Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Zion Lutheran Church, Rockwell, North Carolina

Down the road from Grace Lutheran Church is Zion Lutheran Church and the oldest of all Lutheran churches in North Carolina. It too, like Grace, was built in the manner of Lutheran churches in Pennsylvania from whence its original members came. And like Grace, it has been greatly altered with addition of the stone tower and steeple in 1900.

A view of the west side of the church gives a better idea how the church looked in 1796 before the additions and alterations.

And as with Grace, the interior has been greatly changed over the years; nothing remains from when the building was first erected. Even the slate floor was removed and replaced with wooden planks at the same time the tower and steeple were built. The two tablets on either side of the clock also list all the former pastors of the church.

In the cemetery in the front of the church which spreads over two acres, are headstones of the first members of the congregation. This particular tombstone translated from German (at least as far as the ones that are legible to me) says: " Here is buried Matteis Behringer. He was born in the year 1713, 13 October and died in the year of Christ 1794 on 22 November. Shown in (illegible) and (illegible)."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grace Reformed and Evangelical Church, Rockwell, North Carolina

Last Saturday Historic Salisbury Foundation held a tour of ten historic churches to raise funds for their activities in preserving historic buildings and sites in Rowan County. Two of the churches, Zion (Organ) Lutheran and Grace Reformed (also known as Lower Stone Church) are favorites of mine and I have driven the hour and a half south from Greensboro to take photos of the exteriors on several occasions. This tour would give me the opportunity to finally get inside and take photos of the interiors.

Grace was built in 1795 by German Lutheran immigrants from Pennsylvania who followed their Moravian brethren down the Great Wagon Trail from the Philadelphia area. And if you've ever been to Pennsylvania around the Delaware River, you'll recognize this type of stone building as being typical of that area. However, this is highly unusual for North Carolina as brick and wood were the standard building materials.

Above the door is a stone tablet in German which dates the church to 1795 (the steeple is a much later addition; it was added in 1901) and between the windows on the second floor is another much smaller tablet.

This shows a clock face with the hands pointing to 9:30 and the words (translated from German), "In the Year of Christ 1795 With God's Help."

I was most anxious to get inside and see the interior of the sanctuary. However, to my disappointment, the interior was no different than any other North Carolina country church with the exception of the list of the past pastors listed high on the wall behind the pulpit. According to my little tour booklet, the early interiors were removed in the 1880's and the orientation of the church was changed from south to west.

I took this from the second floor gallery. Pardon the flare from the windows as it was early morning and quite sunny.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Double Wedding Ring Barn Quilt, East Bend, North Carolina

One of my favorite things to do in the Miata is to go look for barn quilts on the weekend. What started as a way for Donna Sue Groves to honor her mother on her barn in Adams County, Ohio, has spread throughout the United States and Canada as a way for counties to bring in tourism dollars. Here in North Carolina, the idea started up in the mountains north of Asheville as way to draw tourists off the Blue Ridge Parkway and has since moved east into Piedmont NC.

Yadkin County, 50 miles west of me, started a quilt trail about two years ago which now encompasses more than 20 barn quilts. This particular barn quilt is called Double Wedding Ring and can be found at Aquilla Creek Cottage outside of East Bend, NC.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Caswell County Old Courthouse, Yanceyville, North Carolina

Our warmest day since last year had me in the Miata and on the back roads to Yanceyville, NC about an hour from home.

Yanceyville is the county seat of Caswell County and listed in Wikipedia as the seventh poorest town in all of the United States; not a very happy designation. And yet, they have been able to maintain the old courthouse in impeccable condition even though the county services and courts moved out many years ago.

This building was the fourth courthouse to be built since Caswell County was created in 1777 and the National Register of Historic Places calls the style "Exuberant Victorian."

The Caswell County Historical Association notes:
"The Caswell County Courthouse was completed in 1861 at a cost of slightly more than $28,000. The stone used in its construction was quarried about one-half mile from the site, and brick was made near the quarry. County legend, probably stimulated by the magnificence of the completed structure, holds that the builder went broke before the yard was filled in and the retaining wall constructed, and later committed suicide. Although the building is in good structural condition, its massiveness is unfortunately disguised by its present coat of white paint, and the ornate cast iron fence which originally surrounded it was dismantled for repair in 1941 and said sold for scrap iron during the Second World War."
Since it is Sunday and the building is closed (I see from several websites that it is used during the week as an overflow for the court system), I wasn't able to get in to see the interior. However, I did find a picture on the North Carolina State University Digital Library website a photo of the molded ceiling and chandelier. How magnificent!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Windsor Crossroads, Yadkin County, North Carolina

After taking off almost two years from blogging, I’m back with a new (at least to me) small car, a 2006 Miata, and a renewed interest in the back roads of North Carolina and its interesting sights and historic places.

First stop is Windsor Crossroads, an unincorporated spot in Yadkin County. This schoolhouse was built in 1915 and is now used as the community center. The day I stopped by, the Ruritan Club was having a pancake breakfast to raise money to maintain the center. And in the summer, it is used as a gathering place for local bluegrass musicians who meet there every Friday night.