Gallery E
In Rockwall County
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Yup . . . There Is A Great Wall Of Texas

By James Donahue

Texans are known for boasting and the discovery of an ancient stone wall in Rockwall County in 1852 is included on the list of things that give the folks bragging rights. In fact the name of the county and the town of Rockwall resulted from the discovery.

While the wall doesn’t come close to challenging The Great Wall of China, the Texas wall was no small accomplishment by the people who once occupied the area and set about building the massive monument. It has been found to be 5.6 miles long and over 40 feet in height.

The wall was buried under the earth until farmers Terry Wade and his neighbors Benjamin Boydstun and William Stevenson began digging a well on Wade’s property and struck hard rock. They excavated deep enough to discover that it appeared to be a man-made well. The deeper they dug, the more they discovered.

Wade’s granddaughter, Mary Gibson, says the men not only found a wall, but they also discovered halls and passages. A stone doorway, set with diagonal stones, was open for public viewing from 1936 to the late 1940s, but eventually was buried again because it was feared to be unsafe.

Other farmers in the area did some excavations of their own and found that the wall was larger than first thought. Over the years, most of what is now known about the wall was exposed, according to the county Historical Foundation. According to a History Channel documentary, local excavator Kevin Richeson spent $80,000 digging around the wall with heavy equipment. He dug 42 feet into the earth and never got to the bottom of the wall. He was stopped by heavy rains that flooded his diggings.

Kevin found steps measuring 32 inches apart, suggesting that the wall may have been built by giants. He has a map showing the general outline of the wall which encloses an area of about 19 square miles. The town now rests on top of whatever existed within the wall. Some believe it was an ancient city, yet to be discovered.

The Wade farm was located at the west edge of where the town of Rockwall is now located.

So what civilization erected this great wall and why was it built? This is the big question. Local historians say the earliest known residents of the region were the Caddo people, who arrived around 820 A.D. They were credited for naming the region Tehas, which later became Texas. But they were not builders. Thus the general feeling is that the wall was erected by a civilization that was in the area at some very ancient time.

Research by architect John Lindsey and geologist James Shelton may have produced some clues. Shelton noted that a lintel that was excavated in 1949 appeared to have ancient script on it. Also a copper coin-shaped object found it cuttings from an augured water well in 1870 in Illinois, which had the same script etched on it, dates back from 200,000 to 400,000 years. The objects now are stored at the Smithsonian.

While some geologists are writing off the wall as a natural rock formation, Lindsey and Shelton are not in agreement. They are calling for archaeological excavations of the site.