Working at King’s Mountain

The house next door
The Visitors Center
Wilma at the Visitor Center Desk
Three Revolutionary War Soldiers in the Visitor’s Center
A painting of the battle
Start to the right
Newly paved Battlefield Trail
Old Colonial Road
Ranger Leah and her mom walk the trail – fast!

I have been trying to decide how to tell you about King’s Mountain.  Several people have told me they are looking forward to learning more about the Revolutionary War, just as they did last fall about the Civil War, but I don’t feel like I have a very good handle on that yet.  The battle here at King’s Mountain is relatively easy to describe, but it was late in the war.  I am working on “Revolutionary War in a Nutshell” but in the meantime I thought I would start by describing our first week at work here.

We started work here on Friday, which was basically an orientation day.  We met the one full-time ranger (Leah) and the Eastern National Bookstore person (Wilma).  We also met Adrian, Eric, and Sharon who are part-time rangers, although only one of them works on any given day.  The RV pad is between two houses owned by the park.  One is occupied by the Johnson’s – Mel is a Law Enforcement Ranger – and two fire interns live in the other.  The fire interns are forestry majors from Clemson who live here at King’s Mountain for eight months and learn about forest management and controlled burns.

We got oriented to the Visitor Information Desk but so far we haven’t spent much time there.  January is the slowest month of the year at King’s Mountain and we think it is a good day if we have over 100 visitors.  Many of the visitors are people who live close by and use the Battlefield Trail for exercise.  Eric, who usually works on the weekends, knows the names of all the dogs who come and walk the trail with their people.  He doesn’t know the names of the people.

Wilma and one of the part-time rangers usually work the Visitor’s Center.  We cover for them during lunch and breaks but are not expected to be at the desk the rest of the time.  Instead, Tom and I will be working on special projects.  You will be hearing about these as we work on them and complete them.  Our first project involves a 3D topographical map for school children and that is all I am going to say about it for now.

The battle of King’s Mountain took place on the ridge behind the Visitor’s Center.  There is a 1.5 mile trail that goes around the battlefield.  All the rangers take time to walk the trail every day.  Tom and I are also encouraged to walk the trail as much as we want.  We did the cell phone tour and the walking tour with the trail book.  We like to walk the trail clockwise (the tours go counterclockwise) so we have a chance to see and talk to the visitors.  When school groups start coming in the spring we might be giving some guided tours.

By the way, the very first day I asked Adrian “what are some of the most asked questions you get here?”  The first thing he said?  “Where are the restrooms?”  Still the #1 purpose of a Visitor’s Center!

We really like it here.  It is a small, out-of-the-way National Park.  The visitors come here to learn about the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas.  And, best of all, Tom and I are being encouraged to use our special skills to make it a better experience for the visitors and the rangers.