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Preserving history

Preserving history

Did you know that George Washington, the nation’s first president, visited Kernersville? An historic marker downtown preserves a record of his visit to Dobson’s Tavern. Did you know that Kernersville has a long-standing history of involvement in the transportation industry? In fact, when the railroad was built, in 1873, Kernersville’s population swelled to 500 people.
As a new year begins, it is a great time to reflect on our past, and learn more about Kernersville’s interesting history. Many efforts have been underway to preserve Kernersville’s history, and this year is a great time to experience some of the offerings of historic preservation in Kernersville, by going to visit, in person or virtually, the Kernersville Museum or Körner’s Folly.
This year, 2021, marks the 150th birthday of our town, celebrating the incorporation of Kernersville in March 1871. While efforts to preserve history in Kernersville have been ongoing for many years, and countless individuals have been involved in this effort, recent steps that have been taken to preserve Kernersville’s unique history are noteworthy.
One of the most notable efforts at historic preservation in 2020 was the relocation and restoration of a cabin, known as the Weaning Cabin, and other historic structures to the grounds of the Kernersville Museum. These buildings were relocated to save them from destruction by development, preserved, and restored so that Kernersville residents now and in the future could have a glimpse of life in the 1880’s in our community.
The Kernersville Museum has many opportunities available on-line to learn about Kernersville’s history and people that have contributed to that history. Among virtual exhibits currently available is an exhibit on “Neighbor” Pinnix, who for many years was the local pharmacist, and Pinnix Drugstore, on the corner of Main and Mountain streets, was a local gathering place, and Mildred Ballad, a local painter, whose folk art paintings of Kernersville captured the spirit of the community.
Also available from the Kernersville Museum is a virtual walking tour of our town, with photographs and historical information. It’s a great opportunity to see the oldest remaining tobacco factory building in Forsyth County, the Kerner-Greenfield Tobacco Factory, circa 1884, and other historical sites.
Körner’s Folly also has many virtual exhibits. There is detailed information about life in the Victorian Era, and information about this incredible example of Victorian architecture and its eclectic interior design. Starting January 13, Körner’s Folly is offering self-guided tours, by appointment only, with appointments available on-line. Inside, there are major interior restorations that are completed and available to view, including the master bedroom, north entrance and stairway, and breakfast room, so even if you have toured in the past, it is worth considering a future visit.
As we cross over into a new year, it is a wonderful time to learn about and experience the history of our town through new virtual and other opportunities at important sites such as the Kernersville Museum and Körner’s Folly. Many thanks to the efforts of all of those working hard to preserve Kernersville’s past, for the benefit of our community today, and into the future.
Dawn Morgan is the Mayor of Kernersville, serves on the Steering Committee for Onward Kernersville, and writes a weekly column for the News.

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