Well, it’s springtime, and you might be looking for something new to get out and do.
But we thought we’d tell you about some old things to do (although new in the sense that we haven’t told you about them before). In other words, how you and the kids can get out and learn more about our history. Most of us could use some coaching in that area. As The Washington Post reported awhile back:
A survey by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that “more Americans could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billie Jean’ than could identify the Bill of Rights as a body of amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” “more than a third did not know the century in which the American Revolution took place,” and “half of the respondents believed the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation or the War of 1812 were before the American Revolution.”
Of course, those were national results. This is our chance to show we’re smarter than the rest of the country. Here are some local sites to visit to learn more about the history of this part of North Carolina, as suggested by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Here’s where to get the whole list. We’re just passing on five from the top of the list:
- The Charlotte Museum of History is actually located in a building that is itself, well, history. It sits on an eight-acre wooded campus in East Charlotte, inside the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County, the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Rock House, built circa 1774. It’s Charlotte’s only remaining structure from the days of the Revolutionary period, which we suppose we can attribute to the fact that the Alexanders built it out of, you know, rock.
- At the Billy Graham Library, you can journey through the life of one of the most influential voices of the 20th century. Be inspired by state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits, films, and memorabilia of the man who was probably the most famous evangelist in the world in modern times.
- The President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville is where the future president lived from 1794 to 1806, before he moved to Tennessee at the age of 11. The visitor center offers a self-guided museum and film, and on the grounds you will find historic log cabins, a nature trail, a family cemetery, and the original monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- We told you about the oldest house, but if you want to see the oldest frame house, check out Historic Rosedale, built in 1815. The home, preserved as a museum by the Historic Rosedale Foundation, offers house and garden tours, special events, preservation, and outreach programs.
- If you’d like to stay overnight in Gilded Age splendor, check out The Duke Mansion (of James Buchanan Duke fame). With 4.5 acres of private grounds and gardens, you could spend all day just enjoying the landscaping. The luxurious and carefully appointed rooms immerse you in old-style Southern charm. Full cooked-to-order breakfasts add culinary excellence to the outstanding hospitality on display.
If you don’t think you know enough about local history after all that, get back to us. There’s plenty more on the list.