MacGregor Park History

The Beals parcels were historic wetlands, part of the Great Dismal Swamp. They were known to be heavily involved in the Abolition Movement and this area at the intersection of US31/SR38 is a documented UR site, and listed in the National Archives.

Eventually, the Dismal Swamp was drained for use as cropland and continues to be farmed today. However, a recent assessment of the property revealed that the over 100 year-old tiles are failing and there is evidence of the reformation of wetlands in several areas, confirming this as a valuable ecological site.


Sheila MacGregor Beals, from Scotland, met her husband, Lyndon Beals, in England during WWII.  Ms. MacGregor would care for wild animals she would find along the roadside.  She enjoyed nature and was a passionate gardener. The current exterior loop trail follows her daily walks along the perimeter of the property.

In 1999, the family of Shelia Beals MacGregor donated 40 acres which started the park. Her wishes were that the park be minimally developed and used only for passive nature activities.