Swepsonville River Park opened in 2006 and was one of the first along the Haw River Trail. The park offers a flat, sandy, 2-mile stroll along the banks of the river with awesome views and plenty of opportunities for observing wildlife. There are benches throughout the park and open space for fishing and picnicking. Visit thehaw.org for more information about Swepsonville River Park.
Just downstream from the upper parking lot is the remnant of an old dam. The former Virginia Mill Dam was removed in the Fall of 2013 marking the first time in 250 years that the Haw flowed freely through Swepsonville. The first mill at this site was constructed by John Armstrong around 1760. The site was purchased by Senator Archibald DeBow Murphey in 1804 and later by Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin. Ruffin’s financial trouble led to the sale of the property at a sheriff’s auction to George W. Swepson. In 1868, Swepson began Falls Neuse Manufacturing Company on the east bank of the river. Swepson used mule-drawn and poled barges to transfer goods to the mills in Haw River. The complex eventually became Virginia Cotton Mills and remained until the mill closed in 1970. It was destroyed by fire in 1989.