REGIONAL: Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society kicks off 50th anniversary year

On April 1, the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society kicked off a year of 50th anniversary celebrations with a reception to honor the society’s founders.

The idea for a museum in eastern Cabarrus County began in 1970 when John Coble, principal of Mt. Pleasant High School asked the local postmaster, Gene Hough, if he knew of an old log cabin that could be moved to the school campus for history studies. They searched for a suitable cabin for years before Dr. R. Brown McAllister suggested using the old Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute administration building, located between Main and College streets in Mt. Pleasant.

On April 1, 1973, the first of a series of meetings for people interested in forming a historical society was held and a month later, the old administration building was purchased for $7500. and the name “Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society” was chosen.

The first officers of the society were Gene Hough, Hoy Moose, Dr. R. Brown McAllister, Dr. A. L. Barringer, Virginia Smith and Archie Smith.
Descendants of those founders were on hand for the reception on Saturday to witness the dedication of a bench to be installed on the museum campus in recognition of their work. The plaque on the bench will read: Dedicated to the Founders of the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society on the occasion of the society’s 50th anniversary with gratitude for their dedication to the preservation of local history.

A member of the original executive committee, Jessie Blackwelder, was unable to attend the reception due to illness, but current ECHS president Nick Luciano shared her prepared reminiscences of the early days of
the society and the challenge of cleaning out the building, which had been vacant and neglected for years. It was “nasty, stinking, filthy” with waste and bodies of dead birds who had flown in through broken windows and couldn’t get out again. In places the mess was two or three feet high. But the work, she said, was “gratifying” and “for the betterment” in that today that building houses a museum which welcomes hundreds of visitors each year.

Other scheduled 50th anniversary activities include an art contest, an essay context and a party in August.

The ECHS Museum, at 1145 N. College St. in Mt. Pleasant, is open to the public every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, the society hosts special events, programs and forums throughout the year.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.