The Real Story of Mantle Rock - rural Livingston County, Kentucky
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 37° 21.369 W 088° 25.622
16S E 373619 N 4135337
This marker, sponsored by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, is located outside the entrance of Mantle Rock Arch. This 215 acre property is located off Hwy 133 near Joy, Kentucky, in rural Livingston County.
Waymark Code: WM13D78
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 11/12/2020
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Bernd das Brot Team
Views: 0

The text of the sign reads:
(top - picture of Mantle Rock)

(left text)
Mantle Rock is the largest freestanding arch east of
the Mississippi River. It is 188 feet long and 30 feet
high. Some of the plants found here are not known
to grow anywhere else in Kentucky. This very
beautiful and historic place has many stories to tell.

It is impossible to know how many Cherokee saw
Mantle Rock when they walked along the historic
road north of here. Thousands of Cherokee passed
this way, waiting in winter for a safe river crossing.
Many lived in temporary camps that stretched for
miles along the road. Exhausted by journey, and
staying near supplies and wagons on the road, it is
unlikely that many visited Mantle Rock itself.

(1st right picture - Mantle Rock)
Some stories tell that the Cherokee
camped under Mantle Rock. There
were far too many Cherokee
to camp under the arch, and
historical descriptions describe a
long, linear camp alonh the road.

(2nd right picture - Cherokee)
Other stories suggest that there
were burials under Mantle Rock.
The Trail of Tears claimed many
lives, but there is no evidence
of burials at Mantle Rock.

(3rd right picture - Sandstone Glade)
The sandstone glade on top of
the arch is one of the highest
quality glades in the state. It has
been estimated that less than one
percent of these habitats remain,
but here they are protected.

Mantle Rock consists of a natural sandstone arch, woodlands, several springs, and a section of the original Salem-Golconda Road. The property is located southwest of State Route 133 in Livingston County, Kentucky, approximately one mile east of the Ohio River. Mantle Rock is located in a shallow valley in the watershed of McGilligan Creek at an elevation of approximately 450' above sea level. The property encompasses approximately 215 acres, and is now owned and protected by the Kentucky Nature Conservancy.

Mantle Rock is reached by a gravel road directly off State Route 133, west of the small crossroads community of Joy. Adjacent to the gravel road along State Route 133 is a state historic marker containing text describing the historic significance of Mantle Rock during the Trail of Tears. This freestanding marker is included as a non-contributing object to the property. The driveway leads to a gravel parking lot and a dirt trail leads from the parking lot to Mantle Rock. Approximately 600' from the parking lot the trail crosses the roadbed of the historic Salem-Golconda Road. Within the boundary of the Mantle Rock property this roadbed extends approximately 450'. The roadbed is ten to twelve feet in width and has embankments ranging up to five feet in height. This roadbed is well defined and the roadbed itself contains bushes and small trees. This roadbed was utilized by the Lt. B.B. Cannon party in 1837 and by the various detachments of the Cherokee on the Northern Route in 1838 and 1839. The roadbed is included as a contributing site to the property.

Following the roadbed, the trail passes a wood wayside marker erected within the past twenty years which describes the geology and history of Mantle Rock. This wayside exhibit is included as a non-contributing structure to the property. The trail then leads to Mantle Rock which is a natural rock formation. Mantle Rock is a 30 foot high sandstone arch which spans 188 feet in length. It is one of the longest natural arches in Kentucky and provides an ample amount of shelter beneath. In addition to Mantle Rock itself, the property contains other natural rock outcroppings and features. Several springs emerge near the base of Mantle Rock and flow into nearby McGilligan Creek. The remainder of the Mantle Rock property is covered with a hardwood forest and is accessible via hiking trails. No buildings or other structures are within the boundary of the Mantle Rock property.

- National Register Application

The Mantle Rock Archeological District, near Smithland, Kentucky is a 215 acres (0.87 km2) historic district which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

The site is owned and protected by the Kentucky Nature Conservancy and is accessed by a gravel road off of Kentucky Route 133, just west of the small community of Joy, Kentucky. It includes a natural sandstone arch, several springs, and woodland, in a valley in the watershed of McGilligan Creek. It includes a part of the original Salem-Golconda Road. It is associated with the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

It includes a contributing site and a contributing structure.

- Mantle Rock Archeological District Wikipedia Entry

Routes: Hildebrand Route

Additional Coordinates: N 37° 21.517 W 088° 25.303

Address if available:
State Route 133
near Joy, KY USA

Additional Information: This is a 3/10ths of a mile hike from parking to the marker and Mantle Rock.

Marker Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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