Rolling Thunder at Toad Suck Dam

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Year Built: N/A | Year Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedGutted
Photojournalist: Ginger Beck

The only remnants of the former sprawling home and grand swimming area overlooking Toad Suck lock and dam is a concrete slab, steel beams, a couple of fireplaces, and an empty swimming pool. The trolley tracks that lead down the steep incline to the ground from the top of the bluffs remains, but the cart is laying on its side, off track.

Known as “Rolling Thunder” – this family home owned by prominent Conway locals has been abandoned for some time and mostly demolished. What once must have been a magnificent estate, complete with pond, sprawling gated drive, and outdoor fireplace and large waterfall, is now littered with cables and broken plastic and dismantled electronics.

Founded in 1933 by D.H. “Dave” Ward, the Ward Body Works company, specializing in yellow school buses, was family-owned for nearly its entirety. Ward was the first to perform a rollover test on a school bus, which led to changes body designs. He was also the first manufacturer to utilize an assembly line to build buses.

Dave Ward died in 1985; in 1993, the family sold the bus plant to American Transportation, later bought by International Corporation. The bus plant closed in 2009 when International consolidated its operations.

 

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Andrea Andrews
Andrea Andrews
1 month ago

Hello,

I am the great niece of Dave Ward. His brother Neal, who helped build the house was my great grandfather.

I will be going to the property tomorrow morning to scavenge for any family or home items that can be located in the remains. Hoping I can find something.

My family hosted huge parties at this house in the 1970s. It was like a James Bond fortress. I am so so so sad that it could not be maintained. There were many structural and water issues due to the location of the home.

Jessica Lawson
Jessica Lawson
Reply to  Andrea Andrews
1 month ago

Do you know if Barbara still owns the place or who has it since Charles passed? My family has been very close to the family for generations. I worked for Steve as a young adult and my grandfather was best friends with Charles and Steve. My great grandfather worked for Dave for many years. I hope you’re able to salvage anything family related if it’s there.

Angela Adams
Angela Adams
Reply to  Andrea Andrews
1 month ago

I’d like to go see this just to take picturee

donna williams
donna williams
1 year ago

Jubilee Not One More 501C3 suicide prevention charity for soldiers, veterans, and there families

Brooke
Brooke
1 year ago

Address?

Michael Schwarz
Reply to  Brooke
1 year ago

Hi Brooke, we can not supply the address.

Patricia Hernandez
Patricia Hernandez
Reply to  Brooke
1 year ago

idk the address but i i know how to locate it

Colleen
Colleen
Reply to  Patricia Hernandez
11 months ago

Would love to know how to get here

Colleen
Colleen
Reply to  Brooke
11 months ago

Did you ever find out the exact location??

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Colleen
9 months ago

its not too hard to find, right around toadsuck park. Use google earth.

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