Museums and exibitions
The previous day I had given up visiting the local history museum in Lenoir, but instead I would go there today, so I spent some time chatting with Rose after breakfast, spent some time in my room, and at 10.15 I left my B&B, to drive down to the museum, which opens at. 10:00. The trip from the B&B to the museum takes approximately 3 minutes by car, and as I was going to Statesville after my visit to the museum, I chose to drive rather than walk, which I would normally have done. Contrary to the day before, there were people at the museum, in fact there was some event in progress, where a woman partly talked and partly played guitar and sang for a small audience of four elderly ladies who didn’t take up much space in the many rows of chairs. However, I contacted a lady who looked as if she belonged, and it later turned out that she was the director if the museum, Cindy Day. I explained to her what I was interested in, and she showed me to the reading room, where I had previously studied old newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, etc. Unfortunately, she had a little trouble finding the articles I wanted to see, at least some of them - and having an appointment in Statesville at noon, I didn't have that much time. However, I browsed a bit though, and then she promised me, that if would come back the next day, she would have the stuff I was interested in ready, to which I agreed and left the place.
The replica of Fort Dobbs from around 1750.
The drive from Lenoir to Statesville is just over 40 miles and usually lasts about 50 minutes, but because I ended up behind a slow moving truck in a place where it was impossible to overtake, it took around 75 minutes, but just before noon I parked outside the Statesville Historical Collection, where I had arranged to meet Charlotte and Bill Barnes. They arrived about five minutes later, and after greeting each other, we went inside, and also greeted the site's founder and "manager", Steve Hill, whom we had not advised on our visit this time, but Steve wasn't busy, so we chatted with him for a couple of hours. Along the way, others came into the exhibition as well, some of whom were volunteers in the collection, eg John Moose, who was extremely knowledgeable about local history, but also "ordinary" visitors, some of whom just looked at the museum, while others settled down at the table and listened to - and sometime participated in our conversation. It was really nice and fun as usual, when I'm in these parts. After a couple of hours, Steve and the volunteers had other chores, and Bill then suggested that he, Charlotte and I, should drive up and see Fort Dobbs, a historic fort just north of town (or rather on its northern edge)
I had visited Fort Dobbs in 2015, see the article Ghosts and murders on the 2015 travel page. At that time, the historical site consisted of a hole in the ground, a replica of a well, a small stone with a memorial plague telling about the place, and a replica of a blockhouse that served as a visitor center and souvenir shop. However, Charlotte and Bill told me that a lot had happened since then. And that proved to be case. When we got to the place, a massive wooden building had been built since my last visit. This was a replica of the original fort. In contrast to the forts that many probably may know from western films and the like, this fort, which was originally built in the 1750s, was not equipped with a powerful wall with an inner walkway around the actual fort. Here, there had been only a relatively flimsy palisade. On the other hand, the building itself was quite solid, built of white oak, an evergreen tree that grows in many places in the southern US states, and which is known to be very resistant to impact. The famous frigate, the USS Constitution, which can be seen in Boston, is made of the same material and it is called "Old Ironsides" because the cannon balls simply rebounded from it. Not only is the fort built from white oak but of rather strong beams; the lower ones were thus 12 inches by 12 inches, higher up 8” by 8” and the top layers only 6” by 6”. And the replica is built exactly the same way. The very nice young man who told us about the place could also tell that they had almost completed the reconstruction and expected to be able to open in September or October 2019.
After the visit we returned to Statesville, where we had an early dinner (about 5pm) at an Italian restaurant, which I had never visited before, but which proved to be quite good. After the meal I said goodbye to Charlotte and Bill, who were going back to their home in Matthews, a trip of more than 60 miles. We were going to meet again in Davidson south of Statesville the next day to hear Rob McHale and guests appear at the Summit Coffee Co., and we agreed that we should have dinner together before that. The concert should start at 7 pm, so we decided to meet at 5. I walked back to the place where I had parked the car enjoying the beautiful weather along the way, 77 degrees and no wind at all. I took I-40 back to Hickory and then north to Lenoir on US 321. Back at The Irish Rose, as usual, I had a cup of coffee with Rose before I retired to my room.