Last week, Around the D followed Davidsonians on summer travels, this week we’ll remember a favorite day hike and picnic spot – Egg Rock.
The rock, 20 feet high and 40 feet wide, became famous after Charles Hamilton, a local farmer–and later mayor of Davidson–had postcards made around 1900 showing the large egg-shaped stone perched on two other stones. Davidson students and town residents made the 6-mile or so trek to the farm in Cabarrus county frequently. Dr. Chalmers Davidson noted that “it used to be a favorite place for social gatherings of students and townspeople — when six miles was a pleasant ride in the country–and also for fraternity initiations.
Student scrapbooks from the 1920s attest to its popularity with students in that era. Its attractions faded somewhat over time but it still made the cover of the May 1, 1970 State Magazine. Sadly, within 2 years, the rock, a little like Humpty-Dumpty, came crashing down. The rock still made the news with articles published in 1986, 1989, and 1992.* The articles mention several possible causes for the fall from natural erosion to students protesting the election of Richard Nixon and blasting it.
The most authoritative source for the rock’s fate comes from Mary Hamilton Stephens, daughter of Charles Hamilton, and granddaughter of Thomas H. Hamilton, a member of Davidson’s first graduating class. Part of her childhood was spent on the farm with Egg Rock. In her memoirs Living through Changes in the Twentieth Century, she writes, “one of the fraternities at Davidson College had a picnic there one day and put dynamite under ‘the egg’ and blew it off. Their sponsor came to my brother, Tom, and said they had too much to drink and were terribly, terribly sorry and was there anything they could do? But it was too late. there was nothing that could be done, so we decided to forgive them, but we all cried as if we had lost a member of our family.”
“* Egg Rock is Down,” Mecklenburg Gazette, 30 November 1972.
“Despite Fall, Egg Rock Lore Lives in Davidson,” Mooresville Tribune, 12 March 1986
“Riddle of Egg Rock Puzzles ex-Davidsonian,” Mecklenburg Neighbors, 26 January 1992.
“Egg Rock Lore is on a roll,” Mecklenburg Neighbors, 9 February 1992