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Exposing the subterranean secrets of Rockwall's past

Written by , published May 9, 2013

Women take a closer look at a piece of pottery at the Rockwall Founders Day Festival, which features all-day live music, gourmet food trucks, children's activities and a street fair of vendors. This year's event is on May 18. (Photo courtesy of the City of Rockwall Parks and Recreation)

The Metroplex-area city of Rockwall celebrates its 159th birthday May 18 with a festival and a chance to get a glimpse of the mysterious formation that gives the town its name.

The Rockwall County Historical Foundation will offer rare access to private land for a presentation about the underground rock formation where it’s been exposed by a small excavation. Experts have speculated on whether the subterranean wall is the work of prehistoric people or simply an unusual geological occurrence. The wall’s mystique recently attracted the attention of cable television’s “America Unearthed” on the H2 (History 2) channel, which filmed an episode last month that’s expected to air late this year.

Shuttles will depart the Rockwall County Historical Foundation Museum, at 901 E. Washington, every half-hour from 1-3 p.m. on May 18. Tickets cost $10 (cash or check only, nonrefundable) and are available at the museum, which is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visitors can call 972-722-1507 to check for availability. Some tickets might still be available the day of the tour, but buying them in advance is recommended, says Debbie Lawhon, curator of the Rockwall County Historical Foundation Museum.

“Most locals have never seen any part of an exposed wall ever, so people are really excited about this,” Lawhon says. “I’m selling tickets left and right.”

The museum also will host demonstrations, a scavenger hunt and other activities  in conjunction with the city’s big birthday bash. Just half a mile away, the Rockwall Founders Day Festival on the downtown square will rock out with a full day of live music, including the Casey Donahew Band, plus a children’s area, food trucks, shopping and a farmers’ market. The festival runs from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to visit before or after the rock wall tour.

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