this is the re-scheduled rain day. October 09, 2009 George Millar a fort volunteer from Melbourne Florida stopped by and joined Rick Acrivos mowing the fields for 5 hours. October 10, 2009 Jerry Wheeler and son from SkyIsland Campground joined Rick and Debbie Acrivos with Janet Pyatt putting up ¾ of the back wall up. We will be coming out during the week cleaning up the area for the Family Fun Day next weekend. Hope to see all of you there.

October 16, 2009 We are getting the site ready for our Family Fun Day, while we were doing that the Harris Brothers were busy putting up the welcome center. Oct 17 2009. Family fun day was disappointing to say the least; it rained every day before, stopped on the day of our

festival but gave us very cold temperatures. We did have some visitors come out in the afternoon but the bands had already left to warm up. At 3pm we started getting ready to go to our next function. Dr. Newt Gingrich historian and former speaker of the house, was scheduled to speak at Montreat and Dr William Forstchen had asked the board to be the honor guard for him. The board invited Mark Ewing from Lincolnton, Randy Whitworth from Cherryville and Adam Weber from Statesville. We all met at Catawba Vale for dinner then left for the college. Mark Ewing presented a handmade authentic powder horn, satchel and several tools to Dr Gingrich from the Davidson’s Fort members.

Group picture from left back row; Richard Acrivos, Dr Forstchen, Mark Hall, Adam Weber from Statesville, Mark Ewing from Lincolnton, Randy Whitworth from Cherryville; front row; Lissa Silver, Doug Zuendt, Debbie Acrivos and Dr Gingrich. Debbie Acrivos presents Dr Gingrich with the Davidson’s Fort Progress report. Mark Ewing presents Dr Gingrich with a powder horn and essentials bag.

Oct 24, 2009

Building the block house continued and the first floor is finished. We are making arraignments for a lift boom so we can lift the rest of the logs for the second floor. Magical Moments came out to haul some logs the old way while Mark Hall, Carlos and Ponce worked on the picnic area roof.

November Nov 2, 2009 Rain has visited us every time we try to have the family fun day, so unfortunately we have cancelled plans to have another one. The Harris brothers have been working diligently to complete the welcome center/block house. The current pictures show an impressive structure, Thanksgiving meal is still possible if the rain holds off. The second floor is being completed today so they will floor it then start on the first floor chinking and we will see if we can have one floor completed to possibly have a meal. We are waiting for smaller logs to be used as cross braces for the upright logs in the palisades, once those arrive we can continue with the walls. We are waiting also on a permit to clear the side of I-40 so the fort can be seen by travelers. We hope to start drawing people off the highway into Old Fort so put on your smiley faces. Our next board meeting is Nov 4 at 6:30pm in the depot.

Nov 5, 2009 Second floor is floored with planks, stair well cut out and logs for steps are being set

Nov 14, The chinking went well, it looks really professional. The view from I40 is looking nice; the chinking crew was waving at Debbie Acrivos who was on I40. Thanks to the kind folks at McDonalds we had a lunch for all the workers. Carlos, Pole and Mark Hall continued working into the late afternoon on the picnic area which is now ready for shingles. Lissa Silver climbed up the rafters to cut some lumber on the roof. Mike Thompson came out to lend a hand along with Lissa Silver, Janet Pyatt and Chuck Harris. Nov 21.A full day of work performed by Mike Thompson, Mark Hall, Rick Acrivos, Carlos, Ponce and Lissa Silver. Robert Kunz from Current Energy in Waynesville came out to work on the electrical, Lissa worked on the landscaping around overlook hill while the rest attacked the palisade walls putting up 50 + logs. Rick started grading the grounds for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. The stairs have been put in the blockhouse, they are just right for us that are shorter in stature; you tall visitors need to watch your head. Be sure to visit us this Friday and Saturday, we will have a good group of re-enactors at the fort with a march on Saturday.

November 28, 2009 It was a wonderful day! The weather finally cooperated with us and furnished a sunny and dry day, cool to start, but it warmed up nicely. With Commander Rob Lewis and Jamie Walls of the South Fork militia on hand, John T. Soule (a remarkable living history interpreter), Doug Meyer (fire maker) and Dennis & Lorraine Voelker of Dragonfly Traders in Spruce Pine, we had plenty for visitors to do and see. Grandpa Rick found a great dress at Dragonfly for granddaughter Alyssa Combs, now he has a sidekick to go to re-enactments with. John T. Soule demonstrated firing his rifle to visitors; Commander Rob Lewis issued the firing commands. Doug Meyer amazed visitors with his skills; he spent a lot of time demonstrating how to make fire with flint. Our own Lissa Silver put her culinary skills to the test with some great cooking; even Senator Queen took a bite or two. Lissa also showed her prowess with a tomahawk. We owe Senator Queen a warm thank you; he is always at our functions lending support. Board members Doug Zuendt, Janet Pyatt, Mark Hall, Debbie Acrivos, Dru Heldman, Lissa Silver and Office coordinator Richard Acrivos send their thanks to everyone who made this event a success.

December 2009

Snow storm has but a halt on the building, we are not as sturdy as our ancestors who would have continued the building.

January 2010 January 14 Patti Holda presented a check for $300 on behalf of the McDowell County Historical Society. The Society divided the profits from it’s Antique Roadshow fundraiser between; McDowell House, Carson House and Davidson’s Fort. Doug Zuendt accepts the donation along with Richard Acrivos. January 16. A direct descendant of William Davidson (1736-1814) Rich Frederick contacted us through our new website. He is related through William Davidson’s daughter, Mary McConnell Davidson, who married Daniel Smith (1757-1824) a commander of Davidson’s Fort. We also received an email from Patrick Servey who is related to James McDaniel W7424 who served at Davidson’s Fort.

Building Davidson's Fort  

Four months work goes in to building a colonial fort in Old Fort.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you