Fayetteville History Museum walking tours teach local history

The Fayetteville History Museum in downtown Fayetteville is offering walking tours every third Monday of the month, beginning at 1 pm

The walking tours mean through downtown Fayetteville and the Cool Spring area, with a historian from the museum talking about the historical places the tour encounters along the way. They are free for all to attend.
The Fayetteville History Museum, like most other museums in the area, is closed on Mondays. Historic Properties Supervisor for the museum, Heidi Bleazey, enjoys the opportunity to offer something to the community on those days the museum is closed.

“We’re here working on Mondays, and sometimes we see folks come to the doors, peek in. This is going to be something to offer those folks and gives Mondays a chance for us to come alive,” she said.
The tours start right in front of the museum, with a discussion of the architecture of the building. The Romanesque Revival-style building was built in 1890 and was formally the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad depot. The tour then continues through one of the various archways found in downtown Fayetteville and onto Hay Street.

“We are able to highlight things from all time periods and talk about some of the people who have been a part of our downtown story,” Bleazey said. “We walk by Capitol Encore Academy and talk about Jacob Stein coming here in the early days of the 20th century. He was a Jewish merchant and formed that very famous and wonderful department store, the Capitol, in our downtown.”

Tour attendees can step into the shoes of a fictional character, John Warwick from Charles Chesnutt’s “House Behind the Cedars,” as they walk through the streets of downtown Fayetteville. The tour focuses on the State House and Market House before continuing to Liberty Point. A stop is made at the LaFayette statue at Cross Creek Park, which is right next to First Presbyterian Church.

“Sometimes we lollygag so that the 2 pm bells are going off as we are there,” Bleazey said.
Occasionally, the tour will go down Maiden Lane, by the Cumberland County Public Library and Segra Stadium, where the guide discusses the history of baseball in Fayetteville.

“If we are bold and daring and the sun isn’t too scorching, we can head to Cool Springs Tavern on North Cool Springs Street,” said Bleazey.
The next tour will take place on June 20, and that, Bleazey said, is a very special day in Fayetteville history.

“June 20 falls on a very historic day in our community’s history. The Cumberland Association, or the Liberty Point Resolve, is a document that 55 patriots signed here near the acute intersection of Bow and Person Streets,” she said. “In 1755, there was a tavern there, and 55 patriots signed a document pledging their lives and honor in defense of liberty. That document, then known as the Cumberland Association, now known as the Liberty Point Resolves, was an early document of independence in our city’s history, our state’s history and our nation’s history.”

Those interested in attending the tours don’t have to pre-register, although Bleazey said the museum does like a head’s up for larger groups coming together. If rain is in the forecast, the museum staff still tries to provide something for those who wish to learn more about history in the area. If it’s light rain, the tour will continue. On very rainy days in the past, the staff has set up a power point and given a virtual walking tour. Bleazey suggests bringing a hat, sunscreen and umbrella for the tour.

The museum plans to continue offering tours throughout the fall and may even conduct them during the winter months.

“We are happy and excited to share and answer questions, point out things that even local residents, long-time residents, who haven’t put two and two together, may have driven past a bajillion times and not really put connections together,” said Blaazey. “I think it’s an exciting thing downtown; I’m glad we can offer it for free and have something on a day when normally we have been closed to the public.”

For more information about the Fayetteville History Museum, visit https://www.fcpr.us/facilities/museums/fayetteville-area-transportation-and-local-history-museum,

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