Within the river basin some of the most significant remnants of early American civilization and the oldest cultural remains in North Carolina have been found.
The renowned Hardaway archaeological site is situated on a ridgeline near the Narrows of the Yadkin River. First revealed to state archaeologists in 1937, the site has since yielded more than 7 metric tons of cultural material, including more than 3,000 projectile points, 5,000 scrapers and other stone tools and stone-chipping debris dating back more than 12,000 years. To fashion their tools, Native Americans quarried the Uwharries for rhyolite, a strong but malleable volcanic rock they found in abundance on mountaintops.
White settlers began to use the Yadkin for travel and trade in the early 1700's. In the early 1800's, the basin was the scene of the nation’s first documented gold discovery. This brought in an influx of people to the southern sections of the river, near where Stanly County is today. North Carolina soon became home to many textile mills, some of which were built on or near the Yadkin River. And as the population of the state grew, some municipalities began to rely on the Yadkin River for water, and/or as a source for generating electricity. Mostly, however, the Yadkin River and its lakes have been used for recreation - for fishing, boating and swimming.
For more information about the history of the Yadkin River, please go to: www.yadkinriverstory.org
Source: N.C. Office of Environmental Education, (919) 733-0711, http://www.eenorthcarolina.org