I was out mapping the Thurmond-Minden Trail the other day and discovered the rock formation known as McKinley Rock. The National Park Service must have cleaned it up because, a few years back, it was covered in vines to the point it was unrecognizable.
The story …? Sept 6th, 1901 …
Workers were “shooting” the high cliffs across from Thurmond, building the “Rend Branch Line” (most call it the Arbuckle Branch Line or, now, the Thurmond-Minden Trail), tearing off hundreds of tons of stone.
After the dust settled, one of the workers looked up and saw a face outlined in the new cliffs. Workers said it looked like the current president of the time, William McKinley.
Legend maintains that someone said it meant something was going to happen to the president in the near future. That night, the president was shot twice — he died 6 days later, and Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president.
The photos above show President William McKinley and the rock you can find on a short hike from ACE Adventure Resort.
To find the rock sculpture, head down the trail toward Thurmond, cross the 5th trestle (the long one). At the next cliff bend, stop and look back — it’s about 70 feet in the air.